Do you think it’s possible to double the close rate of every rep on your team? Think about that for a minute… What if Sara closed six deals per month instead of three? Every month. What would that do for your business?
I believe a slight shift in thinking early in the sales process can do just that for any business with a sales team. The tendency we have as salespeople is to try to chase every “opportunity” we see, regardless of how well positioned we are to catch it. But, as the proverb goes, “he who chases two rabbits catches none.”
I want to challenge you to pursue only the FAT deals.
Choosing to focus exclusively on FAT deals will double the close rate of every salesperson in your organization. The logic is simple, in most growing organizations, the limiting factor on your revenue—or bottleneck, if you will—is the amount of time your salespeople have to close new business. They are likely spending too much time chasing the wrong people, jumping through hoops and trying to convince the prospect to choose your company.
“Most sellers call on too many prospects. The goal of every sales rep should be to build a limited clientele of high-producing business sources.” – Jack Daly
Imagine if all of their time was spent with perfect-fit opportunities who were ready to buy?
Sound crazy? Well, if you think it will happen accidentally, then it does sound crazy. It’s takes intent, some tools and lots of persistent management. But if you believe it will double the close rate of your entire organization, isn’t it worth it?
So what exactly are these FAT deals that can transform our close rate?
Double Your Close Rate: What Makes a Deal FAT?
A potential customer who fits your target persona, has the ability to buy from you and whose timing to do so is imminent is a good use of your salespeople’s time. In other words, FAT is an acronym that reminds us to seek perfect Fit, Ability and Timing when qualifying prospects.
Here is what that looks like at my company, Juicy Results:
- Fit: Company with a phone based sales team.
- Ability: In charge of sales at a company between $1mm and $20mm in revenue.
- Timing: Company has a stated goal of doubling revenue in the next 1 – 3 years.
To give you another example, a financial planner may carve out a niche by using this criteria:
- Fit: Christian father with more than three children.
- Ability: Household income of over $200,000 annually.
- Timing: Currently saving for their children’s college education.
If everyone in your company is crystal clear on who you serve best, you gain a competitive advantage in time. Every sales rep will have more time to serve and sell your most ready-to-buy customers because they won’t be chasing prospects who are less than ideal, or many quarters or years away from buying from you.
When I initially speak to a new prospect, I am unapologetic on who we serve, and I can state our FAT criteria in one easy sentence. This allows me to make a quick decision on how to proceed with a new relationship long before I have become emotionally invested through hours of discovery, solution research and proposal writing. The decision tree is clear: are they a FAT deal, do I refer them to someone who they are a FAT deal for (not a fit), or do I add them to my marketing automation system (they are a fit, but ability or timing is not there)?
It’s this ease of communication that makes the FAT criteria more useful than IBM’s BANT screening for qualification.
Why Say No to Non-FAT Deals?
I can sense you gripping your arm rests tighter as you read this, wondering why I would want to discourage my salespeople from pursuing inbound leads. Let me explain how your new focus will mean more business.
I like the FAT acronym because it intuitively reminds us why a deal is worth pursuing.
Many animals, including humans, have an evolutionary preference for high-fat foods because they are the most concentrated source of dietary energy—which means efficiency. It takes energy to find food. In our hunting and gathering days, our next meal was not guaranteed, so when there was a chance to sink your teeth into meat, nuts or avocados, we would risk life and limb to get it.
Sales can often be the same way. As the popular adage goes, it takes just as much time and energy to close a big deal as a small deal, so why not focus exclusively on the big ones? FAT deals are not only big, but they are more likely to be won because they are the clients your organization is built to serve.
The Greek poet Archilochus long ago wrote, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” In other words, the fox, for all his cunning and “strategery,” is defeated by the hedgehog’s one defense. Everytime, without fail.
Jim Collin’s popularized the idea of the Hedgehog Concept at a macro business focus level in his classic book, “Good to Great.” But I think this concept is also extremely useful at a sales training level. Don’t we overachieving type “A” leaders all get caught up a little too much trying to be the smartest person in the room when we sell? A reminder that the simple hedgehog out “foxes” the fox every time is just what we need to hear.
If you had one move that guaranteed success every time, why would you waste your energy on anything else? That’s what a FAT deal is, your one move that dramatically increases your chance success every time!
Uncovering The FAT Deals – It’s Not as Hard as You Think
It’s possible that I’ve lost you at this point. You may be thinking, “Okay Jeremy… what a wonderful world of unicorns and rainbows you live in—good for you. But some of us have to make a real living.” I get it, I too made many a similar comment to others who encouraged me to specialize and find my own niche.
Bear with me. I am here to tell you that we can have our cake and eat it too—lots of it!
Customers love to buy from specialists. It makes us feel like we’re getting the absolute best, and we’re happy to pay more for it. Close your eyes and think of one brand that you despise and one brand that you absolutely love.
Who was the brand that you despised? Perhaps it was Comcast? Spirit Airlines? Maybe the TSA (Seriously, why does my Grandma need to take her shoes off to fly home for Thanksgiving?!)? These are all brands who serve—or annoy—everybody.
On the flip side, who did you think about when I asked what brands you loved?
Netflix? Virgin America? TSA Pre-check (It’s a long shot, but you know where I’m going)?
My bet is that the brands that you loved were specialized, laser-focused companies who knew who they serve best. Other examples might include: Kendra Scott, W Hotels, 37 Signals, Apple, Nest, Lulu Lemon, Google, Z Gallerie, GoDaddy, WordPress, Dave Ramsey, Martha Stewart or Playboy. Each of these brands equally attract and repel many people. None of them are watered down, which means none of them appeal to “everyone.”
A clear and focused message is like a laser beam cutting through a cloud of smoke. While everything else seems dull and blurry, we can’t help but focus on the red beam of light with it’s sharp edges. Simplify and amplify your message in the marketplace, and the right leads will be drawn to you like a magnet.
This clarity in intent will generate more referrals, reduce your emotional investment with misfit clients and attract more FAT deals. You’re already on your way to doubling your close rate. Now let’s share this with the rest of the team! What are you waiting for?
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This article was inspired by Jeremy’s ebook, “Seven Habits of Scalable Sales Teams: How your competition is using their CRM better than you.” If you are interested in more content like this, download it free here.
Jeremy is the CEO of Juicy Results, the Internet marketing agency for sale organizations. He is also the author of The Bootstrapper’s Guide to SEO and hosts a podcast on scaling the sales and marketing process called the New Customer Machine. He lives in Boca Raton, FL.
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