The New One-Call Close

I am unaware of any sales organization or salesperson who believes they can execute a “one-call close” in a complex sale, though I do believe there must be a few. I don’t believe that I have ever witnessed a salesperson try to close a complex sale in a single call, although I would be keenly interested in observing someone give it a go.

What has replaced the “one-call close” is the “one-call and emailed pricing close,” something so close to the “one-call close” to be a distinction without a difference. Instead of asking for the business at the end of the first call with the prospective client, they email pricing and proposal, something acceptable in a genuinely transactional sale, but would surely not increase a preference to buy from you, what one might consider the principal outcome of a sales calls.

With all the metrics we use to understand and improve sales, we never look at something so simple as how much time it takes to win a complex deal. We look at the days it takes to get through our linear representation of the sales process, and when we are sophisticated, we look at days in stage, the amount of time in each phase. This is all well and good, but I wonder what it might look like to tally up the actual minutes spent with the prospective client and the many stakeholders involved in complex sales.

In my experience, it takes hours to win a client. I have won huge deals in 4 hours with the prospect, and I have won others in something closer to 8 hours spent with the primary contact and/or their team. The process may have taken a couple of months, but the time spent with the contacts can be measured in hours.

If you look at your calendar and add up all the time you spent with the prospect and their team face-to-face, on video meetings, or the phone in a deal you won, you can measure the time it takes, which might give you some idea about how much conversation needs to occur for you to win a complex sale. I would be surprised if you found you win deals in a single hour with your prospective client and even more astonished if emailing a proposal and pricing after that hour resulted in winning their business.

How many hours of conversation does it take for you to win a prospect’s business?

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