Ever wondered why some people consistently make millions at the top of the sales ladder and others struggle to meet quota?

In this series of articles, based on 999 Legendary Selling For The 21st Century, we review the differentiators between those who consistently over achieve and those who do not. Many of these people are legends in the selling profession. This is the second article where we briefly review another key differentiator – Qualifying Your Deal.

A Sales Legend will know with a high degree of certainty whether or not they can, and will, win a deal. This comes partly from experience, but mostly this is the result of a ‘knowing’ that they have followed all the elements of a great sales campaign or not.

From these elements comes a full understanding of the client business case, appropriate coverage at all influential points within the client and a level of connection that will mean he or she is alerted to any change however minor.
They will be sure that everyone on their own virtual team has followed up, and done their part towards the closing step. They will have bullets ready if required, they will have spread goodwill and good business sense everywhere. They will have planned to win!

It all begins with a very hard look whether it is even possible to win this client and/or this deal. You will be aware of what can stop you, and have a plan to neutralise any negative influences.
It is possible to predict with reliability whether you can, or will, win a deal or a client.

In the heat of the excitement of a new deal or client to enter in the CRM, truly honest qualification is frequently overlooked, and we waste valuable resources, time and energy chasing something we will never have.

Then you are dream chasing, instead of objective rational sales process.

This is happening everywhere, and it is wasting company resources, draining profitability and frustrating salespeople. Even very experienced salespeople very rarely spend sufficient time and energy in the qualification phase.
So no apologies about telling you ‘how to suck eggs’, because more than 95% of you still need to get this vital step absolutely right! If you do, you can expect to win 85% of your bids!

Are you a day late, or a dollar short?

How long have you known about this opportunity? Did you find the RFP in a newspaper, or were you there before the project was even conceived? If you were not, then your chances of winning are indeed quite low.
There are a few rare exceptions, but most of you are not very likely to be lucky enough to have one of them.

The only winners of large solution deals are those who are trusted by the client and who have put in the hard yards to win the race.

The rest of you, despite what you are told, are just there for price comparison or it is an open tender by law, or for interest only.

This is a time for honesty and integrity. If you are not well placed, then how the hell are you going to be able to overtake all the other runners and cross the line.

If you just said best price, I may kill you!

That is the next part of my question above.

Are you going to be able to price your solution to justify value and be competitive? That does not mean be the cheapest. What weighting does price have in the selection process?

These first two questions may well quickly identify what time and resource, if any, you should invest in a given client or opportunity.

You are not lucky and it is not because you were assigned that client. Go up a few notches on the strategy scale. How did you find out about this opportunity? Do you already have a good existing relationship with at least some of the key influencers? Did they call you and tell you about this? Were you invited to a meeting with a senior executive who invited you to become involved to help him or her? (Now you have my attention).

What right do you have to win this opportunity? Make sure you can clearly articulate this to yourself and your support team. If they understand why you are there, then they will have stronger faith in your ability to execute a great winning campaign.

How and Why you are there is a very valuable piece of information to consider in planning your strategy.

This is a time to realistically assess your company, and their ability to deliver on your promises. Evaluate each element of your proposed solution and understand how you will position it not only to win, but to disadvantage your competition. Analyse thoroughly to know whether or not you have the winning solution around which you can wrap intelligent strategy and unbeatable value.

Analyse market, competitive and environmental conditions. Study political ramifications, they can defeat you before you start and sometimes are unchangeable.

Qualification is one of the most important steps in the sales process. Do not skip
it, and do not rush it – It will determine your success rate. Only if you know you can, and will win, can you fully and confidently commit resources and your time.
An expectation of loss, or a hesitation in commitment, will rarely see a surprise win!

Qualify Hard, Bid Less and Win More!

Author's Bio: 

Terrie Anderson has spent more than twenty years studying, speaking and coaching in legendary selling, motivation of high performance teams, and human empowerment whilst enjoying a very successful sales career.

She is the author of 999 Legendary Selling For The 21st Century, a guide to be launched on March 15, 2010 and the corporate training program.

She has worked in Senior Sales Leadership roles for some of the top companies in IT Software, Hardware and Services; Telecommunications; Manufacturing and Fast Moving Consumer Goods. Terrie has demonstrated an outstanding track record of achievement and success in her career, and has a particular passion for complex solution selling.

Terrie is a recognised authority in the areas of sales, leadership, strategy, change management and a specialist in new business and turnarounds. Terrie has repeatedly built high performance teams by motivating the people to achieve their best willingly and happily.

She is also the author of 30 Days of Inspiration, The Little Red Success Book and many articles on success, leadership and motivation. Reaching senior level management in an international corporation by age of 28, she attained Board level positions just a few years later.

She is a dynamic and passionate speaker and recognised globally for motivating sales people to over achieve.

She approaches the world with warmth, happiness and an open honesty that has won her considerable esteem. Terrie is totally committed to the practices, and philosophies, outlined in her books and continues to live them as part of her daily life.