Get deals flowing faster
Step on the gas
We once asked a junior member of our sales team how long he thought a prospect should think about it before they made a decision. Interestingly, his answer was, “1 week.”
One week? Why not 5 days, or 3 weeks? The truth is that you can’t just leave it up to the prospect to decide how long a decision takes. It should be up to both you and them. In order to help you increase the speed at which you close sales, here are three ways to step on the accelerator:
Discover the decision-making process of companies you want to buy from you.
It’s hard to push a person or a company to go faster than they’re used to especially when you don’t even know what their speed is. Do you know one of the best ways to find this out? You simply ask your prospect.
Don’t assume you know how to push each prospect through the stages of your pipeline. At each stage, ask them what is required to move forward to the next step. Do this a few times and you’ll learn how decisions are made in a particular company. You’ll probably discover industry-specific decision making patterns as well.
Eliminate the common tendency of a prospect to “think about it”.
Often, especially for those new to sales, there is a reluctance to seem too pushy. As you move forward in your career, however, you will learn that it’s okay to press a little. Don’t give them too much time to think.
If one of your prospects gives you the classic line “Well… let me think about it and get back to you.” You respond with, “Great, can you give me an idea of what you’d like to think about and maybe I can provide additional information to help in the process.”
Another example of reducing decision time would be something like if a prospect says they need to discuss it with someone else. You can learn when this discussion will take place, say tomorrow, and respond with, “Terrific, so if I give you a call tomorrow afternoon, you’d be finished consulting and things would be much clearer regarding moving to the next step?”
This kind of gentle and helpful pressure can move things along faster, and even trigger an immediate decision.
Know when to walk away.
If a prospect has been in your sales pipeline for longer than your established sales cycle, there’s a good chance you won’t close them. Generally, when we want to buy something, we do so quickly. If we’re not sure, we might hang on for a bit and see if the thing we’re considering buying grows on us.
If you can’t do anything to move your prospect into the next stage, it may be time to write them off. This is not to say you turn your back on them completely, it’s just that you want to focus on deals that you can actually close in a timely manner. Put this one into the “I’ll go back in 6 months” category we mentioned when talking about the ways to add more deals.
By now, it should be clear that a superstar sales person is nothing more than a focused individual with the right mind set and a clear plan of activity goals. It should also be clear that you too can be a star in the sales arena.