Biggest Risk a Sales Person Can Make (Part 2)
If you haven’t read part 1 of this article then please do as this part won’t make as much sense until you do.
So in the part 1 of this article on diversifying your pipeline we talked about how the biggest risk a sales person can make is to not diversify their prospect attack plan. Meaning that if we focus on just a certain type of business, or size of business, then we take a great level of risk. Say for instance that sales person whom has merely a handful of opportunities which are all blue whales. What happens if one slips? Or we don’t win the sale? With such a portfolio of opportunities it’s a high risk strategy, yes it could pay off, but you only need to lose one opportunity to be in a tricky situation. In that last article I touched upon the strategy brokerage firms take, in diversifying their portfolio of investment to diminish their level of risk but maintain the rewards they seek.
We should take a leaf out of their book.
So ideally we should diversify our prospect attack plan on size of business and industry.
In part 2 of this article I’m going to talk about what our approach should be once we have diversified our prospect attack plan.
So here goes. Once we have successfully diversified our prospect attack plan, chances are that our pipeline will follow suit. Therefore our pipeline should be a healthy mix of opportunities based on size and industry of the respective businesses. If your pipeline doesn’t correlate to the mix you desire then you need to counteract this.
Well there’s no trick or technique to it, simply find opportunities of the size or industry that you’re missing. So if your pipeline has a stack of say education customers, then your task for diversifying would be to look for more corporate customers. Or if your pipeline was full of small and medium businesses then your task would be to look to fill your pipeline with more large businesses.
You get the point. Moving on from this step, once you have a healthy mix of opportunities in your pipeline, you can then look at the approach you take to closing those opportunities.
I’m going to talk about the two extremities, those being:
- When you’re not very busy
- When you’re very busy
When you’re not very busy
In those times when you’re not very busy you can focus on all of your opportunities. Time is on your side so you can commit to closing every opportunity that you have whether that be a small or large opportunity.
When you’re very busy
In the circumstance when you are very busy, things are much more challenging. This is the time when many sales people make a foolish mistake. They look at their pipeline and they disregard all of the hard work they put in to diversifying their approach. They have the outlook that their time is too limited to focus on all of the opportunities in their pipeline, so that take the approach of solely focusing on the nice juicy deals. Their diversification goes straight out the window!
If we take this stance then we’re back to a high risk strategy plus we’ve wasted so much time in our diversified approach. Instead we should focus on our healthy mix, and invest our time in:
- Those opportunities that are most likely to close
- Those opportunities which comply with our diversification…our healthy mix
In my book Sales icon: Selling in the Shadows I talk about a technique for analysing which opportunities are most likely to close using a tool which I call the closing calculator (more on this in part 3 of this article). This is the key step, identify which opportunities have the highest chance of closing, and invest time in those. Then review your diversification, don’t simply focus on the big opportunities.
The most important facet to this whole process:
Do Not Neglect Your Prospecting
Every day, week and month where you fail to prospect new business will have a ripple affect your future success. It won’t have an effect in the short term, but a couple months down the line your pipeline will be low and your sales will reflect that too. Activity, and consistency of activity is key, ensure that every single day you conduct some prospecting to guarantee that your pipeline is continually at a healthy level.