Trending This Week: The Upside of Skepticism

Do you treat every lead the same? Some buyers in your pipeline actually intend to waste your time. Here’s how we know plus how to identify them.

February 24, 2017

  • Close-up of a Skeptical Businesswoman

Selling has always been service-based. We aim to make sales, but we also aim to please. Satisfying customers is part of the job.

So it’s understandable why sales pros would be reluctant to question a prospect’s intentions. After all, you work hard to convert sales prospects from being uninterested to entering your pipeline. And that same pipeline is your only foreseeable revenue. To try to remove a deal from the pipeline yourself – and then potentially answer questions about pipeline size from your boss – is unnatural for most sales pros. What is natural, what feels natural, is to give your best service to every deal in your pipeline so that a higher percentage of deals come through as “closed/won.”

Ultimately, though, no one makes club for having the highest average pipeline, or for simultaneously juggling the most deals, or for giving the best service to non-buying prospects. Actual revenue is what matters. The trick is discerning which deals in your pipeline really deserve your attention from the ones to (politely) kick out ASAP so you can focus on the sales that are most likely to close.

Do You Still Doubt That There are Duds in Your Pipeline?

Stubbornness is an asset for sales pros but it can be equally detrimental. If you find yourself thinking that every prospect can be converted into a customer, here are three B2B buyer stats that prove customers are leading you on, courtesy of the CEB Sales & Service blog this week:

1.       They want something for nothing: Over half – 53% – say they speak to suppliers they have no intention of buying anything from, in order to gain additional insight and pricing info.

2.      They play you along: Two thirds say they continue to engage with a losing supplier even after the winning supplier has become their likely choice.

3.      They take too long to make a decision: The two sins above are exacerbated by the fact that B2B customers take almost as long to decide not to purchase as they do to make a purchase.

We all have limits. There is only so much of ourselves we can give, only so many things we can focus on. Hopefully the statistical evidence that these non-buyers exist (straight from the source, mind you) helps you take a more proactive, more aggressive approach to disqualifying the time wasters from your pipeline. Only then can you turn your full attention to the legitimate buyers in your pipeline.

Granted, it’s not always clear-cut. If disqualifying prospects is foreign territory to you, we also recommend checking out HubSpot’s seven questions to test how serious your prospects are about buying.

We aim to please you, the results-driven sales professional. Never miss an insight when you subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog.