In business, time is literally money. The longer it takes your company to close a sale, the more money you lose. On the flipside, the less time it takes, the more you make. That’s why it’s essential to target efficiencies that’ll make your sales cycle as short as possible. However, you’re not the only business to have this thought. This is an extremely common problem among businesses, and it’s not an easy one to solve.
As you approach this issue, recognize first that it’s not the customers who let the sales cycles drag on, but the salespeople. It won’t take long for a customer to decide to buy a product or not if the sales team does their job correctly.
In addition, once the customer decides that they want to purchase a product, it’s the salesperson’s responsibility to see the process through the end. The longer it takes to hold up your end of the deal, the more money the company will lose.
When it comes time to root out the problem with your sales cycle and to take definitive action to fix it, there are some considerations to make. Here are some tried and true ways that you can shorten your sales cycle and see better returns.
1. Present a Clear Proposition
The first rule of salesmanship is that you must make the customer see the value of the proposition that you’re making. “A value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered. It’s the primary reason a prospect should buy from you,” says Peep Laja of Conversion XL, an optimization company.
Laja points out that your value proposition must be the very first thing that a customer sees. Otherwise, he or she won’t be interested in learning more about the product or service. In addition, it must be something with which actual people can relate.
“Value proposition is something real humans are supposed to understand,” Laja continues. “Your value proposition needs to be in the language of the customer. It should join the conversation that is already going on in the customer’s mind.” Speaking to the customer in terms that they can appreciate and value is the surest way to close a deal quickly.
2. Utilize CPQ Software
Presenting the price is ultimately one of the most valuable aspects of your sales process, but it can often be time consuming. In addition, when consumers are given a price that they feel is unreasonable without clear logic behind it, it can encourage them to shut the door on the sale.
Using Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software is one of the best ways to present a price that customers can get behind as well as to speed up the sales process. CPQ software can not only give you a quick quote for products or services rendered, but it can also show the logic behind the price, revealing the accuracy of the quoted price.
As a general rule of sales, lower priced items will sell quicker, but when a high-priced item is presented in a credible fashion that accompanies a clear value proposition, consumers will look past the price and consider the ultimate value of the sale.
3. Get the Right People Involved
Some people have made up their minds to avoid salespeople. Others aren’t in a position to purchase your product, no matter how convincing you are. When you come across these consumers, don’t waste your time and efforts. If you do manage to sell something, it’ll likely take more time and effort than the sale is worth.
“When your customers are ready to buy, they will tell you,” says an article from ChangingMinds.org. “Sometimes they will immediately place the order, but mostly, they will tell you by subtle signals in their verbal and body language, along with specific things they say and do.” When you’re closely observing the actions and language of your customer, you’ll see who’s interested in purchasing and who’s already made up his or her mind to say no.
4. Speed up the Proposal Process
Writing good proposals is often the key to closing a quick sale in business-to-business settings. Speed is always an important aspect of writing your proposal, but the stakes are raised when you receive a request for proposal (RFP). At that point, it becomes essential to deliver a speedy response to improve your chances of getting the sale.
“There’s more of an advantage to a speedy response time with your RFP than many people realize,” says a blog post from iQuoteXpress. “It’s like getting a 10-second head start in a race. It may not be much, but it could mean the difference between your proposal being accepted and it being thrown out. Having your proposal take the first place in the queue ensures that the requester will read yours with a fresh set of eyes without comparing its weaknesses to other proposals. It’s the advantage that you may need in order to be chosen.”
When you don’t use the right tools, the entire process of writing your proposal, being chosen above other proposals, negotiating terms, and closing a sale can take a month or more. That time frame is simply unacceptable, particularly when you can use CPQ software and other tools to speed up the proposal process. This gives you accurate quotes at the blink of an eye, ensures that your proposal drafts are never lost, and stores everything securely on the cloud.
5. Address Objections at the Beginning
Too many sales people believe that the objections should be left out of the sales pitch, and that only the benefits should be discussed. But this could be the reason why their sales haven’t been very successful. Addressing objections can significantly shorten the sales cycle, particularly if they’re mentioned early on.
The effectiveness of including objections can be illustrated in terms of writing techniques. When someone focuses only on the positive aspects of a topic, that’s known as the straw man fallacy. Essentially, this means that your argument is too fluffy and weak to stand up against the opposition. When someone presents an objection to the argument – and they always will – yours won’t be able to hold its ground.
Bringing objections into the sale early on is like building up an “iron-clad” argument. You can approach the objections head on, and then explain with the positive highlights of the sale why that objection is irrelevant or unfounded. Iron beats straw any day, after all, and the fight will be over much quicker if the objections are covered from the very beginning.
Speed Up the Sales Cycle with a Free CPQ Software Demo from iQuoteXpress
When you’re ready to cut time without cutting corners in the sales process, CPQ software is an essential investment. At iQuoteXpress, we offer a free, no-obligation demo of our online CPQ software. Try it for free today!