It happens every month. I receive a sales pipeline report from our sales leaders. Then I have to review the report very carefully and ask questions to vet out which prospects listed on the report are real, substantial business opportunities and which ones are really just there to fill space on the page. And then there’s the prospect on the list that is always in “stage 3,” but has been on the report for the past six months.

Does this sound familiar?

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share insights form JP Moery, president and founder of The Moery Company, on determining the real deals and how to get those real deals to close.

When we are hopeful for business and have a positive conversation with a prospect, it’s easy to count this as a done deal when, in reality, it might be a long shot. Make improvement by discovering what you really don’t know. Moery suggests these asking questions to help you determine which deals are real—and which are pipe dreams.

  1. What problem does the prospect want to solve?
  2. What specific solution have you recommended?
  3. Who really makes the decision?
  4. What is the next step in the process?
  5. What is the date of the next step?
  6. Does the prospect have the money to spend now?
  7. When is the deadline for a final decision?
  8. What other vendors are being considered?
  9. If the prospect does not choose you, what will they do?
  10. What is the one thing that could keep the deal from happening?

Then there’s the case of the “stuck” deal. The prospect loved the discussion, wanted a proposal and now nothing has happened. The prospect as gone radio silent. There’s not even a response from a desperate email plea.

In these situations, he recommends writing a message to get a response, not necessarily trying to save the deal, that includes these elements:

  1. Confirm where the process is. This recognizes you have kept your part of the deal and acted in a responsible way. “I’m sorry we have been unable to connect. Based on our last discussion, I was to draft a proposal and have a discussion regarding its specifics on ____…”
  2. Give the prospect a safe place to say “no.” Some of the nicest prospects will string you along forever. That’s not nice; it’s a waste of your time. You might say: “You may have decided to choose someone else, concluded the proposal was ridiculous or determined this isn’t a priority any longer.”
  3. Demonstrate you’re a pro and deserve an answer. “Or, it may be something else. Most importantly I just want to proceed to the next steps or not. Either is OK.”

Try these tips to keep your sales pipeline filled with real, viable sales activity. PCT returns to your inbox again tomorrow. That’s a guarantee!

Source: JP Moery is the president and founder of The Moery Company. He has 25 years of experience in the association industry, and is a trusted resource in the nation’s greatest associations. Moery previously served as senior vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he developed and launched a program that added more than 250,000 companies to the Chamber’s membership.