The Cause of Most Lost Sales | Sales Tips

February 3, 2017


Over the past 12 months, I have done some deep analysis of the sales pipeline, specifically looking for points of leverage that we can create more success with, as well as looking for any problem points that need to be fixed. Here’s what I learned.

Most pipelines have four stages. There’s  a prospecting stage, a qualification stage, a presentation stage and some kind of closing stage. If I analyze these pipelines, I notice some very important trends. Ninety percent of all sales start to fail in that qualification phase.

#Salespeople are doing something wrong in that qualification phase where sales are being lost. Click To Tweet

When I look at the sales that a company has won,  75 percent of the time that they spent in the pipeline overall was spent in the qualification phase. These two trends are intrinsically linked. This means that when we win sales, we’re spending more time qualifying our prospects. When we lose sales, we’re either doing a poor time of qualifying or not spending enough time in that qualification phase.

Having a longer and deeper qualification process during that qualification phase is the key to winning sales. Take a look at your pipelines. Are you or your sales reps spending enough time asking the most difficult, deepest questions to your prospect?  Do you truly get that compelling reason from a prospect to buy so that when you present something to them, they automatically say yes? If not, you may need to rethink your qualification process.

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3 responses to “The Cause of Most Lost Sales | Sales Tips”

  1. […] already talked about how the more time you spend doing a thorough qualification means you’re going to win more business. You now know what the most often missed question in the […]

  2. Hi Colleen,
    I appreciate your analysis but I think there may be another interpretation which will not be exclusive but can be relevant: That the qualification phase will determine whether a prospect is a good prospect or not, i.e. this is the phase during which you can weed out the weaker prospects therefore this IS the phase during which ‘sales’ will be lost. What do you think?
    From Tommy Morahan

  3. Hi Tommy, we are speaking about the exact same thing. The more time spent in the qualification phase, the better qualified the prospect is. A thurough qualification will allow the seller to make smart decisions about whether a prospect should be kept or dropped. If you rush through the qualification phase, a seller risks proposing the wrong solutions AND proposing to the wrong prospects.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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