Make More Sales: Reject Prospects And Fire Clients
By: Tessa Stowe
One of my sales coaching clients, let's call him John,
emailed me the other week and said his revenue for the month had
increased by 29% over the same time the previous year. He said one
of the reasons for this was because he rejected a lot of his
prospects and fired 10% of his clients. Sounds both illogical and
radical, don't you think?
Prior to John deciding to become a radical, he would try and sell to
anyone who was interested. Consequently he wasted a lot of time,
money and resources (TMR) trying to attract and sell to people who
were never going to buy, or if they did buy, the headaches they
caused did not make them worthwhile. He wasted a lot of time on
people who were never going to become ideal clients.
Also the TMR John was spending on people who were never going to
become ideal clients, was taking away from the TMR he could be
spending on those who would.
So when he became a radical, John simply decided to focus his
valuable and limited TMR on potential ideal clients - and he rejected
a lot of prospects he was already talking to. He also went one step
further and fired the bottom 10% of his clients so he could free up
even more TMR for potential ideal clients.
Sounds fairly logical and sensible don't you think? So are you
spending your valuable and limited TMR on selling only to ideal
prospects i.e. those prospects who have the potential to become your
ideal client? If not, it is probably because of one or more of the
You aren't clear about who your ideal prospect is. Right now write
down a description of your ideal prospect. Did you struggle? If you
are part of a team, ask around and see who everyone thinks is the
ideal prospect. Is their view the same as yours? If not, why
not? Either way, valuable and limited TMR is being wasted.
You have convinced yourself that the "hit and miss" approach of
trying to sell to everyone is going to give you more sales than if
you use a targeted approach. Why waste valuable and limited TMR on
people who aren't going to buy?
Believe it or not a lot of companies praise salespeople for having
lots of prospects. The salesperson with the longest list is the
biggest hero - irrespective of the quality of the prospects. This
obviously rewards/encourages salespeople for the wrong behavior.
You don't have a formalized 2-filter process in place. Every
prospect needs to go through this filtering process before you invest
too much TMR.
So if you want to only spend your valuable and limited TMR on only
ideal prospects put the 2-filter process in place. Here are the 2-filters.
Filter One - Is About Them They have the demographics
(characteristics like size, industry, revenue, etc.) and
psychographics (values, style, culture, feeling, and personal
characteristics) of your ideal client. In essence they are the sort
of company/individual you are targeting and enjoy working with.
Just a small amount of TMR will need to be spent to determine if a
company/individual gets through this filter.
Filter Step Two - Is About The Opportunity This is where you look at
the specific opportunity and qualify the opportunity to see if there
is a high probability of it closing.
Putting prospects through this filter requires an investment of TMR
but the TMR spent on qualifying will save you a significant amount of
wasted TMR later on.
Make a commitment to put your 2-filter process in place as soon as
possible and to only spend your limited and valuable TMR on those
prospects who have gone through these 2 filters. Once this process
is in place, let your team know about it and put structures in place
to ensure everyone uses the 2-filter process.
Your next step is to fire those clients who did not go through the
2-filter process and who you wish were not your clients. That will
free up more TMR for your ideal prospects and for your ideal clients.
By rejecting non-ideal prospects and firing some of your non-ideal
clients, you really can make more sales with less effort. Try it and see.
© 2007, Tessa Stowe, Sales Conversation. WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE? Yes, you can, provided you make all links live and include this copyright and by-line below.
Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople
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