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How to double your selling time? Focus on winning the winnable!


At the end of a year’s trading, you end up with a particular level of sales.

But what stops you achieving twice that level?
What is the constraint?
What resource don’t you have enough of?

When I ask salespeople I often hear resources like technical, budget, prospects, marketing support and leads. However almost every salesperson will answer TIME
There is just not enough of it.

So, what is the biggest waste of time in your selling?

Common responses include admin, internal meetings, travel and training courses.

Of course, none of these are the correct answer.

So, for sales you work on what sort of rate are YOU winning? If you submit 10 proposals to prospects, what is your hit rate? In other words, if you go through the whole process of bidding and submitting some form of proposal, then from your own experience how many do you win?

The most common answer is three in B2B sales. I don’t why. But it is the most common answer when I ask this question.

I have heard this answer so many times that I have come to believe that there is some law that dictates this figure. Or maybe it is just a number that is acceptable to give. I suspect that many sales people have a worse result than three out of ten.

Some salespeople achieve 8 or 9 out of 10, usually because they have an excellent product in a good niche! And sometimes they are great sales people. Some are lower. However, the exact statistic of your hit rate is not that important.

The important point is this – if you are only winning 3 out of 10 of the sales you are working on then the biggest waste of time is the seven you lose.

With 5 million B2B sales professionals in the US and UK it means 3 million spend the year losing! A big cost to businesses. If you are a board member, a sales leader, or in L&D this is one of the key root causes to predicting consistent revenue growth and driving effective selling hours, sales velocities, hit rate and size of deals.

In simple English how to win more orders, bigger orders, more profitable orders, more quickly.

If you are only winning one third of the sales you are working on then two thirds of your selling time is wasted. And you cannot claim that you learn something when you lose because you learn a lot more when you win.

Some individuals have very high hit rates, they are very good sales people and given that they are bidding they would perform well. But far more importantly, in their minds, was the fact that they refused to bid unless they were practically certain they would win.

There are really only two reasons for losing a sale. You were outsold and/or you should not have been there in the first place.

NOW, there is a discipline in selling called Qualification. The idea of qualification is that when you find a sale you do not go rushing in to submit a proposal.

FIRST, you take a cool hard look at the opportunity and ask yourself, is this a winnable situation? If it is going to take 2 or 3 months of your life to do all the work to quote, is it a good investment of your life? And if it is not, then you drop it like a hot brick.

I would like to make a very important point. Qualification is not a 2-way process – a yes or no bid.
This is where many so many companies go wrong and the cost is high. It is a 3-way process!

Advance creators of SCOTSMAN® and Commitment Based Selling are experts in sales qualification and pipeline management.

Learn more about how we redefine sales qualification, change behaviours to replicate the best of the best, and bring science to the art of selling.

Some further reading to download

How to Achieve Predictable Consistent and Reliable Sales Forecasts

The New Science of Enabling Sales Excellence – implementation at Xerox showing how practical leadership, people and process improvements doubled revenue growth within 3 years.

Advance’s Sales Enablement Model – how we help companies make things happen with a focus on opportunity management, leaders as effective coaches and the infrastructure for success.

Mike Wilkinson
Mike Wilkinson
Managing Director Advance - Creators of SCOTSMAN®