I recently received a sales call from an individual saying he “wanted to setup time to meet with me about his firm.” The caller’s introduction was vague and gave me no information into what services his firm provided. It turns out the caller was an investment advisor. I explained to the caller that my current financial advisor is a close friend and someone whom I trust with my life. Therefore, a meeting would not be a good use of our time.  He responded, “I see you have a big network. Even if you don’t have a need, maybe you could refer me to some of your contacts.” Even if one of my personal contacts did need a financial advisor, does this guy think I would refer them to a complete stranger? Not so much.

What Went Wrong?

The problem with the caller’s approach is that his goal was to get a meeting.  Someone told him “If you want to grow your business, it’s all a numbers game. Make as many phone calls and get as many meetings as possible. The more people you contact, the more business you’ll get.”  Good theory, but it just doesn’t work that way anymore. You need a better way to quickly evaluate opportunities and determine which ones are worth the pursuit.

How to Be Selective

In my book, Upside Down Selling, I share a case study of Excella Consulting who doubled their growth rate in the first year. What makes their story interesting is that they accelerated growth while pursuing dramatically fewer opportunities. And another client recently told me that they are on track to double their quarterly revenue, while offering fewer than half of the sales demos they gave the prior quarter.  In fairness, simply doing less is not enough to get results. You need a way to objectively review your opportunities and take emotion out of the evaluation. When evaluating potential opportunities businesses often focus on demographic data. The most popular criteria include how many employees, how much revenue, or how many locations.  While that data gives you some insight, here is a better approach. First, determine if the client has an issue worth solving.  Once you determine the problem is worth solving, then focus on whether or not they are a TRUE fit.

What is a TRUE fit?

I created a spreadsheet tool to identify whether or not an opportunity is a TRUE fit. It breaks opportunities into four categories:

T-erms: The Business terms

R-elationship:  Are you on the inside or outside?  Are they rooting for you?  Are they confiding in you, or the preferred vendor they want to have help them?

U-pside: What is the potential to replicate, expand, reference, or create new business from this deal?

E-xpertise: How close does this project fit with your companies’ greatest strengths and strategic objectives?

Though the TRUE spreadsheet tool has a predefined set of parameters, you can tailor it with each client to suit their needs. Simply evaluate your client for each item on a scale from 1-10, and then see graphically how the opportunity fits with their needs. I will happily share this valuable spreadsheet tool with you for free. To receive a copy of the spreadsheet, send me a direct message on Twitter @GrowMyRevenue with your email address asking for the TRUE fit tool. Follow the TRUE fit steps and you’ll quickly appreciate why the goal is finding the right fit, not getting a meeting.

It’s Your Turn

What criteria do you find to be most valuable in determining if an opportunity is the right fit for you?