I’m constantly reminding salespeople that you have to know your numbers. It’s more than just knowing revenue—you need to know if you’re hitting the right amount of calls and appointments to stay on track to your sales goals.
When it comes to dialing prospects, there’s a problem: Numbers tell you quantity, not quality.
I tell my sales coaching clients they need to set a weekly goal for great conversations and track that number most importantly. So, what qualifies as a great conversation?
A great conversation moves your sales pipeline forward.
Here are some examples:
- A decision-maker tells you, flat out, “No.” This counts as a great conversation! Why? With a firm “no” from a qualified decision-maker, you can conclude they’re not a great candidate for you (today). You can cross them off your list, set a follow-up for 6-12 months from now, and move on.
- You talk to a decision-maker who says, “The timing isn’t great right now. Can we talk again in six months?” That’s a great conversation—your prospect is interested, and you’re six months away from setting an appointment. Your pipeline is moving forward.
- Your prospect says, “That sounds interesting! Are you able to come to my office next week?” You’re setting an appointment and moving your pipeline forward.
What Isn’t A Great Conversation?
The key to a great conversation is that it moves prospects along the sales process. And remember—to count as great, your conversation needs to be with a real decision-maker. A “no,” “maybe,” or “sure” doesn’t mean anything if you’re talking to the wrong person!
I believe that “maybes” keep you stuck in life. When a prospect tells you “maybe,” they’re not any further down the sales pipeline—but you can’t cross them off. A “maybe” isn’t a great conversation (yet).
Ten years ago, I had a prospect who kept giving me the “not today” and excuses. Over months and months, I followed up several more times. Finally, he told me, “Alright, if my sales team had your follow-up process, they’d close tons more business! Let’s set up a meeting.”
He was stuck in my pipeline as a “maybe.” Only when he agreed to meet did I count my call as a great conversation. Today, they’re still one of our best clients!
You can only count one great conversation per prospect. Calling your client back to set up an appointment doesn’t count as a second great conversation. You already counted it as a great conversation when they told you they were interested.
How Healthy Is Your Sales Pipeline?
Instead of tracking dials, emails, or outreaches, track great conversations. This number is the best way to know how healthy your sales pipeline will be. If you need to set three appointments a week to meet your sales goal, you might need five or six great conversations per week. If you’re spending a lot of time on outreach without enough great conversations, it’s a sign that your prospect list needs work!
Tracking these great conversations is often the best way to gauge how well you’re moving your business forward. Try it out!
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Until next time—go sell some stuff!
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