There’s a truism that every sales professional knows all too well.
The longer the sales cycle, the bigger the risk.
When I worked for Tony Robbins, we were trained in the Law of Diminishing Intent… or what we called LODI.
Basically, the longer the sales process, the less likely the close.
When the process goes on for too long, salespeople usually lose to the most formidable competitor of all; the status quo.
The company they’re pitching decides to stay with things as they are, even though a new technology could provide amazing benefits.
Here are five mistakes you may be making that drag out the sales cycle, cost your employer millions, and deprive you of healthy commission checks.
You don’t really know who controls the budget.
Ever experienced the frustration of getting to the end of a sales cycle and realizing you were never talking to people in a position to release the budget?
You had incomplete, inaccurate or missing information, and it cost you in a big way.
The solution? Don’t rush to the fulfillment stage.
Instead, take time to do an effective budget check.
Thoroughly understand the budgeting process, the people who control the budget and how it gets released.
It all goes back to the principle of avoiding standing on your own foot by making sure you cover, in meticulous detail, every part of a sale. That includes who holds the dollars.
You don’t discover the criteria the buyer is using to make the decision.
Salespeople typically go rushing down the path, quickly submitting million-dollar proposals and losing the deal.
When they find out why they lost, it’s almost always a surprise to them.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re pitching new software to a major manufacturer. A key stipulation is that the software must be integrated into Europe someday.
Unfortunately, you lose out because somebody else had a better strategy for making that happen. (The thing is, the “Europe stipulation was never even raised.)
In a sales cycle, it’s critical to understand that different buyers use different sets of requirements.
Dig deep to unearth the criteria all parties are using to qualify or disqualify you.
You start calling too low in an organization.
There are lots of reasons why salespeople do this, including a lack of confidence.
Instead of calling on the CIO or supply chain VP, they start too low in the prospect company.
They invest time building a champion, then get hit with a deal breaker.
The proposal gets shot down handily when it gets to the decision-making executive.
The solution? Start calling high up the chain. Don’t worry that you’re aiming too high, it’s easier to be kicked down than it is to be kicked up.
You leave the sales call without clearly defined next steps to advance your progress.
You’ve left a sales call and there are good feelings all around, but the buyer hasn’t fully committed.
They say they’re going to take some time and process what they’ve heard, but time kills deals, even good ones.
Before you know it, your champion gets promoted, fired or jumps ship and you end up starting over.
There’s a technique designed to help you avoid this problem.
The Outcome Concept.
Ensure that everybody’s on the same page by setting a date and time for your next meeting with an agreed-upon agenda, list of participants and definition of what success would look like.
You have too many unanswered questions about a buyer’s willingness to make the appropriate investments.
Is the buyer willing to invest in risk by changing a supplier?
Are they willing to invest their time?
If they’re not the decision maker, are they willing to invest relationship capital to champion you to executive sponsors?
Are they willing to invest in key philosophies crucial to the success of implementation?
You need to thoroughly qualify every opportunity before going after it.
Don’t just hope that your contacts will be willing to invest in all the ways you need them to. Know for sure.
So that’s it. Those five. Take steps to fix those five mistakes, don’t succumb to FEAR, take action now, don’t procrastinate, have a level of certainty that goes through the roof, and watch your sales begin to TAKE OFF.
Thanks for reading… until next time…