When I meet with company presidents, CEO’s and business owners, the most common frustrations I hear from them is “Our sales opportunities never seem to close ‘on time’ if they close at all!” or “Our sales pipeline is full but nothing seems to be closing!”
There are many reasons as to why sales organizations are experiencing these problems and among the biggest is that often they’re not using a defined, optimized sales process. Would you be surprised to learn that 91% of all companies don’t use a common sales process?
There’s more bad news–if you’re looking to shorten your team’s sales cycle, it’s not enough to have a defined sales process . You also need to have salespeople with the correct blend of skills and sales DNA to execute your sales process effectively.
Now for some good news–there is a method to determine whether your team has what it takes to bring sales through the door in a timely, cost-effective manner and it doesn’t involve guess work or using a crystal ball. By using the science behind the 26 questions we can answer for clients, it’s now possible know the strengths and weaknesses of any sales organization and whether they’re capable of shortening their sales cycle.
For a look at the ‘science’ and some great examples of why sales cycles are so long, go here and read the article by Dave Kurlan, CEO of Objective Management Group, at his award winning blog.
Does this situation sound familiar?
A salesperson is in a meeting with a customer, or potential customer, and they cannot stop talking. They talk about their product or service, their features and benefits, customers who are in love with their product or service, features, benefits…Well, you get the picture. And then they wonder why so many of their meetings never lead to the next step–"The prospect just didn't seem receptive to our stuff and I couldn't get them to open up and talk about what they're using or looking for!"
It's another illustration of an inverse rule of communication–if you want the customer to listen, stop talking!The ability to use 'silence' effectively in a sales meeting is one of the most under utilized skills in the sales world. The process of 'selling' is having the prospect believe what the professional salesperson believes–that the salesperson's solution is the optimal solution to solve the prospect's problem. Oftentimes, the prospect cannot form the new mental construct (or belief system) of beginning a new business relationship when they are listening to the salesperson present their product or service or features or benefits. They can only do it when there is silence. And that silence is staged and managed by the salesperson.
The ability to use 'silence' is an absolute must for success in sales. Warning! As you or your salespeople work on developing on this skill, it will be horribly uncomfortable. Too often we think we add the most value to the customer when we are talking. So we think we are not serving the customer when we aren't talking. Actually, it's just the opposite. The greatest value we provide is 'not talking'.