The Biggest Myth About Your Sales Prospects

It’s this, usually delivered by a boss who means well: “Everyone you talk to is a potential customer!”

Those of us who are responsible for generating new business are constantly looking for opportunities. All sales opportunities are not created equal.

Photo Credit: Dain Sandoval via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dain Sandoval via Compfight cc

The late Jeffrey Mayer, whom I hired as my sales coach a decade ago, taught me that sales is a business of disqualification. He insisted that the most successful salespeople eliminated the vast majority of the prospects they ran into, and only paid attention to the ones who fit specific criteria.

Mayer had a simple 3-part formula for disqualifying prospects:

  1. No Money = No Sale

  2. No Authority = No Sale

  3. No Need = No Sale

Too often, salespeople think — or are told by their managers — that “everyone can be your customer”. It’s simply not true.

  • Some clients can’t afford what you’re selling. Unless you are already independently wealthy, you want to work with people who are going to pay the bill.
  • Some people you meet with aren’t allowed to make purchasing decisions. You can deliver the best sales presentation in history, and all they’re going to do is spend a couple of minutes asking the boss if it’s okay. They can’t, and won’t, present your case nearly as well as you can.
  • Occasionally you run into someone who is already perfectly happy with things as they are. The easiest thing for them to do is whatever they’re already doing.

Everyone is not your customer. Figure out what criteria your clients need to meet to do business with you, and disqualify the people who don’t meet that criteria. Your time has value — don’t waste it on people who can’t buy, can’t pay, or aren’t interested.


Question: Have you ever spent months trying to sell a prospect, only to realize they were never going to buy no matter what you did?

When, and how, did you realize you were wasting your time? You can leave a comment by clicking here.




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