Published by : Paul E. Lafleur
Sales representatives have this tendency of jumping on large sales opportunities, which is fine because you can often make a lot of money out of them. Aren’t we all attracted by big, shiny, new objects anyways?
Though the real question should be: are you handling those large sales opportunities the right way? While they might provide large revenues, they are can be a tremendous waste of time and resources. Therefore, if you are dealing with a large company, you must remain realistic through the entire sales process, because otherwise, that opportunity might turn into your worst nightmare.
The risk behind big, shiny opportunities
One of the most important things when dealing with large clients is, as I said, remaining realistic. What I mean is that you must not let that one huge opportunity spin you off the wheel by filling up your entire pipeline, because realistically it could take you one, two or three years to close the sale considering that large companies have slower decision-making processes. Not only that, but the chances of closing remain at approximately 10% throughout the entire process. Do you realize how much of a risk that is?
This is the reason why you are much better off filling up your pipeline with a variety of sales opportunities, and variety comes much easier at the level of small and medium companies because you are able to reach out to more people. The sales cycle is also shorter due to a lower number of decision-makers. Thus, working with a variety of opportunities in your sales funnel often increases the chances for you to close sales and reach your objectives.
Let’s see an example that will help you understand my point.
Say you must sell for 1 000 000$ and you fill your pipeline with four, big opportunities that can generate a revenue of 250 000$ each. Another salesman must also sell for the same amount, but the difference is that he has 100 opportunities in his funnel which can provide 10 000$ each. Who do you think has the better chance of succeeding?
Obviously, many factors can influence whether or not one will succeed more than the other, but based on that simple information, I would personally bet that the salesman with 100 opportunities in his funnel would have the better chances of succeeding. The reason why is that with only four big opportunities in your funnel, the risk of failing is considerably higher while the chances of succeeding remains at about 10% throughout the process. Therefore, the second you miss out on an opportunity, you already are 250 000$ below your objective.
Caring is failing
Another risk of filling up your sales funnel with large opportunities is to get too emotionally involved. In fact, sellers also have this tendency of getting very emotional with large clients. The reason is that large sales opportunities represent such a big part of their funnel that they get personally involved and emotionally attached.
Consequently, they forget to remain objective, thus making the sale more about them than about the client. This is human nature, however most of the time, it sadly results in a failed sale.
To treat this symptom, from what I have learned, you must stop caring. When I say that you must not care, I do not mean that you must not care about your product or why you are selling, but you must not care if you lose the account. In fact, if you end up losing the client but you did everything you could to close the deal, you should not worry, because you are supposed to be well set-up. Being well set-up means having various opportunities in your pipeline, from small companies to medium and large ones, on which you turn if ever you lose a client and that you are confident you will be closing.
Your goal must not be to essentially get large clients, it should be filling up your sales funnel with many different companies. Focus on getting opportunities from small or medium sized companies first, and if a large client comes up on the way, then you can go for it. As long as you remain efficient and realistic through your sales pipeline, obviously. Above all, stop caring and focus on keeping your funnel adequately managed. It will help you close a whole lot more deals, I promise!