Salespeople are often notoriously impatient and naturally ambitious for that sale to be processed more speedily. You want your prospective clients to respond/move more quickly to what is being offered - and the whole thing to be turned around a.s.a.p. so you can move on to the next prospect.
The simplest answer to this problem is to have more and higher-quality prospects in your pipeline at all times so that you close more deals and the sales cycle seems shorter.
This might sound trite and not simple at all! However, be assured there are several things you can do to improve the quality of your pipeline and speed up the sales cycle. Here are the most important:
1. TALK TO THE RIGHT PERSON
Do the people you are speaking to have the budget and authority to buy your services? Are you talking to the organ grinder or the monkey?
Get to speak to those at the highest level you can, to the ones with the clout and control of the purse strings. It can be pretty futile to do otherwise and you can waste an awful lot of time and effort. If there's no chance of you speaking to a higher authority then it sounds like it might be time to move on.
2. FOCUS ON THE CLIENT'S NEEDS
Talk with the prospect, not at the prospect; identify exactly what the prospect is looking for, what is their most pressing need and discover how you can match your services to these needs.
3. ENGENDER TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN YOUR COMPANY
Don't just 'big up' how good you and your company are; you need to clearly demonstrate that the buyer can trust you to deliver. Provide stories, case studies and examples of how you have helped similar companies in the same position. Once you've lowered the trust barrier – and you've tuned-in to their concerns, the quicker they'll make the right decision for you.
4. BE PROACTIVE
Reach out to all the required parties, from finance to the senior individual – and everyone impacted in any way. Do some of the legwork for them, providing data and other factors they need to make the decision.
5. JUST HOW VALUABLE ARE YOU?
If you don't know how you are distinct from the opposition, how will your prospect know? Ask your clients, your colleagues, and your network what they perceive your value is. Once you've got their feedback, refine your message, practice it, and refine it again. Make sure your prospects know what makes you the best option.
6. DEAL WITH OBJECTIONS EARLY
If only you didn't have to deal with objections – right? However, would the prospect really be bothering to list their concerns if they weren't interested in overcoming these obstacles? The objections can be helpful to the buying process if they are aired early on – much better than to deal with these nearer to closing time when you thought it was a done deal.
7. METICULOUS PLANNING
Have a plan for each stage of the process and know what you want to get out of all your meetings. The client will soon pick up if you are unprepared and this could derail the sale.
8. HAVE A CLEAR NEXT STEP
Don't leave the next step open-ended. Always have a date and time worked out in advance to carry things on. This is by far the easiest strategy to implement with the highest rate of return. It could be as simple as forwarding production schedules, current tariffs, plans that may help you understand their requirements, a conference call with their technical team, a copy of their financial statements, etc. It commits both you and the buyer to the next stage.
9. PROVIDE VALUE IN YOUR MARKETING
When you meet a prospective client for the first time you want them to have heard of you and what you offer. This is where your marketing efforts are crucial – get noticed and talked about for all the right reasons. The client will know about you and your company and you won't have to begin with the very basics.
10. BE PERSISTENT
The average complex sale takes five or more conversations to close. Do you lose interest easily because it's taking too long? Don't get discouraged because you have to jump through a few more hoops than first anticipated.
Strangely enough it often takes a long time to find a shorter way! Many salespeople spend years, not months, strengthening their pipelines and shortening the sales cycle.
If you can follow these 10 rules you'll be working more effectively, not harder, and the long sales cycle won't be as long as it used to be.
- http://www.raintoday.com/library/article Article by John Doerr.
- http://www.sellbetter.ca/how-to-shorten-your-sales-cycle/ Article by Tibor Shanto.
- https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/03/shorten-sales-cycle-gp.html Article by Tibor Shanto.