Shortening a sales cycle would be manna from heaven for most salespeople. These are some of the complaints I hear from salespeople on this subject.
- I left the sales call with the feeling that I had the deal but I never heard back from the prospect
- They said they would have the P.O. within a week. Now they don’t return my calls
- I thought the deal was done but now they’re looking at other options.
This is when the nausea sets in because these “deals” are worth money. We’ve all lost sales and for a variety of reasons but I’m convinced that one of the top two reasons is that salespeople leave the prospect’s office without a clear next step. When we hear phrases like “the deal is yours” or “I don’t see any reason why we won’t go ahead” we think that the deal is in the bag. They are not in the bag unless you have a signed contract.
If you don’t walk out with an order in hand then assume Murphy’s Law is in play. These are the things that can go wrong:
- You didn’t see all the right decision makers
- Your competition came back with a last minute mind bender of a proposal
- You really didn’t find sufficient enough reasons for them to buy
- You assumed too much
- There is no clear next step
- The money really is not there
On and on they go. There is one no nonsense way to get to the bottom of this quagmire and I learned it while training sales people in the Sandler System. When you’re at that point during the sale where you think you have the deal but part of your brain isn’t buying into that then ask this question. “Bob, let’s review where we’re at.” After you’ve done that then ask, “On a scale of 1-10 where 1 means we don’t have a deal and 10 means you’re going to write up the order where are we?”
If you hear anything from 5-8 you have a lot of work to do. If you here 9 then there might be a sticking point. If you hear 10 then the deal is yours. If you hear anything less than 10 then you have more work to do and questions to ask. If you don’t ask the questions to identify the issues then you’re toast.
Does this always work? Not if you have a really devious prospect but I’d say that it works 80% of the time.
The Final Thought: “Don’t let your ego write checks that your body can’t cash.” Unknown