Three Sales Problems That Are Actually Opportunities

Learn how to find the opportunities hidden inside three common sales problems with these sales tips.

May 16, 2015


Imagine you check the news headlines one morning and the top story is about someone being arrested for a particularly heinous crime. Now imagine the criminal works in the same industry as you. Then imagine that the perp’s name is only one letter off from your name and pronounced identically. From now on, Google searches for your name are going to bring up that criminal’s profile. Whenever you try to network at an industry function, your name is going to make people run for the hills. What would you do?

That’s what happened to sports broadcaster Gerry Sandusky. Overnight, the name he had used since birth turned into a problem. He started getting hate-mail from spelling-challenged football fans. He got stunned silence when he introduced himself. But instead of changing his name or changing professions, Sandusky decided to look at the problem another way.

He discovered opportunities within the problem. For one, no one who met him would forget his name, which is certainly something sales pros can appreciate. He handled the attention foisted on him with dignity and grace, inspiring those around him. Most importantly, the whole debacle made him think about the opportunities hiding inside almost every problem. He coined the word “probortunity” for problems that are really opportunities in disguise.

Granted, you probably don’t share your name with a renowned criminal, but there are plenty of challenges in the sales profession that are actually probortunities. The following sales tips can help you find the opportunities hiding inside these three common problems.

Problem #1: Too Little Time

Sometimes the necessary duties of social selling can seem overwhelming. You have to keep your profile up-to-date and full of engaging content to maintain your professional brand. You have to qualify leads, research, and engage prospects with personalized information. You have to nurture each prospect along the buying cycle while building a lasting relationship. There’s no denying social selling is time-consuming.

Opportunity: Optimize Your Time

Having too little time means you have to make the most of the time you have. Audit your social media time and focus on the specific activities that are getting the most results. Let your pressed-for-time feeling motivate you to trim the fat from your online activities. You’ll not only free up time, you will also get more out of the time you already spend.

Problem #2: Too Many Unqualified Prospects

It’s hard to imagine a sales professional complaining about having too many well-qualified prospects. But too many unqualified prospects looks more like a mountain of work than an opportunity. It can be tricky to figure out which prospects are the most worthy of your time.

Opportunity: Strategize and Form a Process

Your un-prioritized pile of prospects is telling you that it’s time for a better strategy for dealing with them. Use this as an opportunity to come up with a good workflow for qualifying prospects. You can start with getting faster at disqualifying prospects. Then, prioritize your high probability candidates and conduct outreach accordingly.

Problem #3: Leads Are Starting to Evaporate

Despite your marketing team’s best efforts, sometimes the well of quality leads runs dry. When lead generation starts to drop off, it can be tricky to find qualified prospects which you can potentially close on time to meet quota demands.

 Opportunity: Get Slump Proof

If you’re not getting good leads, it’s time to get self-actualized and “slump-proof” your process. Leverage your network to find allies who can help fill your funnel. Start with anyone who has ever referred business to you in the past. Then ask for referrals from satisfied former clients. Engage with the most influential people in your network and colleagues’ networks. Keep up the key activities of social selling: Be helpful to your colleagues and connections and they’ll be more inclined to refer business your way. Over time, your social selling activities should lead to more inbound opportunities, allowing you to thrive regardless of how well the marketing team performs.

The true value of selling opportunities is derived only when you take action to solve them. With each new process you develop to conquer these probortunities, you’re becoming a more effective social seller.