Sales Habit #5 - Guard Your Sales Pipeline

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Posted: November 5, 2013

There are so many great things about my profession, one being that I get to work with some of the best and the brightest.  Here is the final habit in this series that I have observed in top producers: they guard their pipeline.   

I remember receiving some great advice early on in my sales career from a seasoned, successful, sales professional.  He told me,  “Not every prospect deserves to be in your sales pipeline.”

As a young and yes, at times, desperate sales professional I thought every prospect was worth pursuing. I had a sales pipeline that was bursting at the seams….with unqualified opportunities.  And way too often, the best opportunities were buried underneath the prospects that couldn’t or wouldn’t make a decision. 

See below for the type of prospects these top producers work with to consistently hit their revenue goals. 

#1:  Prospects that treat you like partners, not vendors.  These are the folks that are willing to engage in conversation, provide information and bring other decision makers into the process.  Prospects not willing to do all of the above are probably going to treat you like a vendor.  And in the end, the only thing that matters is, “what’s your price.”  

#2:  Prospects who are serious about improving their current situation.  A tough lesson that I had to learn early on in the sales training business is that there are a lot of people that confuse whining with winning.  They aren’t happy with their sales results and complain about missed forecasts.  Despite dismal sales results, they aren’t willing to do anything to fix the problem.  They have grown comfortable living the insanity quote.  “Insanity is doing the same behavior and expecting different results.”     

#3: Work with nice prospects and customers.  Life is short.  Why spend it with people that don’t value you or your company.  I have learned over the years that how a company treats their ‘vendors’ tells you how they treat their employees and customers.  Companies with great cultures treat all people with respect, whether it’s a person working for them or trying to sell to them.  Remember, it’s okay to fire prospects and customers.  It frees you up to find those nice clients. 

Guard your sales pipeline and carefully qualify your opportunities.  Work with companies that value partners, they are committed to excellence and play nice