General rule in life (if you’re an optimist like me)…No news is good news. Example: “My kid is away at summer camp, and no news is good news.”
But in sales there is a natural law…
No news is BAD news.
However you track your sales process – whether it’s a sales funnel, a buyer’s process, sales stages, contract milestones, etc., No news is BAD news.
Here’s what I mean…
As your potential customer gets closer to awarding you the business, you should see an ever increasing dialogue. You should receive more and more questions, objections, clarifications, contracts red lines, requests for references, etc.
If you are seeing less and less communication, you’re dead meat. It may be because humans don’t like to deliver bad news, or it may be that they don’t have time to keep the losers up to speed on their decision making process (because they are too busy finalizing things with the winners!). In the end it does not matter why.
20 years has taught me, as you’re approaching the moment of truth, there had better be more talking!
It may seem completely counter-intuitive. I’m the sales rep. I’m supposedly the person who never met a deal he didn’t like. The one who will drag our company’s resources through any unqualified pursuit to the bitter end – all the while golfing, wining, dining and fretting away the company’s resources – or so legend has it.
So why did I do it? Why did I let this deal go?
1. It was the right thing to do for the prospect: Our stepping back was the most transparent and powerful message my firm could send the client. We know the right way to do this engagement, and we are not going to compromise your success or our reputation by short-cutting.
2. It was good for my business. Here’s a question: What is the WORST hand in poker? The SECOND best hand. That’s the player who stays in, doubles down, fattens up the pot (drives up their cost of sale)…and then loses.
3. It will free up precious time. Let’s face it, time is more valuable than money at this point in your life. You only have capacity for x number of deals per year. This client will take all the time and information that you offer, but they are not going to buy at your solution/scope/price. What is the opportunity cost to you for not spending that time on other opportunties?
4. It was good for my psyche. Training/re-training yourself that not every deal is a good deal is an important lesson to learn and reinforce. Nothing is more powerful than the will to walk away. It’s good for your sense of self as well as your ability to offer more objective counsel to your customers going forward.
So (never thought I’d say this…) what are you waiting for? Go out and fire a prospect today!