Somebody is always in control of the sales process; it’s either you or the buyer, but it needs to be you.

There are lots of things we could discuss in regards to being in control, but I want to talk about one in particular. The first aspect of being in control of the sales process is defining the desired outcome of the process.

Of course, the desired outcome for you is easy; you want to pick up a new client. The remaining piece to be determined then is creating a clear definition of the target you have to hit, which will earn you that new client.

Three things to consider when defining the outcome

  • Is the prospect willing to define the target you need to hit?
  • Is it a reasonable target?
  • Are you capable of hitting that target?

The best sales people will always establish that mutually agreed upon target with the prospect as early in the sales process as possible. The target may evolve during the conversation, but it can be loosely defined from the very beginning of the very first meeting. And, by “evolving”, I don’t mean it changes, I just mean it becomes more defined.

What a defined target looks like

For example, you may establish with the prospect that if you are able to present a solution that clearly improves their business in a meaningful way, then you can reasonably expect to earn their business. Early on, they may not know enough about you yet to put the specifics to that improvement, but they will have a general idea and can agree to the target in principle.

As you make it more apparent of the ways in which you are able to help in areas where they have needs, you must continue to refine the target making it ever more clear. You must also continually reaffirm that you can expect to earn the business once you get to the finish line.

Pipelines filled with prospects and targets

Now, go look at your pipeline of prospects. Do you clearly know the target you need to hit with each one? Start to define it for each of them, and take that conversation into your next meeting with them.

Working with you is a privilege, and no one should just be taking up space and time in your pipeline. Know when the relationship does not have a viable future:

  • When the target set by the prospect is not reasonable
  • The target is reasonable, but you’re not capable of hitting it
  • You can’t get the prospect to define the target

When any of these scenarios happens, it’s time to take them out of your pipeline, at least for now. Your pipeline should be filled with organizations who know you are actively trying to make them a client and you are moving them consistently through your process to the defined target. When that can’t happen, it’s time to walk away and focus your efforts on more productive opportunities.


Photo by Elnur