When is it time to stop pursuing a prospect, should you ever stop?
There are far too many variables to address the question of when to stop pursuing a prospect from the salesperson’s point of view, so we are going to look at it as part of an overall sales process. The problem isn’t really about how long to pursue a prospect, The question is much more about whether or not you have a strategic, comprehensive sales plan in place (and are following it).
I’d suggest that quality prospects are not pursued enough in most instances, and far too much time is spent chasing opportunities that will never close. While some of this can be attributed to salespeople (especially not following a promising lead enough), most of the time wasted in pursuing leads that were never good in the first place is due to a poorly conceived sales plan.
The first step in eliminating this massive inefficiency is to understand what you are selling. Ok, I can hear your groans over the Internet – but it is NOT your offering. Think about it this way: why do customers give you money versus competitive offerings? It is not features nor benefits – it is intangibles that make your offering unique. You can read more about this here. Once you understand what you’re selling, it is time to define your target market.
Your target market (not addressable market) are those prospects where your core strengths (what you are selling) will resonate the loudest. To be most effective, this needs to be as narrow of a market as possible – to understand the difference between addressable and target markets, look at this previous post.
The last component in this is researching your prospect. I’m not suggesting that all prospects are researched prior to any contact, but certainly, once you have the invitation for some of their time – you need to do your homework.
How long should we pursue a prospect? If we have:
- An understanding of what we are selling
- A well-defined target market
- Well researched individual prospects
This author suggests you should never stop pursuing the prospect. Sure, the frequency of contact will drop to monthly, quarterly, or something around there, and the method will be informational emails, but pursuit should continue. The best part of this is by eliminating all the wasted time pursuing low percentage prospects, you will have plenty of time to work the ones that matter the most.