Forecasting can be simple and accurate, and if one uses a consistent, creditable selling process it can be even more reliable. Here is a simple way of forecasting. Try it on some outstanding business. Try it also on some opportunities you closed and others you lost.
The simple system ...Forecasting can be simple and accurate, and if one uses a consistent, creditable selling process it can be even more reliable. Here is a simple way of forecasting. Try it on some outstanding business. Try it also on some opportunities you closed and others you lost.
The simple system involves three components; (1) Will the sale for some vendor actually happen; (2) The match to your ideal customer profile, and; (3) the quality of the sales person.
Will There Be a Deal? This occurs when you are sure the potential customer will buy something from somebody. If a customer calls you (a lead) and asks for your help this is not a deal yet. When you prospect and the customer is interested enough to set-up a next appointment, this is not a deal, yet. Sending literature and “Sounds good.” and “I’ll talk to some others and get back to you” is not a deal yet. It’s wishful thinking. Bottom line, is there going to be a deal or is this just testing the waters. Is there an approved budget that is authorized to be spent? Is there a deadline or else something traumatic will happen. Most forecast are inaccurate because of this deal or no deal - this is the question.
Match to Your Ideal Customer Profile is how well this opportunity and customer matches to the kinds of customers and sales you’ve been successful closing in the past. In order to determine this match you must have consciously thought about the demographic and psychographic characteristics that are in place when you make sales. The real power here is to focus on those sales you’ve made. Don’t focus on the ideal customers you’d like to have. One is reality and the other is a wish. The closer the opportunity fits the better your chances of success.
Example of a Profile
I sell consulting services and training programs for all aspects of selling and sales management. My profile is (1) Have they had any exposure in the past to the programs I teach or me? (2). Will I have access to all the decision-makers from high to low? (3). Do they have money to spend or are they hurting financially? (4). Do they hire consultants and do they have a culture of training to improve their people? (5). Do they have 15 or more sales people?
These are characteristics I’ve noticed are in place when I make most of my sales and absent when I don’t close. When I meet a prospect for the first time, I listen to hear or ask questions to get this information. I never want to leave a first meeting without being able to determine the fit. I also try to validate with at least one more person.
Quality of the Sales Person says a mouthful. Your best sales people have a conscious or unconscious ability to sort through the lookers, the buyers, the time consumers and the abusers. Once they sense a buyer, they have a process that works to close the deal. Additionally, they will not pursue deals that don’t feel good. Price is not their issue nor is access to the ultimate decision-makers. Fitting solutions and developing coaches is easy for them. The rest of your sales force (moving from best to worst) will struggle with this to an increasing degree.
Determining the Probability of Success
• Suggestion of a fit ……………. 0% or 30%; No or Yes
• Match to Profile ……………… 0% - 30% Degree of the match. If you’re guessing, the probability will be off.
• Quality of Sales Person …… Top 10%=25%, Top 25%=10%, Top 50%=0%, Top 75%=-5%, Bottom 25%=-10%
• Add it Up!!
Refining the Probability
If you have a consistent, creditable, sales process you can tighten this up tremendously. You will be able to assess the following elements and assign values that indicate the deviation of the probability from above.
The Sales Elements:
• Knowledge of the opportunity – Specifics of the Client, What, How Much and When they want.
• Degree to which all the decision-makers are covered – The powerful, the functional, the administrators.
• The number of internal and external coaches helping you.
• Access to the ultimate decision-maker and the match to what s/he really wants and needs.
• Knowledge of competition’s strength and weaknesses - as seen by the decision-makers.
• Match to the your ideal profile – (yes, again).
• An Action Plan that addresses the threats, uses the strengths, attains the needed information and improves position with the powerful and influential decision-makers.
The degree to which you can address these will really highlight the validity and accuracy range of your probability.
Now go forth and predict.
And now I invite you to learn more.
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Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to be effective and feel comfortable connecting with and relationship selling C-Level leaders.
Sam Manfer is an expert sales person, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR, a book that gets C-Level and other influential decision-makers to meet with you and return voicemails. Sam makes it easy for any sales person to generate tons of quality leads, and become a 70% closer. Sign-Up for Sam’s FREE sales tips and E-zine at Sammanfer.com