One of my sales coaching clients, let's call him John, emailed me the other week and said his revenue for the month had increased by 29% over the same time the previous year. He said one of the reasons for this was because he rejected a lot of his prospects and fired 10% of his clients. Sounds both illogical and radical, don't you think?
Prior to John deciding to become a radical, he would try and sell to anyone who was interested. Consequently he wasted a lot of time, money and resources (TMR) trying to attract and sell to people who were never going to buy, or if they did buy, the headaches they caused did not make them worthwhile. He wasted a lot of time on people who were never going to become ideal clients.
Also the TMR John was spending on people who were never going to become ideal clients, was taking away from the TMR he could be spending on those who would.
So when he became a radical, John simply decided to focus his valuable and limited TMR on potential ideal clients - and he rejected a lot of prospects he was already talking to. He also went one step further and fired the bottom 10% of his clients so he could free up even more TMR for potential ideal clients.
Sounds fairly logical and sensible don't you think? So are you spending your valuable and limited TMR on selling only to ideal prospects i.e. those prospects who have the potential to become your ideal client? If not, it is probably because of one or more of the following reasons:
You aren't clear about who your ideal prospect is. Right now write down a description of your ideal prospect. Did you struggle? If you are part of a team, ask around and see who everyone thinks is the ideal prospect. Is their view the same as yours? If not, why not? Either way, valuable and limited TMR is being wasted.
You have convinced yourself that the "hit and miss" approach of trying to sell to everyone is going to give you more sales than if you use a targeted approach. Why waste valuable and limited TMR on people who aren't going to buy?
Believe it or not a lot of companies praise salespeople for having lots of prospects. The salesperson with the longest list is the biggest hero - irrespective of the quality of the prospects. This obviously rewards/encourages salespeople for the wrong behavior.
You don't have a formalized 2-filter process in place. Every prospect needs to go through this filtering process before you invest too much TMR.
So if you want to only spend your valuable and limited TMR on only ideal prospects put the 2-filter process in place. Here are the 2-filters.
Filter One - Is About Them They have the demographics (characteristics like size, industry, revenue, etc.) and psychographics (values, style, culture, feeling, and personal characteristics) of your ideal client. In essence they are the sort of company/individual you are targeting and enjoy working with.
Just a small amount of TMR will need to be spent to determine if a company/individual gets through this filter.
Filter Step Two - Is About The Opportunity This is where you look at the specific opportunity and qualify the opportunity to see if there is a high probability of it closing.
Putting prospects through this filter requires an investment of TMR but the TMR spent on qualifying will save you a significant amount of wasted TMR later on.
Make a commitment to put your 2-filter process in place as soon as possible and to only spend your limited and valuable TMR on those prospects who have gone through these 2 filters. Once this process is in place, let your team know about it and put structures in place to ensure everyone uses the 2-filter process.
Your next step is to fire those clients who did not go through the 2-filter process and who you wish were not your clients. That will free up more TMR for your ideal prospects and for your ideal clients. By rejecting non-ideal prospects and firing some of your non-ideal clients, you really can make more sales with less effort. Try it and see.