There is a school of thought around sales that suggests you should do everything in your power to compress the sales cycle. The idea has merit in that it generates revenue sooner rather than later, something that benefits salespeople and their company. It also helps the client generate the better result they need sooner, and there is no benefit to pushing those results into the future.
But the idea of compressing the time by shortening the sales process is problematic. It provides the idea that all one needs to do is shorten the time they spend in each stage to move deals forward in time. The conflict here is that it isn’t the sales process that one should be most concerned with compressing. Instead, the speed in the process comes from helping the buyer do all the things they need to do to be able to move forward.
This is what is at the heart of The Lost Art of Closing, a book with a title that doesn’t accurately reflect the contents of the book. The way to move faster is to do a better job making sure your dream client makes all the commitments they need to make along that path.
There are generally ten commitments that include, 1) the commitment for time, 2) the commitment to explore, 3) the commitment to change, 4) the commitment to collaborate, 5) the commitment to build consensus, 6) the commitment to invest, 7) the commitment to review, 8) the commitment to resolve concern, and then, 9) the commitment to decide. The tenth commitment comes after the deal is sealed when the client and you both need to execute.
The way to speed things up isn’t to try to work through the stages of the sales process faster. Instead, you must help guide your dream client through all the things they need to do to be able to buy, most of which they may be wholly unaware. Speeding up your side causes the kind of problems that slow things down or cause you to lose. Helping the client, however, speeds things up.
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Filed under: Sales Acumen