February 15, 2018

Commission Impossible

Research shows that successful salespeople possess the ability to persevere, to stay after a goal with grit, tenacity and resiliency. All are good traits. But sometimes, salespeople that have these wonderful qualities lack the ability to disqualify opportunities. Because they are tenacious, they keep pursuing prospects that are never going to buy! It’s a classic case of when a strength becomes a weakness.   

The result is “commission impossible.” It’s time to develop the emotional-intelligence skill of realty testing. This is the ability to see things as they are, rather than what you’d like them to be. And the reality is, not every prospect deserves to be in your sales pipeline. 

It’s OK to disqualify prospects! Develop your reality-testing skills and make commission possible.    

  • Reality check #1: Does this prospect fit your ideal client profile? Your company is built on providing high value, not low price.  So stop trying to sell to cheap, transactional prospects that buy only on low price and will leave you for a lower price. Cut bait and start fishing in a new prospect pond.

Here’s a good qualifying question to ask if you suspect your prospect is a price shopper: “Mr. Prospect, based on our conversation, I think the main decision criteria for you is low price. And since we aren’t the low-price provider in any situation, I am not sure we are a good fit. What are your thoughts?”

  • Reality check #2: Does this prospect take action or default to the status quo? The latter prospect sets up a tent in Comfort-Zone Land. She says all the right things, such as, “We think it’s a good idea to look. We are always looking to up our game.” However, when you check this prospect’s story, you learn that the company is either a late adopter or not one at all.

Good luck trying to sell progressive ideas to decision makers stuck in the 19th century.

Test the reality and ask this prospect to share previous examples of upping their game. “Tell me a little bit about your organization. In the past, when have you invested in new ideas and/or services?” Look for evidence that this prospect is really ready to make a change, not just conversation.

  • Reality check #3: Is this prospect a nice person, one that will appreciate AND value good work? One of my clients in investment banking applies the NJR (No Jerks Rule) concept as a reality check to see if they want to continue conversations with prospects. If they sense that the prospect is going to be rude, difficult or high-maintenance, and shows little or no appreciation, they thank the person for his/her time and send them to a competitor that is looking for headaches and depression. 

It’s great that you have grit and tenacity. Now combine those traits with reality testing and watch your sales soar!

It’s time to get rid of commission-impossible prospects.

Good Selling!

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