The Opportunity Filter
Last week, I talked about the importance of filtering out the undesirable customer and focusing instead on your sweet spots through ruthlessness and strict bias.
Or something like that.
Anyhow, I thought this week, I would give you a system for doing that. Here’s a way to look at either a customer as a whole or a potential order and decide if you should pursue or let it go and focus on something else.
Full disclosure: This is not an original idea.
One of my favorite books is "Essentialism," by Greg McKeown. In it, he talks about, as the jacket cover professes, “the disciplined pursuit of less.”
It’s not a book about target markets and certainly not a book on sales, but the author gives a brilliant format for sifting through opportunities that applies here, so let’s go to page 109 (Kids, take out your workbooks…).
Here’s what McKeown says about screening opportunities:
First, write down three minimum criteria an opportunity would need to pass in order to be considered. That is, what are three things that must be in place in order for you to even ask the question?
- $1000 order (or whatever your minimum number is)
- Something you currently offer
- A customer you have a good feel for
If all three criteria are not in place, it’s a hard no. You must go three for three.
Create a second level of consideration. Here, come up with three descriptors of the ideal customer or order.
- $5000 order (or whatever you’d consider to be a good number)
- A client you believe you’ll be doing business with in 10 years
- A client with much more than just this one job
In order to proceed with the pursuit of the order, you’ll need to have two out of three of these criteria in place.
You’ll need to put some work into creating your own filters, but you get the idea.
Too often, we chase every order and every client. The idea of saying, "no, thank you" is foreign to us. That's understandable. But don't spend even a second more than you have to on the wrong opportunities. Create those filters and stand by them.
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Bill Farquharson is a respected industry expert and highly sought after speaker known for his energetic and entertaining presentations. Bill engages his audiences with wit and wisdom earned as a 40-year print sales veteran while teaching new ideas for solving classic sales challenges. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault, are available at salesvault.pro.