The End of the Sales Cycle is Too Late

alt text for image of expired parking meterYour sales process is more than likely built around some of the iron and unbreakable laws of sales. One of those laws is that you diagnose before you present. Why then do salespeople go into presentations without having what they need to present well, and worse still, without a strategy that ensures they win?

The end of the sales cycle (and the end of the buying cycle) is not the time to start trying to piece together what you need to put an effective, deal winning strategy in place.

Here are four precedents necessary to a deal that you should never, ever wait to collect. The earlier you collect them, the better. The longer you wait, the lower your possibility of winning the deal.

Dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction is the condition-precedent to a deal. The earlier you capture the dissatisfaction, the easier it is to build your conversations around a deepened understanding of that dissatisfaction and the implications of allowing it to continue.

You also need to work to understand the impact on the organization as a whole, and that requires access to information and access to stakeholders. You are diagnosing the organization as a whole, not the presenting problem as described by your first contact.

The boardroom on presentation day is neither time nor the place to capture this critical component of your deal.

Access to the Buying Committee Members

Collecting the votes necessary to win is not done at the boardroom table on presentation day either. The last thing you want to do when you walk into the boardroom is introduce yourself to a bunch of strangers who have been brought together to sit through five presentations, many of which will be indistinguishable.

The earlier you discover who the buying committee members are, the earlier you can work to understand their individual needs, their visions, and their preferences. You want to collect the votes of buying committee members before you ever present your solution. You want an unfair advantage and a rigged vote.

You don’t want to try to win the votes of the people on the buying committee during your presentation—or after.

Access to the Stakeholders

There are many people within your dream client who have no authority and massive influence. These are the stakeholders who will be impacted by a decision to choose your firm or, heaven forefend, one of your competitors.

The stakeholders, if approached sincerely for their input, can do more to shape your solution than almost anyone else. They have more information and more details than your “decision-maker” who doesn’t deal with the day-to-day, nitty-gritty details.

If you treat the stakeholders well, you will have recruited the most powerful surrogate sales force on the planet; they will speak glowingly about you in the real sales calls that occur after you have left their facility. Treat them especially well, give them all of the respect that they deserve, and they will make sure your solution is implemented and executed to achieve the results you sold.

You will have missed this opportunity if you try to collect these relationships at the end of the sales cycle.

Access to Information

In order to put together a winning strategy, you need access to information. It doesn’t make sense to try to collect the information you need after you have presented; but, alas, many still try.

Much of the reason that salespeople go without the information is because they don’t want to obtain and manage the commitments; it is making work for your dream client. But without the information you need to meet your dream client’s specific needs and vision, your presentation will likely be a homogenized regurgitation of the prior four presentations.

You will always be learning and discovering useful facts and ideas throughout the sales process, but you know what you need to know to win. Make sure you get that information as early in the process as possible.

All of these are prerequisites to a deal, and collecting them early on will allow you to compress your sales cycle and massively increase your odds of winning.

Conclusion

Deals should not be won at the presentation stage. Deals should be won before you ever present your solution. In order to win deals, you cannot collect the prerequisites to a deal late in the sales cycle.

Questions

  1. What do you need to win a deal? How do you ensure that you have collected everything you need to build a winning deal strategy?

  2. Who do you need to win a deal? How do you go about gaining access to those individuals early enough in the sales process to create a real advantage by having done so?

  3. How do you create an unfair advantage going into the final stages of a deal, if you are competing with others? What can you do to stack the deck in your favor?

  4. How do you avoid having to acquire the things you need to win a deal too late in the sales cycle?


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