The higher the rate of speed at which a salesperson moves through the sales cycle, regardless of the reason, the greater the total negative effect on his or her overall performance in terms of closing ratios, customer satisfaction statistics, and future referral business. Because of this fact, it is vitally important to establish the slowest effective speed for each individual prospect. Determining the rate is quite simple really. Here is how to achieve it.
You must always qualify for the available amount of time, not once, but twice. Throughout my sales management career, I would constantly feel compelled to remind the salespeople who I was managing that they needed to qualify for ‘sufficient available time’ just as much as they needed to qualify for needs, wants and budget, etc. Without the knowledge of how much time the customer can make available, the salesperson is truly flying blind throughout the entire selling process.
It seems to me that, left to their own devices, most salespeople would omit this critical question on a regular basis, focusing instead on trying to land on a product or service quickly so that they could begin to ‘sell’. This strategy can easily backfire and regularly does. As a salesperson, you will know how long it will take to present your offerings properly in order to expose all the value building features, advantages, and benefits. If sufficient time is lacking, you will find yourself shortcutting your presentations.
If you do qualify for “sufficient available time” early in the process, you will be comfortably in control of the entire sales cycle. If you do not, control shifts completely to the prospect. If time is tight, focus on quality qualifying as to the needs, wants, and problems of the prospect.
Do a very thorough qualification exercise in order to select the best possible product or service option for the customer. Then re-qualify for the available time so that you can be certain that you will be able to present all the benefits and put your deal together.
If available time is too limited, shift your selling effort to obtaining a firm appointment at a future date and time. This strategy will usually result in higher closing ratios, higher gross profits, higher levels of customer satisfaction, more repeat business, and a flood of referrals.
You will be recognized as a master who truly works in the customer’s best interests. Give it a try and see your successes and your income soar.
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