By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®

When creating CustomerCentric Selling®, we created a list of thirteen (13) core concepts that serve as cornerstones to our sales process. The first was: No goal means no prospect. Put another way, if a buyer doesn’t share a goal or admit a problem they’re willing to spend money to achieve or address there is no opportunity for a salesperson to pursue.

sales tips for applying common senseMany people said it was just stating the obvious. My preference is to say that we’ve tried to apply common sense to Sales. In the very complex business environment that has and continues to evolve, common sense seems to be a rare commodity and that people aren’t always sure how to apply. 

14 years after launching CCS® there is an entirely new area to consider this simple wisdom with interactions with people that can’t buy. Back in 2002 we suggested attendees to many tradeshows were “tire kickers” and would be poor entry points to start buying cycles for complex and expensive offerings. When sellers were given “bingo cards” to contact people that came to a vendor’s booth, their interests were primarily about products rather than business outcomes that could be improved. 

Fast-forward to 2016 and I am pleased to report there seems to be far fewer tradeshows my clients choose to participate in. That said, many inbound web inquiries have become the equivalent of those bingo cards. Instead of walking tradeshow floors, researchers can now do product research via the Internet. The major thing that’s missing is the ability to do “adult trick or treating” in picking up various trinkets from other vendors.

It seems long overdue that vendors realize the following conditions make it highly unlikely that people scoring high enough on website activities are good entry points: 

  • Your offering is fairly expensive (>$50K)
  • Your offering is complex
  • Significant implementation effort is required (potential professional services needed)
  • A visitor’s interest is only learning about product specifications
  • No business outcomes with potential value have been identified

If and when sellers becomes involved it will be necessary to qualify these “opportunities” by: 

  • Having the researcher serve as a Champion to grant you access to a higher level.
  • Having the researcher state a goal the organization has.

Without goals/problems that can be addressed by an offering, buying cycles haven’t begun and prospects shouldn’t be in a seller’s pipeline. 

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