Pardon my long absence and failing to keep my daily writing commitment. No excuses. I’d claim it’s because I read Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism and had to make decisions on what’s important (partially true).
But in the end, I can keep up a daily blog for 6 months. I don’t have to write Pulitzer-prize worthy nonfiction…. So, onto today’s observation.
When We Know Opportunities are not Opportunities, We Must Cut and Run.
I listened to the Advanced Selling Podcast on my quicker-than-usual holiday commute. Specifically:
- The Dreaded Sales Forecast: The GOMA Method (Part 1) – October 6, 2014
- Another Dreaded Sales Forecast: The GOMA Method (Part 2) – October 13, 2014
GOMA = Get off my tush (I think)
The point of the two podcast episodes: How pipeline meetings are often useless rituals. Like religious rituals, they are often just yawned through or used to shame lagging sales efforts. They aren’t used for coaching and developing and identifying opportunities for improvement.
One of the hosts’ six suggestions is to discontinue our tendency to assign percentage probabilities to pipeline opportunities. We need to learn to evaluate whether each opportunity in our pipeline either will or will not work out in the end.
Most of us know when opportunities are true opportunities and when they are excuses to look busy.
We’re not really fooling ourselves. We are being lazy or betraying a lack of training. It’s important for us to be violently protective of our pipelines. If we know an opportunity will never materialize (or if it’s not a client that fits your profile), we need to learn to clean it and kill it.
This pipeline cleansing is a skill I must learn. But here are some best guesses at best practices.
An opportunity is an opportunity when….
- The client fits your client profile: Don’t keep hangers on if they don’t fit the type of organization you want to work with.
- You have identified all stakeholders: If you’re hanging on with the person who checks with the folks who check with the folks, then you might not have a true opportunity.
- You have identified problems that need to be solved.
- You’re confident your solutions solve those problems.
- You have been able to gain small commitments and collaboration.
How do you keep your pipeline clean? Are you honest about opportunities – if they truly are opportunities?