Some people brag about having really high close rates. They close deals at 80 or 90 percent win rates. They’re proud to be “closers,” and they are especially proud of their mostly undefeated records.
Other people have really low close rates. They close 15 or 20 percent of the deals they pursue. These folks wish they were closers. They’re unhappy with their close rates and with their performance.
Both of these groups have a similar problem.
Avoiding Deals Too Difficult to Close
You generally find one of two things to be true when someone has a close rate in the 80 or 90 percent range.
The first reason their win rate might be so high is because they only put the deals they actually win into their CRM. That’s one way to have a nice high win rate, but it’s awful for improving your performance. Not tracking your losses is like a football team that avoids watching their films after losing a game (something they never, ever do).
The second reason some salespeople have high close rates is because they never compete for any deal that is difficult to win. If it’s going to be highly competitive, they bow out. If the client is going to be difficult, they refuse to compete. Even if the deal is just going to take a lot of time and effort, they avoid it.
Because a deal is going to be competitive, difficult, and take time and energy is no reason to avoid competing. This is what sharpens your skills, and you will also win some of the deals (you cannot win deals for which you never compete).
You might have better numbers with a 40 percent win rate than with an 80 percent win rate. Like all metrics, this one only tells part of the story.
Too Difficult to Win
Salespeople with low close rates struggle to win deals. Winning deals is difficult, and these salespeople haven’t yet developed the skills necessary to compete and win. For them, the opportunities they compete for are too difficult to close.
These salespeople need to improve as salespeople before they can improve their win rates. They need to develop the attributes of good salespeople, and they need to learn all the necessary skills.
Win rate is a single metric, but it does tell a story. Your win rate may be too high, in which case you should pursue deals that will stretch you. It may also be too low, in which case you need to focus on your growth and development.
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