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- Convincing motive to change: If your dream client doesn’t have a compelling reason to change, it’s difficult to forecast that deal. Like a crime, you are looking for a motive. Not having a compelling reason to change doesn’t mean you might not win eventually, but it’s not a deal you can forecast with any certainty that you are going to win it by a certain date.
- Client driven date: If the prospect doesn’t have a date by which they believe they need to–or want to–implement your solution, the date in your CRM is simply a placeholder. How can you forecast a date when the client isn’t even aware of the date you have selected?
- Support beyond formal process: Do you have access to the stakeholders you need? Do you have access to the information you need? How much closer than “arm’s length” are you? It’s a mistake to forecast a blind RFP with any certainty over 17% unless you contributed to writing it.
- All stakeholders are known and engaged: In small or large companies with a dominator hierarchy, you might be able to make a deal with a single stakeholder. But in larger, more complex deals, you are likely to need consensus. You won’t know how to build consensus if you don’t know who the stakeholders are. Not knowing them means they don’t support you. Maybe lower your certainty.
- Recognize Obstacles: If you are not sure what your obstacles are, you might want to reduce your certainty when it comes to forecasting. If you don’t know how you are likely to lose a deal, then you don’t know where you are likely to be flanked by your opposition or your competitor. Knowing how you may lose would help you determine what changes to make. And whom you need to help. Hold on that 75% certainty score.
- All stakeholder needs are addressed, and the solution tailored: If you don’t know what people want and how your solution may be difficult for them to accept, you can’t give them what they want. If you have “a” solution, you might want to think about “solutions,” (plural) shaping your proposal for the people whose support you need and whom you will later serve.
- Collaboration on solutions: You have a higher likelihood of winning a deal in which you collaborated with the contacts from your fantasy client’s company. If it’s solely your solution, it’s not “our” solution. The more the solution belongs to your prospect, the greater the likelihood you win.
- Support of leadership: Just because you need consensus doesn’t mean that there isn’t still someone who has to sign an agreement. Consensus still requires the support of leadership. You don’t want to ask if leadership supports the change initiative you are working on with your prospect. Would you rather lose?
- Access to investment: Many people and companies have issues worth solving. Few of them have an unlimited budget for everything they would like to have. The question isn’t “Is there a budget?” It’s “Is this compelling enough for you to make the necessary investment?” You can forecast a deal, but if there isn’t a motive to pay for the change, you are looking at a “no decision.”
- Competitor’s known: If you haven’t had a scrappy competitor sneak into a deal and beat you, you will. You can’t easily distinguish your offering from your competitors if you don’t know who they are. You also can’t always generate the best deal strategy. It’s better to know who you are competing against than not to know and do nothing.
Anthony is an acclaimed B2B sales coach and consultant helping salespeople and sales organizations develop and grow to reach their full potential and also a faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership where Anthony teaches personal selling, social media marketing, and more in the MBA program. Anthony is also a father of three and is an avid reader, writer, runner, and cyclist.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.