If you were to see my sales pipeline right now, you’d see that it’s filled with leads who are on the straight path to converting into paying customers.
If you look at my pipeline at any given time, you’d see that it’s always filled with high-quality leads who I can simply convert by the time we reach the bottom of the pipeline.
However, things weren’t always this way... In fact, I used to struggle to get any leads into my pipeline at all, much less convert them into paying customers.
To prove it, I’m sharing how I went from having an almost regularly empty pipeline to having it filled with qualified leads at all times.
It’s neither normal nor okay for your pipeline to be empty! Start here to fill your pipeline and keep it filled so that you can close more (bigger) deals in less time than ever.
I Stopped Letting Prospects Control Each Sales Pipeline Stage
Most salespeople have zero control over their sales pipeline.
By that, I mean that they don’t control:
- Who enters the pipeline in the first place;
- When prospects enter the pipeline; and
- How long it takes to get prospects through the entire pipeline.
Instead of being in control of the pipeline themselves, they let their potential customers control it.
Unfortunately for most salespeople, they don’t realize that their potential customers don’t care whether or not their pipeline is full! Hence, why their pipeline is empty most of the time.
The moment I decided to take control of my pipeline is the moment the sales game changed for me. Suddenly, I realized that I had the power to not just fill my pipeline, but to close deals with whomever I wanted.
Most Salespeople Make Excuses for Low Conversion Rates
If you have a low pipeline conversion rate, I guarantee it’s because you’re not in control of the pipeline.
Unfortunately, most B2B sales reps blame everybody but themselves for this.
They say things to themselves like, “If only my prospects would stop getting so distracted, then things would be better” or “If only my prospects would stop being so rude and respond to me, then I would be able to convert them into new customers.”
Whenever sales leaders deflect blame onto their prospects, they’re basically saying that they’re at the mercy of prospects and there’s nothing they can do to stop it.
If they would stop making excuses for their bad results, maybe they would realize that they actually have more control than they think!
Maybe they would realize that they can have 100% control over the pipeline if they choose to do that instead of blaming others.
I NEVER Send Out a Free Sales Proposal
Perhaps the most common way sales reps give up control of the sales pipeline is by handing out free initial proposals to potential new customers.
Whenever you send out a proposal, you’re basically passing the ball into the prospect’s court.
Suddenly, you’re left waiting for days, weeks, or even months to hear back from them. Meanwhile, you’re an anxious mess and don’t know what to do because, while they didn’t say “no,” they also didn’t say “yes.”
All the time you’re spending waiting around to hear back from the prospect could be spent getting the prospect to the next stage and/or focusing on other prospects.
I NEVER send out free proposals! Not only does it help me keep my pipeline filled with prospects, but it helps me speed up the overall sales velocity.
I Know My Potential Customers and Their Needs Inside and Out
Most salespeople know exactly what they THEMSELVES want, but they don’t know anything about their ideal customers and what they want.
Unfortunately for those sales reps, they forget that selling is about the customer, not themselves. As a result, they target new leads only to not capture any of them because they don’t know what they want.
The moment I decided to put myself into my ideal customer’s shoes was the moment I realized what they wanted and needed. Once I understood them, I knew who exactly to target, was able to fill my pipeline, and ended up closing more deals than ever.
Because I put my prospects before me, I achieve my own sales goals in the end, which include having a full pipeline with more leads converting into customers on a consistently growing basis.
When you put your customer and their needs first, both they and YOU win.
I Focus Only on Qualified Leads
When I say I know my potential customers inside and out, I mean that I see the difference between a prospect who is highly likely to convert into a paying customer and one who is unlikely to at all.
Of those prospects who are most likely to convert into paying customers, I understand THEM and their needs inside and out.
Instead of focusing on prospects who are unlikely to purchase at all, I only focus on the ones who are most likely to make a buying decision.
In order to identify and focus solely on prospects who are likely to convert into customers, I outline and regularly update an:
- Ideal customer profile for my target companies
- Ideal buyer persona for the decision-makers at my targeted companies
Because I understand my sales targets inside and out, including their most challenging pain points and desired business outcomes, I know exactly how to approach them and guide them through the stages of the pipeline.
Just remember, not every sales opportunity is a GOOD opportunity.
Every Prospect In the World Wants This One Thing…
Do you ever ask yourself why Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche are all owned by the same parent company, VW? Why would VW want to own Audi and Porsche when it was already creating Volkswagen cars that successfully took people from point A to point B?
Simple, VW wanted to own Audi and Porsche because Audi and Porsche satisfy different emotions that their original Volkswagen cars couldn’t. VW understood that if they wanted to control more of the market, they needed to appeal to different types of emotions.
Every customer in the world makes purchases based on their emotions. They look to brands and products that align with and satisfy their emotional desires.
For example, a customer who wants to feel expensive and luxurious is more likely to go for the Porsche than a customer who values practicality and simplicity.
Because of this, you must understand the emotional point at which your potential customers are approaching the buying process. What emotions do they want to have satisfied, and how can you satisfy them?
At the end of the day, your prospects want their emotions validated. If you can validate them, you’re more likely to get them into the pipeline and eventually close.
Your Prospect’s Pain Points Aren’t the Real Problem
Your prospect’s pain points aren’t the problem.
Instead, your prospect’s problem is the fact that they have a hurdle, or pain point, standing between where they are now and where they want to be in the future.
Whenever a prospect comes to you, they’re not thinking to themselves, “I want to solve this pain point because it’s fun!” Instead, they’re thinking, “I want to reach this outcome, but I’ve got some challenges standing in my way. How can I make the challenges disappear?”
The moment I started approaching my prospects as if they were on a mission to reach some desired destination was the moment I understood them and their wants on a deeper level.
I started thinking about a prospect’s pain points as if solving them is a means to some greater outcome that they’re trying to reach.
From then on, I framed every sales pitch as an opportunity to help the prospect get from where they are now to where they want to be in the future!
My Sales Process Is as Short And Sweet as Possible
Your sales process sets the stage for your sales pipeline: If your process is healthy, then you’ll have a healthy sales pipeline.
Unfortunately for most sales teams, they have a seriously unhealthy process. By that, I mean that it's:
- Longer than necessary
- More complex than necessary
- Overall confusing and not to the point
Because of this, their pipeline inevitably becomes long, complex, and more confusing than it needs to be.
As a result, prospects either ditch the pipeline because it’s too long, or sales teams just can’t contain leads in the pipeline regularly because they have too much (unnecessary) work on their plate.
To keep my pipeline filled with leads at all times, I scaled back my selling process. This way, prospects don’t lose interest and leave the pipeline, and I don’t have to spend as much time taking each individual lead through the entire pipeline.
I Don’t Waste My or My Customer’s Time
Contrary to popular belief, your sales prospects are average human beings, just like you.
Because they’re human beings, they’ve got a lot more on their mind than just sales deals. Rather, they’re thinking about personal problems, business problems, and problems you probably couldn’t even imagine.
With many challenges on their plate, they can’t afford to waste time that could be spent doing something more productive.
Despite this, most sales team members are constantly wasting their prospect’s time. Instead of quickly siphoning them through the different stages of the pipeline, they take their sweet time.
As a result, prospects become disinterested, get overwhelmed with other problems, and ditch the pipeline.
That said, I don’t waste my prospect’s time anymore! Instead of taking my time and including different pipeline stages that don’t need to be there, I keep things short and sweet.
This way, prospects stay engaged throughout the entire conversation and are thankful for me helping them stay on the ball.
My Lead Generation Process Is Pristine
Lead generation and lead qualification are the two stages of your pipeline that I bet you’re wasting the most time on.
I bet that you take a significant amount of time to:
- Identify target leads
- Make your cold calls and cold emails
- Determine whether or not leads are truly qualified
Unfortunately for you, wasting time at the top of the pipeline is a set-up for an overall slow pipeline that wastes more time than necessary.
As the first and most important stages of the pipeline, you can’t afford to mess them up!
If you’re going to clean up any part of your pipeline so that it stays short, sweet, and to the point overall, make it lead gen and lead qualification!
I Carry Myself as the Expert Who I Am
Want to know what really spurs me into action?
It’s when a prospect refers to me as a vendor as if I can easily be replaced with one of my competitors!
There was a point in which I didn’t think I could avoid being seen as a vendor, but now I realize that I was setting myself up to be seen that way.
By changing my sales approach, prospects began to see me as an irreplaceable expert who they couldn’t afford to lose.
As a result, my pipeline filled with more leads than ever, each lead stayed in the pipeline until the end, and leads even referred me to many of their colleagues.
Carrying myself as an expert instead of a vendor changed the entire sales game.
Prospects Come to ME Because They See Me As an Expert
How can patients briefly meet a surgeon once or twice and then be willing to place their life into that surgeon’s hands? Is it because the surgeon is manipulative or has magical powers?
The truth is that surgeons are able to gain their patient’s trust in such a short amount of time because they carry themselves as the experts they are.
To portray themselves as experts, they:
- Listen more than they speak
- Don’t give away anything for free
- Understand the patient’s pain and needs on a deeper level
- Create a clear pathway that reveals how the patient’s condition can improve
- Offer a singular solution instead of many options
By doing so, patients see these surgeons as experts who they can’t afford to live without. Unless the surgeon helps them, they won’t be able to solve their pain and return to living a normal life!
Just like how a surgeon carries themself as an expert in order to treat more patients in less time, you must do the same. Your entire sales strategy should ooze with expertise!
To do that, you must be like a surgeon and:
- Listen more than you speak
- Never give anything away for free
- Never negotiate on factors like pricing
- Be concise and straightforward
- Create a clear pathway to show prospects how you’ll help them reach their desired outcomes
By doing so, you’ll fill your pipeline with more leads than ever before, get more referrals than ever before, and convert leads into paying customers faster.
I’ve Switched My Focus to Becoming a Better Sales Leader
How often do you feel like you’re caught in the weeds?
By that, I mean how often do you feel that you’re showing up to work every day knowing what you must do to be productive but then get pulled in tons of directions to put out different fires? Then at the end of the day, you realize that instead of getting the most important work done, all you did was put out fires.
I also used to get stuck in the weeds, and not only was it a terrible feeling, but it took my focus off the most important parts of business and sales success, including:
- Focusing on strategies, processes, and understanding customers
- Thinking about how to streamline and automate to make sales flow easily
- Being the leader my team and potential customers needed
To have a healthy sales pipeline (and quite frankly have sales success in general), you’ve got to get out of the weeds and start leading!
Why call yourself a CEO, sales manager, or sales leader if you’re not going to lead your team?
Unless you step up as a leader, you’ll see a decrease in the number of deals you close and a decrease in deal size. In other words, your pipeline will turn to dust!
Instead of Getting Stuck In the Weeds, I Lead My Sales Team
When I say I lead my sales team, I mean that I give them the tools they need to focus on keeping the pipeline flowing, which includes:
- A sales strategy to work from
- A process to replicate
- Tools like a CRM software to organize and keep the flow going
The key here is to not overthink this. You don’t need to invest in crazy expensive software and develop the most outlandish strategy. Rather, a manageable Excel spreadsheet and a 4-step process can do the trick.
If you’re not there to lead your sales and marketing teams, then who will?
Without exemplary leadership, your pipeline will fall to pieces and you’ll be pulled back into the weeds.
Final Thoughts on How I Always Keep My Sales Pipeline Full With Leads
Bottom line: Just because every other sales team struggles to fill their pipeline and keep it full doesn’t mean that that’s normal or okay. Instead, it just means that most teams are struggling!
However, it doesn’t need to stay that way. All you need to do is make small changes like I did to keep your pipeline full of sales opportunities at all given times.
In the end, these small changes will open the door for you to close more deals and bigger deals whenever you want to! What are you waiting for?
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