We’ve talked about why founders make better sales reps than the actual sales team. The answer was context. But there was something that we didn’t mention. Something that not a lot of people talk about. Something that comes with years of practice. Intuition.
A prospect saying "Yes!" is not really a 'yes' all the time. If "Yes" comes in the first meeting and all too soon, it just means that the due diligence and negotiations will start after the contract is tabled. Good sales reps know it when there is unbelievably less resistance to a pitch. A "No!" is often not a 'No' but it is the starting point for the journey towards a 'Yes'. This is especially true in the case of enterprise deals where your prospect has a problem but isn't ready to address it right now for various reasons. A good sales rep will take the opportunity to start building a relationship and patiently nurture the lead until the 'No' turns to 'Yes'.
A prospect not reacting to a contract for one business day might be nothing to worry about or something to worry about. It depends on how responsive s/he has been until that point. Good sales reps intuitively know if there is a thaw in the communication. A silent prospect is worse than a vocally unhappy prospect. An unhappy prospect has an ideal state in mind and you can work towards it. You can turn their ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’. A silent prospect is an uncertain proposition. You can't make your move with full confidence because you don't know what's in the silent prospect's mind.
A good sales rep knows that it ain't a done deal if money hasn't hit the bank. A missed follow-up call about money or a failed payment are causes for worry. An experienced sales reps will immediately factor these risks into his/her monthly numbers.
Good or bad, people form stereotypes based on their experiences. Sales reps are no different. Experienced sales reps do lead scoring at an intuitive level based on their stereotypes. For example: At PipeCandy, we’d never spend much time in a sales call if the lead is from the procurement department instead of the line function. There is nothing wrong with procurement managers - it's just that their job is not to evaluate the fit of our business and if that evaluation hasn't happened, we may not win the deal at all.
Each prospect has a certain temperament. Experienced sales reps know what to expect from a prospect after the deal closure based on how they interact during the buying process. Experienced sales reps consider "buying maturity" apart from budget, authority, need and time. Red flag or not? If a deal doesn't close by x no. of days it won't close - Each organization has a closure pattern. A good sales reps can easily call out deals that don't fall in line with this pattern. A highly engaged customer with a lot of objections is not a red flag. It's a positive. Deals that move too fast out of proportion to their value or deals that move too slow given their relative size are both red flags. Deals, where decision makers don't get involved, is a red flag. Intuition isn’t anything psychic. It is the brain’s way of processing and analyzing inputs based on the past incidents. The intuition for predictive analysis is what makes experienced sales reps better. The reason a sales manager knows that the deal won’t close based on pure intuition, it’s because he has been in that scenario one too many times. Everyone has an intuition which gets honed over time. Acknowledge your intuition. It always makes you a better salesperson.
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