Shorten Sales Cycle Time from Months to Days

sales plan humor

Please accept this simple tip provided by Verne Harnish’s articleFive Crucial Techniques for Doubling Revenue.  Other than price, nothing improves cash flow and revenue faster than reducing cycle time.

From my experience and research, seeing, hearing and sensing someone’s reaction dramatically increase your chances of closing a sale.  Decisions are made on an emotional basis.  Being there to witness the process is critical.  Additionally, your prospect will see your belief in the product you are selling.

You can miss vital clues when you send an email or other impersonal communication in lieu of having an important conversation.  However, it is important to send a detailed email after the conversation in order to confirm and memorialize the discussion.  The article excerpt follows:


Dr. Victoria Medvec, negotiations expert from Northwestern University and author of the series High Stakes Negotiation: Ten Steps for Maximizing Outcomes and Building Relationships shares how nothing improves cash flow and revenue more than reducing your sales cycle time. And an important technique to dramatically reducing it is to use synchronous communication throughout the sales process.

“This starts with NEVER presenting a sales proposal to a customer without being on the phone or in person with them,” notes Medvec

Emailing a proposal to a customer ahead of a meeting doesn’t give you the opportunity to react immediately to potential concerns and objections that might arise as they read through your proposal.

And the more time the customer has to ponder an objection and potentially pollute their colleagues with negative reactions (or spouse if it’s a business to consumer sale), the more difficult it will be to move the sales process forward.

In the world of texting and informal communication, this process can become more prevalent and accepted.  However, it can go too far when discussing important topics in the sales process such as price or a buying decision.

Even if the customer is adamant about receiving a proposal ahead of a physical meeting, suggest it will save them time if you can review the proposal over the phone and that you’ll email it to them a few minutes before a scheduled phone call. What you and your salespeople want is the opportunity to see, hear, or at least sense specific objections, as you review the proposal, so you can react immediately. And then you want to continue to utilize synchronous communication for the rest of the sales negotiation process.

“I’ve seen this single technique reduce sales cycles from months to weeks and even to days,” concludes Medvec.

Action: Ask your sales team to review the sales process for the last few lost deals.  Were there times they took the easy path where a conversation to review the proposal may have provided different results?

Additional action: Invite yourself to the proposal presentation process to see the process for yourself and to ensure it is being done.  A wise man once told me that “People respect what they expect you will inspect.”

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Published by Bill Flynn

Gazelles Member Advisor and early stage startup specialist with a proven track record with 16 Boston-based startups (9 to date with 5 successful outcomes, advisor to 7 others); SMB to Fortune 500 companies. 20+ years of Senior Sales, Marketing and GM experience in industries including mobile advertising, security, digital advertising, e-commerce and IT. Core Competencies: Player/Coach, Metrics-driven, Execution-based philosophy, Life-long learner

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