Throughout my leadership career as I've studied the best sales closers one interesting observation pops up over and over. It's so repeatable, I no longer give it a second thought.
THE BEST CLOSERS TYPICALLY WORK FEWER OPPORTUNITIES at any given time than their peers.
Why is that? How can they be closing more business when others have "more leads"?
The truth is that they receive no more or no fewer leads than anyone else. So why are they working FEWER opportunities and yet having GREATER SUCCESS?
Answer: RUTHLESS QUALIFYING
One of my top reps at RMG always said he wanted to "get to no fast". In other words, he wanted to make sure that buying was really something that could potentially occur and if not, extract himself from the opportunity early and let them waste his competitors' time. It's an odd way to say it but it demonstrated his undying commitment to spend time only with real buyers, which I'm convinced was a key to his success.
In my days of "carrying a bag" I seemed to have a smaller pipeline than others and at first it really bothered me, especially when we did pipeline reviews. But in time, my close rate was significantly higher and as my manager consistently saw me at or on top of the leaderboard, he gave me less and less grief.
No one had given me the secret (I wish they had earlier!). But because I was inherently curious, my extensive questioning helped me "accidentally" figure out that some prospects had a real need for my solution and some just had a passing interest and only wanted to learn more, but weren't really ready and motivated to make a change.
Now here's the kicker. They both ACTED JUST AS INTERESTED in learning about my solution!
My top rep, Jason, had come to the same conclusion. He would rather have fewer, highly qualified opportunities so that he could invest more time in each of them than his competitors, who likely chased everything. And this ability to invest more thought, planning and time created intimacy and trust with the buyer that allowed him (and me and all top sellers) to win more consistently.
Lead flow is essential. No doubting that. But having more leads is not the only path to better results. Investing your time wisely is ALWAYS a good choice, and the better you question on the front end, the more time you will have for the prospects truly likely to buy.