Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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Move Upstream

a view upstream

There is a certain class of prospective client that needs your help. They are easy to engage in a sales conversation. They are unhappy with their results and motivated to change. They also spend money in your category and likely belong to your competitor now. All of these sound attractive, but there are some other factors I’ve left out.

This prospect is cheap. They underinvest in the results they need, and they hope to find someone who can produce better results and help them invest even less. You know that is what your price is, right? It’s the investment they are making in the results they want.

The company makes a little money, but it’s always a source of stress. The difficulty they have producing results makes their clients and customers unhappy, and they transfer that negative energy to the companies and people who serve them, which is your competitor right now. The challenges of their business make them challenging people to help.

Some salespeople will see the positive attributes, the ones that create an opportunity that is relatively easy to win, avoiding acknowledging the negative aspects that their team will live with after the deal. This is like buying your children a pet dragon. Someone is going to get badly burned.

There is no reason to spend time pursuing prospects that would make a bad client. Even if you can eek out a tiny profit, the price you pay for working with them is greater than any profit you might make.

Move upstream. Target the more mature, more successful, and more profitable clients that are more difficult when it comes to engagement and desire to change. What is fast is slow, and what is easy is difficult.

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