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There’s not a first time for everything. Only for the things that you actually do.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Unfortunately, most journeys never get started. Lately, I’ve been struggling with selecting which projects to begin and which ones to shy away from.

Being able to say “no” is a critical part of effective time management. But too many salespeople are willing to chase any opportunity at the expense of focusing on the most valuable ones. 

As with most things, if you place labels on opportunities, it’s much easier to segment them into the ones that are worth pursuing and the ones that aren’t.

Let’s look at prospective customers. The ones that are most worth pursuing...

  • Have a need for your offering and are aware of it.
  • Have the legitimate ability and authority to buy from you.
  • Have a relative sense of urgency about the decision.
  • Have (or can develop) trust in you and your organization.
  • Are willing to listen to you.

The more of those characteristics your prospects exhibit, the more worthy they are of your investment of time, energy, and resources.

Too often, salespeople aren't willing to face the hard, cold truth that all prospects aren't created equally. Instead, they waste time with prospects who aren't qualified at the expense of putting forth the (difficult) work of searching for the most qualified ones.

In short, there's not a first time for everything. But there should be a first, second, third, fourth... time for the right thing. And the right thing in sales is always to get in front of qualified prospects!

The lesson? Say "No!" to weak opportunities and "Yes!" to valuable ones.

Over to you now...

  • How do you select the most valuable opportunities? What criteria do you use?
  • Have you ever gotten bogged down in a project and struggled to get out of it?