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More Bad Advice About “No Decision” Losses

Well…it happened again.

I was listening to a sales consultant’s podcast. I wasn’t familiar with his work, so I wanted to get a better sense of his experiences, thought processes, perspectives, recommendations, and so on. And the content was pretty solid…until he started answering listeners’ questions.

One of the first questions was what to do about the large number of “no decision” losses a sales team was racking up.

With no hesitation whatsoever, the consultant proclaimed that the company’s qualification criteria was “obviously” too loose and needed to be tightened up significantly to get these types of prospects out of the pipeline before too much time was wasted on them. Next question, please!

Pat answers like this are just so maddening. No diagnosis. No thought or consideration given to the specific situation at hand. It’s like a doctor hearing you cough over the phone and pronouncing that you “obviously” have Black Lung.

Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this particular recommendation about no decision losses. Even though it’s woefully simplistic…and can be disastrous in certain situations…it’s nevertheless a go-to prescription for many sales consultants and pundits.

So, what’s the better answer? What should you do about a large number of “no decision” losses? How should you diagnose your particular situation?

For a much more complete answer, of course I’d recommend our on-demand webinar, “Reducing Losses to “No Decision”.” In this 90-minute session, we expose how and why no decision losses tend to occur, we discuss the situational criteria for leaning toward one solution or another, and we highlight effective steps others have taken to address the issue.

For the purposes of this article, however, I’ll allude to the answers by asking a few more diagnostic questions:

  • Do you understand why some prospects are failing to make a decision?
  • How would you characterize the true nature of demand in your market?
  • What does the volume of no decision losses say about market demand?
  • Are you selling a solution to a problem prospects don’t know they have?
  • Can you really disqualify only those prospects who won’t make a decision?
  • Are there enough “ready to buy now” prospects to satisfy your objectives?
  • Does your team take steps to facilitate a prospect’s decision to change?
  • Is your primary sales approach designed for competitive differentiation?

The point is that there’s a whole lot more to consider when addressing the issue of no decision losses. And you should be very skeptical when you hear pat answers and blanket prescriptions. Because if there are strategic, demand-based reasons behind these dynamics, a simplistic tactical solution like just tightening up your qualification criteria could actually do much more harm than good.

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