CxO at mid-month: “We need to close three more sales this month. We only have two deals with estimated close by month’s end, but we have seven slated to close by end of next month. How can we move a couple of these forward this month?”
Sales Director: “Let me see what I can do.”
Every day, sales teams face the conundrum of balancing consultative sales practices with the pressure to produce immediate results. It goes with the territory, and for many of us, is one of the challenges we love, and at the same time, utterly dislike, about this profession.
As Director of Sales for ConverSight.ai,one of my primary objectives is finding ways to shorten the sales cycle, helping prospects identify a use case and making the “buying process” a partnership. It’s a pain-staking, yet rewarding, process that involves a lot of trial and error, honing the value proposition and finding those pain points that resonate with decision makers.
In many cases, our main objective is helping the prospect solve a problem they don’t even know they have. While most business owners are reading about all the valuable data they have at their fingertips, few have much time to think about all the benefits were it readily available.
Here are some things that are working in our daily efforts:
During discovery calls, have one or two deep-thinking questions at the ready. These are the kinds of questions the prospect hasn’t anticipated – those that make him or her pause and think. Usually these spur great discussions and get them considering new opportunities. I usually find the material for these questions while researching the company, reading articles about it, etc.
In the midst of these discussions, ask several “what if” or “how would” questions. “What if you could do this?” or “How would you improve efficiency if…?” If your prospect is leaving the discussion feeling enlightened and energized, you’re providing value far beyond the scope of your product.
Which leads to getting buy-in early in the process. This doesn’t mean the sale is closed, but if you’re building the relationship and providing value beyond the “sales process,” you’re building a partnership – the key to a long relationship with a potential client.
Most of us have a tremendous belief in what we’re pitching. For those who don’t, there are lots of other opportunities if one has any potential at all. But making the customer see the value of a partnership goes far beyond the product’s features. It means having you available to them as a consultant, sounding board, or anything else they may need.
A value proposition is only valuable when a prospect positions it in his or her own terms. Until then, its only value is to the sales team. In the end, finding a way to make that connection is the key to tightening the sales cycle.