3 Solution Selling Levers to Speed Up Your Sales Cycle

by Mar 24, 2016Solution Selling0 comments

Speed Up Your Sales Cycle
We define the beginning of the sales cycle when you make initial contact with a target prospect and the end when the prospect makes a buying decision – hopefully in your favor.  The key is defining how to speed up your sales cycle in a way that makes sense for you and your customers.

Unfortunately Average Sales Cycles Are Increasing
For those of us who make our living selling solutions that are complex, long-term and high-end, the sales cycle can be lengthy. Unfortunately, almost half of our clients are reporting that the average sales cycle is increasing. The question is whether or not your sales cycles need to follow suit.

The Benefits to Speed Up Your Sales Cycle
Ask any salesperson what they would give to speed up the process and the answers will be multiple versions of “a lot.” If only you could accelerate the time from first contact to closing the deal, just think how many more solutions you could sell, how many more happy customers you could claim, and how much more revenue would be next to your name on the monthly sales tally while exhausting less resources along the way.

3 Solution Selling Levers to Pull
We have worked with many clients over the last twenty years who want to sharpen their business sales skills. They complain about how long it takes for sales to close and how many more stakeholders are involved in the buying process. What we have found is that there are three solution selling levers you can pull…and they work whether you are simply selling a product to a consumer or a complex solution to a multi-level organization.

1. Smooth the Road Bumps
Every sale has obstacles to overcome. Do your customers usually balk at the price? Are they worried about breakdowns? Do they have to get approval from above? Are they afraid of taking a risk? Are they confused about the value? Is your value proposition unclear? Whatever the reason for the slowdown, it is up to you to remove the barriers before they even occur. You know your industry and you know your customers. If price gets in the way, focus on selling value. If quality or results are a concern, offer guarantees and have client case studies and references at the ready. If the buying decision will involve others, bring them in early.

2. Stay in Charge of the Timing
Don’t let your customer put you off indefinitely during the sales process. How many times have we heard, “I like it. Let me get back to you.” Or “could you send me some materials to review?” Some salespeople are all too eager to hear this as a commitment to buy or engage further. It’s not. Ask for specific next steps like a follow-on phone call. Secure a date within the week on your calendar. If they are serious buyers who value what you have to offer, you have a chance to check in and see what the delay is all about. If they are not serious, you can exit politely and know that your time will be more productively spent with another target client who is more likely to appreciate the value you bring to the table.

3. Paint the “What If” Scenario.
Remember what you learned in solution selling training? You can help move a potential buyer along the buying decision curve by painting the picture of what would happen if they don’t effectively solve the business problem that faces them.

As an example, let’s say they want to improve turnover rates and your solution involves a combination of an employee engagement survey, targeted leadership training for managers, performance coaching, and measurement of effectiveness in terms of behavior change. The overall cost is higher than their allotted budget. But you need to put some realistic numbers to the pain of not remedying the situation. How much is the cost of losing top talent? How is productivity affected by disengaged employees? Put a dollar amount on it and you have a powerful argument for moving forward. Show them the cost of doing nothing.

The Bottom Line
These sales performance improvement steps may require some extra research, enhanced discipline, and a few more plays added to your sales playbook. But try them and see just how the snail-slow pace of sales speeds up.

To learn more about how to speed up your sales cycle, download our free sales toolkit now to get 10 important sales tools for sales leaders.

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