What’s Your System?

Published on January 2, 2004

Every profession has a system in place for success. For instance, according to Todd Piland, Sr. VP of HEB ( Retail Grocer), location is crucial for a store’s success. We all know that. But do you know the critical factors they look for in a location? Todd looks for a location that is on the right side of the road which happens to be on the way home for most folks. In other words, this is the side of the street congested during the afternoon rush hour. He wants the location on the right side because it is easy to turn into on the way home. When the customers exit, they simply make another easy right turn back onto the road. Todd also looks for highway entrance maps being located just past his store. This way there are no difficult turns that can take forever and motivate people to not stop at his store on the way home.

In sales, there are systems for identifying the right customer. We call this qualifying. Often, sales execs spend too much time chasing customers who don’t fit their profile of producing customers, do not have a need or resources to fund the purchase, or simply are not interested. Yet, they tend to be receptive to the sales exec and because of this, the sales executive spends too much time chasing down business that will not support their goals.

As we start the new year, you probably have a revenue goal identified. If not, do it right now. Once you have this goal, you must now figure out what type of customer you want to go after that gives you the best chance of meeting your goal. Do you have a clear profile of what you are looking for a customer as Todd Piland has when he is looking for a new location?

Once you have your targeted list, what questions are you asking that will help you qualify whether or not you should be spending time on this customer? Questions should include where the customer is trying to go, what’s missing for them, how much do they spend in like products/services you have to offer, how is the decision made and who is involved? One last but very important question is what’s at stake for the customer if they not meet their goals? This is a terrific qualifying question that will provide you with insight of what the customer might be willing to do solve a problem.

Adjust your qualifying system today so you can free up more time to spend with customers who are in a better position to help you reach your goals.

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