Shorten the Sell Cycle by Slowing Down the Selling Process

One of the things that most companies have in common is their desire to shorten the sales cycle. In pursuit of this goal, it’s easy to overlook the impact of rushing a call – which often leads to lengthening the sales cycle or losing the business.

Salespeople, on the way to second base (refer to the Baseline Selling web site for the requirements to be on second base –, begin to hear the first examples of what they believe are compelling reasons to buy, get excited, and skip the most important part of the sales call, rushing into a trial close. Well, the salespeople might be ready to close, but the prospect isn’t! Let me give you an example:

The prospect has told a salesperson that their faulty widget causes them to shut down for 3-4 hours at a time and each time they shut down it costs them millions of dollars. The salesperson, hearing this says, ‘if I could solve your problem…’ While the salesperson has A compelling reason, he may not have THE compelling reason but more importantly, the prospect is not yet at the point where he is thinking, ‘Yeah. This is THE expert. This is the person I want to help me.’

So the salesperson needs to SLOW DOWN, not rush to the close. The salesperson could learn so much more important information by asking additional questions like:

  • When you say millions, is that a few millions or tens of millions? ($10 million)
  • How long have you been losing millions? (6 months)
  • Who sold you this widget? (XYZ)
  • What happened when they came to replace it? (They wouldn’t replace it)
  • When do you absolutely, positively need it working properly? (yesterday)
  • Who else have you spoken to? (MNO and PDQ)
  • What did they say? (They weren’t interested in helping)
  • Who cares about this problem? (I do)
  • Why do you care so much? (It’s costing me $5,000 a week in personal bonuses)

So this has already cost you $120,000 – out of your own pocket – and you’re saying that the company has lost $200 million dollars over this and nobody has offered to help. Why is that?

If you add up the additional pieces we have collected, you can see that the salesperson has much more effectively quantified the cost of this problem, collected competitive intelligence, found the most compelling reason to buy, and stayed with it long enough for the prospect, after answering all of these questions, to conclude that the salesperson just might be the one.

So if you want your salespeople to shorten the selling cycle, slow them down on the way to second base!