Bad News Early is Good News



I was speaking to a sales leader yesterday and he was telling me the challenges his managers have in coaching deals. He tells me there are just too many of them to have an impact. My next question to him was, how many of those deals do you win – in which he replied, “About 25%.” He paused after that statement because he just realized his problem without me saying a word.


As sales leaders – we have two choices:


  1. Selectively chose the opportunities in which are winnable and impact that opportunity with best practices.
  2. React to all inquiry with the same discovery, presentation, and proposal then hope for the best.

Intuitively we all know we need to do the first; in practice most of us do the second. Before you blindly follow the rabbit down the rabbit hole on your next opportunity – ask yourself these questions:


  • Why Buy (What are the strategic business implications of making a change?)
  • Why Now (Why can’t they go on doing what they are doing today?)
  • Why Us (Is our competitive advantage a solution for a strategic pain?)
  • Who Cares (Do we know all the stakeholders involved with this evaluation?)
  • Who Matters (Do we know and can we have access to the decision-makers?)
  • What’s next (Is this account worth the time invested to win?)


These six questions are the essence of qualification. I would never recommend embarking on a 65 page RFP or flying in technical resources for a half-day demo-thon unless I knew the answers to these 6 questions.  If you cannot answer these questions because your access is limited – then congratulations! You have just saved an entire sales cycle’s worth of time to focus on deals you can win. In this case – bad news early is good news for you.


One Response

  1. Your negative turned positive attitude towards selling works broadly beyond just the sales lifecycle…have you considered writing a book?
    Don’t forget your administrative assistant today or you’ll never get your messages on time for the remainder of the year!

    Keep Blogging!

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