3 Tips to Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Creating and sticking to a solid sales cycle is critical to expanding your client base. Staying on top of all of your leads and existing clients can be difficult. Not keeping up with the steps in your sales cycle can end with losing leads and the interest of current clients. This might seem straightforward enough, but often times it’s easy to stray or lose your drive to the bigger end goal. Here are three things to always keep in mind to help you stay focused and shorten your sales cycle.

Don’t Skip Steps

Sometimes it may feel as though you’ve developed a good relationship with certain leads and it may seem more efficient to skip an “unnecessary” step in the sales cycle to get closer to securing a lead. As Doug Davidoff from The Fast Growth Blog put it, “After witnessing thousands of sales calls, and advising clients on thousands more, I can confidently say that the number one reason that customers/prospects fail to make timely decisions is because the salesperson skips steps in the process.” Hitting each step might seem tedious but each step is another opportunity to learn more about the prospect and the roadblocks they are facing.

  • Each step in the sales cycle is crucial to your relationship with clients. Each steps betters your understanding of their needs and problems and helps you recognize the best way to help them. A good sales rep is a good speaker, a great sales rep is a good listener, and a rock-star sales rep is a good questioner.
  • Ask questions that force your prospects to think about the cost of their roadblocks and the need to change. It will help you to better align your message and value proposition with your prospects’ needs. It will allow your prospects to understand the value of your product/offering and realize how the value is worth paying for.
  • The last few steps in the sales cycle are what a lot of sales reps struggle with. Following up with clients can sometimes seem like a waste of time, but making sure you nurture your relationship with clients helps you tap into their lifetime value as a customer as well as possibly attract new clients through word of mouth.
  • By not skipping steps you can stay on task and drive toward securing a lead. In its own way, you’ll be able to shorten your sales cycle by understanding the process that’s best for you when selling.

Secure the Next Step

In an ideal world, securing the next step should come easy if you’ve done the work right. Identify the roadblock and show your prospects the solution. But too often, even great sales reps find themselves falling into the trap of “follow-up hell.” This is the never ending stage when a seemingly “good” client is “in the process of making a final decision.” So how do you secure the next step?

  • Be clear when moving on to the next step with a prospect. At the end of meetings or other forms of contact, be assertive. Plan your next step. Leave the meeting or end the conversation with a new date, time, and/or location to speak again. Decisiveness saves you time and future confusion. As advised by Jeremy Ulmer from Coach with Jeremy, “At the end of each meeting, you should be setting up the next meeting and next actions. Explain the next steps you both will need to take to start working together. Map it out for them and provide them with a simple document that explains the next steps with clear timelines. Ask them to commit to the next steps along the way. Guess what happens if you do this effectively? You don’t need to “close” or persuade, the sale will be made, faster, naturally, and more effectively.”
  • By being straightforward and decisive, you’re potentially saving yourself from having to schedule an unnecessary meeting, which is a factor that’s within your control to shorten your sales cycle.
  • Give your prospects an option to say “No.” Giving your prospects this option takes off a lot of pressure. This also allows your to be assertive while not seeming too aggressive. This also helps you quickly identify which prospects to keep and those to let go, once they come forward with an answer.

Come with the Right Tools

The outcome of your sales cycle is as good as the effort that you put in, so come to the game equipped with the right tools. Integrating your work with software such as CRMs may seem like a lot of work, but ultimately, these will help you stay organized and on top of your game. You’ll be better able to keep track of what needs to be done and what tasks or prospects may require more of your attention. Aside from virtual tools, sales coaching can also be greatly beneficial to your sales game.

  • CRMs and services that software such as Badger Maps provides access to real time information; Having this information as well as archived communications with your contacts on demand will help you to make better decisions in the field.
  • If done right, field sales coaching is a powerful tool for both sales reps and sales managers that improves the sales process and helps shorten your sales cycle. As Tom Riley from CED Mag would say, “Even Tiger Woods works with a golf coach. Are you or your salespeople better at their jobs than Tiger is at golf? You cannot coach from the locker room. You must be in the field with your reps to provide them with accurate and meaningful direct feedback. How many professional sports team coaches sit in the locker room during a game and wait to give feedback until after the game? They understand the importance of being on the field with the team.”

When you feel as though you’re losing your way with prospects, clients, or your sales cycle, try remembering these three key points when moving forward with future sales.

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