My Closing Ratios Are Still High, So What’s The Problem?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

I received a great question in my inbox last week that was from a salesperson whose results were taking a dip yet his sales closing ratio was just as high as normal, the pipeline was a full as it ever was and his appointment setting ratios were higher than normal.

“Please help me identify where I am going wrong Sean?” was his plea!

Here are my thoughts on this…

Personally, I’m a numbers junkie. I like to know every single stat and number of my selling.


Well, that’s easy.

You see, if you can split out your sales process into 8 different steps (for example) and you can measure each one then when I’m not getting the results I want I can analyse each one of those steps and see where the bottlenecks are.

I’m not just talking about the bog standard steps either. I mean EVERY STEP.

Too many sales people go through a “slump” where their number of closed sales are not what they should be. So what do they do? Well, they start to muck about with their presentation and how they close and they tinker with little things here and there.

The bottom line is that they do not know where the problem is so they guess. Well, with a well thought out sales process, one which you can measure, these bottlenecks can easily be identified.

For example, the problem might not be in the sales presentation at all – that ratio might be just has high as normal. The problem might not be the number of prospects in the pipeline either. The problem might not be with the number of appointments set too.

“So where is the problem?” I hear you cry.

Well the problem might have been that your decision makers were cancelling the appointments that you had set with them and because you were so busy busy busy, something like that could have gone un-noticed. So many “lost sales” fall under the radar.

So on  the face of it your appointment setting ratios are still the same, your closing ratios are still the same yet your number of actual closed deals is falling.

Something like unfulfilled appointments can slip through the net undetected. They might go unrecorded for example.

So what would this mean?

Well, it might mean that you are selling too hard in your cold calls. By this I mean that the prospect agrees to a meeting just to get you off the phone and then cancels later on.

You need to understand every step of your sales process not matter how small or trivial and then you need to measure that step.

Something trivial looking like just improving the number of returned calls you get when leaving voice messages can make you an additional 5-10 sales per year just by changing the message you leave everything else being equal.

What you need to do next is:

  • Go somewhere quiet and map out your end to end sales process in as much detail as you can – leave nothing out!
  • Take steps to measure the numbers and ratios at each stage
  • Consistently review your figures at each stage so you know what’s working and what isn’t
  • Attend some Sales Training with MTD to work out how to do this properly! 🙂

Happy Selling! (and measuring!)


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 13 November, 2008

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