Sales Challenge #3: Knowing When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits in Sales

The question I get most often is “How can I be more successful in sales?”  To answer this question, I am going to, instead, answer a correlated question— “What do nearly all salespeople struggle with the most?

The answer: calling off the chase. Knowing when to say it’s over. Which is sales challenge #3 in our series of Top 3 Sales Challenges for Salespeople.

Many salespeople have an extraordinarily difficult time recognizing when it’s time to call it quits. The pursuit of the deal and the ensuing adrenaline rush of closing the deal are simply tough enticements to walk away from.

Maybe the prospect has told them to “get lost” in those exact words (or not). Regardless, some sales professionals take on a “I have not yet begun to fight!” mentality and go all in (again). They just don’t want to accept—nor even entertain the possibility— that the prospect is just not into them or their offer.

Why?… maybe it’s bad timing?

The best answer I have is that, as a sales professional, you get better when you recognize two fundamental truths:

  1. You will lose more often than you win.
  2. When you are going to lose, you want to lose early.

Have you ever stopped to consider what your “pull-through rate” looks like? Which is your number of new clients divided by your number of initial sales conversations.

So if you have 100 initial sales conversations (or go on 100 prospect calls) in a year, and you win 15 new clients, then your pull-through rate is 15% (15/100= 15%). With a 15% pull-through rate, don’t you think you should go into your calls with a different mindset? Perhaps you should carry a bias for disqualification? Statistically, there is a far greater chance of you not landing the business than there is a chance that you will win it.

Remember, not every prospect is one that you should have.

So, stop dreaming about turning every prospect into your perfect prospect. Start asking questions. Ask questions that confirm for you that your prospect has a problem they need to fix and that now is the time to fix it. Operate with a bias for disqualification so you are not surprised when you conclude that it’s time for you to move on. It’s ok to hear “No, thanks,” from a prospect provided you hear it early in your sales relationship.

We hope this series will help you take on any sales challenge you may face!

From Recruitment Specialist & Sales Development Expert, Alex Cole-Murphy


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