Very few people have a surplus of important things. Imagine these:
- Too many cars (could be a problem for a dealer but not for most consumers)
- Too many outfits
- Too many golf clubs (don't forget the limit)
- Too many computers
- Too many television sets
- Too many shoes
- Too many baseball cards (we used to trade the "doubles")
- Too many hit recordings
- Too many phones
You get the idea. In most cases, too many is not only rare, it's frequently enviable, not negative. Many of us in this space write about the obvious importance of filling the sales pipeline and keeping it filled. But what about too many opportunities in a salesperson's pipeline? Isn't that a positive?
A salesperson with a full pipeline is usually quite busy with a full schedule and has limited time to fit anyone into the calendar. A veteran salesperson could have a large business book to maintain as well. How does that play out with new opportunities?
Not very well.
Some of the keys to selling consultatively are to slow down, be thorough, ask many quality, pointed, timely questions, and uncover the compelling reasons answering why someone would buy. Too many opportunities, and being quite busy, could become an obstacle to success by causing a salesperson to do the following:
- Not schedule enough time for the call;
- Rush through the call;
- Prematurely end a call because it's time for the next scheduled call;
- Not be as thorough because there are plenty of additional opportunities;
- Be too confident (sounds like arrogance);
- Skip over important qualifying questions;
- Close before the prospect is ready;
- Make a bad first impression;
- Make the customer/client who made the introduction look bad; and/or
- Not get the business!
I don't get the chance to observe this very often as most salespeople don't have this problem! However, I have personally experienced this problem in the weeks leading up to vacations and conferences. I see consultants struggle as they attempt to balance selling with the considerable time needed to deliver their projects.
What's the solution? Don't compromise. If you need a full hour, schedule the full hour, instead of cramming the call into a 30-minute time slot. If you have another call scheduled immediately afterward, don't schedule it unless you can fit a buffer time slot between the scheduled calls. Be conscious of time and force yourself to slow down.
An abundance of opportunities could be a positive, but could very easily become negative.