May 232012

Sales Cycle: How to Shorten the Sales Cycle and Get to YES Faster  

Sales Cycle:  By Alice Kemper Co-Founder of Sharpenz , Via Sales Gravy

Sales Cycle: The pipeline is filled, yet you aren’t closing as many sales as you’d like.  The prospects in the pipeline are agreeable to taking your calls, and accepting meetings only you’re still not advancing the sale to a close.  Your sales manager is questioning you and now you’re beginning to wonder yourself, will these ever close?

You may even be considering lowering your price to hopefully get the deal.  Please don’t do that, it’s the kiss of death.  So how can you shorten the sales cycle without losing sight of selling value or jeopardize speed over the buying process?

(Get one of Alice’s free Sharpenz training kits here) 

You can shorten the sales cycle if you follow these tips:

Prepare.  No more winging it.  Don’t even think about picking up the phone to call or arrive for an on-site meeting without preparing.  No matter how seasoned you are.  If you aren’t preparing you aren’t selling to your full potential.

 Prepare by answering these questions:

1. What is the objective of this meeting?

2. What do I know?  What do I need to know?  How am I going to ask for this information?  (Yes, prepare the questions in advance.)

3. What obstacles may arise in this meeting?  How will I respond?  Again- prepare how to respond before it even happens – or better yet, weave the solution to the obstacles into your questions and/or presentation.

4. When the meeting is over, what would success look like?  You have the vision now, prepare what you ask and say to make that happen.

5. How are you going to close the meeting with consensus – even if it’s to agree to disagree, plus everyone’s next steps?

Follow a sales process. There is a method to the madness of sales.  It’s similar to deciding you want to drive to California from Maryland.  You could hop in the car and go (and that could be an adventurous experience) and take more days, additional gas and experience less beautiful scenery because you didn’t map it out.  The value of process is it’s predictable and repeatable.  Following a sales process is your roadmap to produce the outcome you desire efficiently and effectively.  You’ll be amazed how much time you gain for more prospecting when you follow a sales process that is collaborative and focused on them and not you.  Remember, you are not the star of this show.

But what about today and all of the prospects in the pipeline, what can you do to advance these sales and shorten the already too long buying process?

Slow down the selling process to speed up the buying process.  It’s time for you to regroup.  Slow down and don’t pick up the phone or arrive for a meeting until you have completed this Prospect Evaluation Checklist.  Then prepare.  You may have thought you were in the closing sequence, yet they aren’t buying.  You’ve missed something in one of the sales steps.  Go back, rethink and re-approach.  Complete each step, no skipping this time and watch the sales conversations produce more information and more deals.

Prospect Evaluation Checklist

1. What do I know? What do I still need to know?

2. What is their explicit need, want, challenge, desire?

3. What is their buying process?  Who is involved? What step in the process am I currently in?  Have I thoroughly completed all of the steps to here?  If not, go back.  If so, move forward.

4. What’s their role in the decision making process?  What can you do to get exposure to everyone in the decision making process?

5. Do they have the budget?  If not, can they get it?

6. Who have my meetings been all about – them or me?

7. Have I been approaching this collaboratively and as a strategic business partner or more like just another vendor?

8. What is the personality and preferred communication style of each person I’ve been presenting to?  Have I been communicating to them in their language?

9. Have we discussed the risks and rewards to moving forward or is that the elephant in the room?

10. If I had it to do over, what would I have done differently?  How can I use that information as I move forward?

Most recently, an international advertising agency and a kitchen cabinetry company have both reduced the sales cycle and closed more deals by following these tips.  They’re even experiencing 24-hour affirmative decisions in some instances where that’s never happened before. Their conversions are up, the number of visits to close the deal is down, the customers are happier – and everyone is the winner.  You too can shorten your sales cycle with powerful preparation and incorporating a sales process to join the ranks of top performers.


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

sales cycle, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC