If I were to ask about the biggest issue preventing you from IMPACTING your markets and closing more sales, most of you would say low-cost competitive pressures—and you would be wrong. The biggest issue that prevents us from IMPACTING our markets is actually…us! By us I do not just mean sales execs, but all of the individuals involved in creating proposals and quotes.
The most precious resource all of us have is time. As a Sales and Leadership Expert, I have repeatedly observed that companies spend hundreds of hours on developing proposals for deals that are unqualified. Simply said, they are wasting their time. This past week I delivered a company-wide program on IMPACT—The Art and Science of Creating Significant Results to a plastics packaging company, and more than one attendee expressed frustration over low closing ratios on quotes.
As just one example, I interviewed an engineer in the room. The engineer was frustrated at the amount of quotes they had to process and how fast they had to be generated. Worse, he was demoralized about how low the hit rate was on their closing ratio. The engineer is trained to bring a qualitative eye and process to everything he does, and these bids are not lost because the proposals are bad. They’re lost because the customers are using these bids to fulfill their process of having two or three bidders. Customers request quotes even when they plan to give the business to an existing vendor or consider your pricing to be too high.
Have you ever considered that bidding on unqualified opportunities and having a low closing ratio could be having a negative IMPACT on your company?
The old saying that sales is a numbers game is true for prospecting, but it is not true for bidding. I help clients reduce their bids and proposals by as much as 40 to 50 percent, and to everyone’s surprise their sales increase significantly! This happens because they use the extra time to help those clients who value their products and services solve additional problems, and so they gain additional business. In short, they are utilizing their precious resources where there is a bigger return on investment. Their closing ratios are higher and so is the morale in their organizations.
Next time you receive a request for proposal—regardless of whether you’re a manufacturer, professional services provider, distributor, or entrepreneur—ask yourself whether the opportunity is qualified. If it is not, then take steps to qualify it before proposing. If you cannot qualify, then move on. Only you can protect your number one resource: TIME. And we all need time to IMPACT our markets.
If you want to learn more on how to qualify your markets and customers, try our new Selling with IMPACT On Line Program.