The biggest crime in sales?

Pipedrive, my favourite sales CRM (no affiliation with me professionally), has a great tool (here) which allows you to measure how many ‘No’s’ we need to get before we get a yes. The concept is you count your rejections and tick them off with a clear understanding that each ‘No’ brings you a little bit closer to your eventual yes. I like this concept. It makes me uncomfortable, in a good way.

Pipedrive’s NO Calculator

No alt text provided for this image

The biggest crime in sales, in my opinion, is salespeople taking way too long to get your ‘No’. I’m fascinated with salespeople’s (and sometimes even my own) desire to twist every interaction into at least a maybe – sales leaders call this ‘happy ears’

No alt text provided for this image

If we never deliberately look and listen for NO we run the risk we will only ever hear a YES or a MAYBE. This attitude means we spend way too long and exhaust way too many of our resources on deals that won’t ever progress… romancing the idea that these ‘deals’ in our pipeline might become customers when they simply won’t is a sure-fire way to fail.

Just because someone is INTERESTED doesn’t mean they INTEND to buy from you.

Often those most eager to take a meeting with you have no intention to buy, no decision making capability, unrealistic expectations of you and your company and provide no access to the real decision-makers or to the information you need to progress your deals.

Get to ‘no’ ASAP.

It’s not a competition to fill your pipeline with the most names and numbers. You need real deals in your pipeline. Be careful what you measure.

As I help companies with their sales, I’ve seen salespeople artificially inflate their pipelines just to make their pipeline volume number. I’ve also seen a seller, who was actually on my own sales team, choose to only load deals into his pipeline once he was more than 80% sure the deal was going to happen, just so we didn’t ask him about the deal’s progress at the weekly catch up. Both of these examples provide challenges to the sales leader.

The reality is most people simply can’t manage more than 50 real deals at any one time, especially if they’re using a calibrated sequence or cadence as part of their outreach and they have stakeholder engagement of 4 or 5 per deal.

Go and have a look at the deals in your pipe today and get real with yourself. How many of these deals are based on facts and logic and how many are based on your hopes and dreams?

We all want every deal to be real, it’s only natural. The reality for many of us is by simply removing our least probable 25% of deals from our pipeline we will have more capacity for those deals who are more likely to progress.

Use the @SalesITV IDEA model to make sure your pipeline is not a crime scene. Get the no and clear out your pipe.

No alt text provided for this image

Get Sales Tips – straight to your inbox? Go to and subscribe to get my best weekly sales strategies direct to your inbox every Sunday.

As well as being a sales trainer to Australia’s corporate sector. Mark is the #1 ranked Linkedin Social Seller in Australia. Contact Mark via Inmail message or [email protected] for a discussion around sales growth, coaching, social media, golf, cycling, AFL and sales effectiveness.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments