Living in Lake Nona, the “unofficial” Silicon Valley of the South; I come across so many entrepreneurs who struggle with the simple concept of “Building a Profitable Sales Pipeline.” One that is sustained by qualified leads, and actual customers who are willing to pay for their services.
So many great business individuals tend to make the mistake of believing that all business, is good business. Let me be the first to say that, this is definitely not a true statement by any means! The reality is that “All money ISN’T good money,” and “All clients aren’t good clients.”
Qualify, Quantify and Question
Have you ever developed a sales strategy just to find out you’re attracting the wrong type of leads? Ok, maybe you’re perfect! How about going on a date with someone you’ve had a crush on, just to realize they’re not at ALL what you expected?
As any good Sales VP or Director will tell you “Quality” is the number one key to a good conversion. Understanding what your ideal customer looks, sounds and even smell like is how you will avoid wasting time and frustrating yourself. Now please don’t read this and go smelling your customers. That may be a bit weird. I’m simply making the point to ask the important questions. Not only to your future clients, but also to yourself and the company you’re building.
Ask yourself will this customer be problematic? Are they an asshole to you and their employees? Do they complain about every fu**ing thing you provide them, even when you go above and beyond the scope of work? Ask yourself the questions that matter NOW and avoid all the bullshit LATER. So many times in sales and in business you forget the single most important aspect of this process. Do I really want to move into a relationship with this person?
Evaluate, Substantiate, and Eliminate
Would you ever fire a client? Better yet, have any of your customers ever fired you? Yea, I bet! Your clients evaluate you every time they pay their invoice, so why aren’t you taking the same approach when evaluating your customers?
I bet that if companies would implement KPI’s (key-performance-indicators) that evaluate customer behavior like “bullshit” factor and “bitchiness,” they will find that some of the customers they thought were profitable actually cost them more money than they realize. Not to mention, the fact that they are probably tarnishing future business because of their negativity.
You should always be evaluating your clients and measuring their progress against their potential growth. Sales experts will always sell you on the concept of developing relationships with clients. Sure, I will agree with that theory. It’s actually super important! I’m just saying to stop the bullsh*t conversations and develop real relationships by making sure they are the right person for the job. We don’t marry everyone we lose our virginity too, do we? If that was the case, then what fun will that be?
Now, I’m not saying go out and sleep with everyone that comes around. I’m just saying if you’re going to sleep with someone, at least make sure you like them and that they are willing to keep it cool if things don’t work out.
Sell with a Purpose
“Believe in what you sell and never sell again.” I’m sure someone real intelligent said that once, and it certainly can’t be truer in business. Only you can define your value! So many times people undervalue their vendors, their employees and subsequently find themselves in situations where they are no longer happy. How many times has that happened to you?
Truth is that most “individuals don’t value anything they don’t pay for, nor appreciate things they don’t understand.” I’m truly convinced that the only reason why manual labor will never be obsolete is because most people don’t understand autonomy technology. People can understand picking up shit, sweating profusely and climbing on roofs with 50 LB shingles. What they don’t get is motorized engines, advanced software programs, and robust digital interfaces.
So, if you have an exceptional product, or service and offer it at a price which allows you to make a profit, then dammit, make the profit and f*ck those unwilling to pay for it. Don’t sell yourself short, or whore yourself out for cheap. Nobody wins when that happens!
Until next time my fellow business friends. Make money, build brands but keep your family and friends first!