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There are many sales problems and, lengthy sales cycles are one of them.
Many small obstacles can hinder your sales process and lengthen the sales cycle. Representatives usually realize at the closing that the process is increasing, but it’s at the beginning that we can see why.
The most critical steps of a sales process are at the beginning; however, that's when companies typically push for speed to get to a demonstration or presentation as quickly as possible. Ironically, this is why sales cycles lengthen and get out of control.
Here are 10 things that can shorten your sales process.
1. Talk to the Decision-Maker
The first step in speeding up your sales process is to speak directly with the decision-maker. They will know about the problems you can help solve and have the authority to make a decision and get the capital needed to address them.
2. Personalize and Adjust Your Sales Process
Most sales leaders think their sales process is optimized when in fact, it isn’t.
The sequence of steps is not optimal, and there is a lack of comprehension of the steps leading to the closing of a sale. Before sending your teams out into the field, it’s important to make sure they are equipped with the process that will enable them to optimize the length of the sales process.
3. Eliminate Unnecessary Bids, Demonstrations, and Presentations
An optimal sales process limits the time spent doing things that won’t increase the chances of closing a sale. Making bids, presentations, and demonstrations too early in the process don’t increase closings.
You need to put these steps off as much as possible, or even to eliminate them. Presentations and demonstrations make representatives think they control the sales process, when in fact, the opposite is true.
Also, just because a prospect asks for a presentation or bid doesn’t mean they automatically have a right to it.
4. Spend More Time Listening and Asking Questions
Representatives need to focus on asking more questions when they first meet with a potential client. When you ask questions, you have the opportunity to collect as much information as possible to move the sales process forward and not get on the wrong track.
Don’t forget that when you ask questions, you control the sales process. By taking your time at the beginning of the process, you collect all the cards you need to accelerate later. The important thing is to not cut corners.
5. Identify the Compelling Reasons to Buy
These reasons are specific to each decision-maker. They are dependent on their goals, the context, and the possible consequences of not taking action. Under no circumstances are compelling reasons dictated by sales arguments. On the contrary, they are often well buried in the buyer’s mind, and it’s the representative’s job to sound the buyer out and make them surface.
A compelling reason is an element that motivates prospects the most. So when you identify it, you are sure to move your sales process forward faster.
6. Create Urgency
Identifying a prospect’s compelling reasons creates a sense of urgency. Once again, sales arguments can't create urgency - only bringing the decision-maker to see the risk of not taking action creates it.
7. Position Yourself as a Trustworthy Advisor
To speed up your sales process, assume the role of advisor rather than that of a salesperson. The goal is for the potential client to see the representative as someone they can rely on during the whole process.
This ability allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
8. Validate What the Client Is Willing to Pay
Too often, representatives will make the mistake of asking the question “What is your budget?” Then, according to the number given by the client, they try to fit in as much as possible in their proposal.
You should opt for a “cost of the solution” related to the “cost of the problem” approach to see what the client can invest. It’s important to understand that to solve a costly problem, decision-makers can seek financing, even if it wasn’t originally part of their budget.
9. Be Memorable
It’s not enough to be different to make a strong and lasting impression. For your sales process to move forward, the more you set yourself apart from possible competitors and what potential clients can compare you with, the faster you’ll move forward.
10. Change How Fast Decisions Are Made
Prospects will always want to buy themselves time before making a decision, and this has a negative impact on the duration of your sales cycle. On the other hand, they want to solve their problems quickly. Therefore, instead of asking when the decision will be made, go with: “When do you want to solve your problem?”
When you try to speed up the sale at the beginning, you end up lengthening your sales cycle or even losing the sale.
Since salespeople and clients often use the wrong approach to work together, representatives today must develop their skills and abilities to change the current state of things. By giving their sales teams consultative sales processes, companies play a vital role in improving the seller-customer relationship.