BILL LEE: Time to Evaluate All Sales Prospects

By / 2 years ago

Those who don’t meet the criteria you’ve established need to be pruned.


Only salespeople who continuously prospect for new business are in control of their sales destiny. Winter is the ideal time of year to analyze and evaluate current prospects and make the decision whether to replace them or continue to pursue them in 2015.

Here are a few important questions to ask yourself:

• Are my current prospects there out of habit or because they meet my Ideal Prospect Profile?

• What is my estimate of the odds that my current prospects will become customers in 2015?

• If I am successful at getting my foot in the door regarding one of my current prospects, will the prospect’s purchases provide enough business potential to produce a positive effect on my personal income?

I believe salespeople should prune a few of their prospects at least annually. A salesperson can work a finite number of prospects, so it is frequently a wise move to eliminate a few prospects you’ve given up on and replace them with prospects you have higher odds of selling.

Let’s take a look at some criteria that gives a prospect higher odds of becoming a customer:

• The prospect will give you the “time of day.” He/she will answer your questions and shows an interest in what you have to say.
• The prospect buys enough to make getting their business a shot in the arm for your income. Regardless of how much you like them, resist wasting your time calling on prospects who have low purchasing potential.
• The prospect is not a price buyer. He/ she appreciates consistently good service and clearly understands the difference between cost and price
• The prospect has recently experienced service problems with his/her current supplier.

When I first became a salesperson, I considered all prospects to be pretty much equal. At least this is the way I treated them. Regardless of their potential, I would drop in on just about everyone in a given community who didn’t do business with me. I’ve since learned that I should avoid prospects with low potential to give me more quality time to cultivate prospects with relatively high potential.

One prospective account I pruned asked me to quote him every time I visited. He never bought anything, but strictly “used” me to keep my competitor honest. It was a great day for me when I finally made the decision that calling on this prospect was not a productive use of my time.

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Bill Lee

Bill Lee has nearly 40 years of experience in the construction supply industry. A seminar leader and consultant, he is the author of two books: Gross Margin and 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot. You can reach Bill at, or 800.277.7888.