The shrinking selling cycle – a guest post by Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter”

The sales cycle is decreasing - the buying cycle is taking over

We have asked one of our colleagues, Mark Hunter – who many of you know as The Sales Hunter – to share a post on the blog. Take a read of Mark’s discussion on how the selling cycle and buying cycle are changing …

Salespeople love to tell me how in today’s environment they can’t get customers to make a decision. They go on to say that the selling cycle – the time it takes to close a sale – is longer than ever.

I beg to differ. Yes, for some the sales cycle is getting longer, but overall I see the sales cycle getting shorter.

The reason I see the sales cycle getting shorter is the customer is increasingly using the internet to gain more information on their own time and at their own pace. This is information that used to come from a salesperson.

Up until just a few years ago, if a customer was even vaguely interested in buying, they would have to meet with a salesperson.  What this meant for many salespeople is their time would be spent with far more suspects than prospects.

Today the customer is far more informed. They’ve done at least some preliminary research to the point that when they do engage with the salesperson, they are already beyond the “deer in the headlights” position many prospects used to find themselves in.

All of this is requiring change on the part of the salesperson.

First of all, we need to be eliminating the stupid “capabilities presentation” that the marketing department loved to prepare and insisted every salesperson use on the first call.  It’s time to get serious. The internet is taking care of this for us, so there’s no sense in wasting our time or the customer’s time.

Second change we have to make is in validating the customer’s decision-making process faster.  This means we need to be asking on the first call the questions that many times in the past we might have asked on the second call.  We need to ask direct questions about when they intend to buy, and we move faster to discovering their real need.

Most important of all is we need to find out quickly what their level of knowledge is and how much research they’ve already done.  Failure to do this will only cause you to make huge mistakes that can and will result in lost sales.

The selling cycle is decreasing and the buying cycle is taking over.  The sooner we modify our sales approach to fit the way customers are buying today the better off we’ll be in closing sales.

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Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability.  For more information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on www.Facebook.com/TheSalesHunter, www.Twitter.com/TheSalesHunter and www.LinkedIn.com/in/MarkHunter.

Reprinting of this article is welcomed as long as the following is included: 
Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” www.TheSalesHunter.com, © 2011

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