So what if half the year is over? You still have half a year left to make your sales goals if you are off track. It’s time to do something different if what you are doing isn’t working for you. Why not start by making different decisions about your selling?
Who am I calling on?
Look at your sales cycle. Which prospects are closest to buying? They are the ones where your product evaluation is successfully completed if you needed one. It’s where you are furthest along in obtaining approvals from purchasing, engineering, or other departments who will influence the buying decision.
You must have the approvals already taken care of when you expect to close business and sign a contract. Your job now is to look at your existing prospects and refocus on the ones who are farthest along the approval process. These are the businesses most likely to close this year because they are closest to the sales finish line. You are wasting valuable time when you choose to focus on those prospects less likely to close this year.
Too many salespeople don’t place enough emphasis on persuasion. It’s like they think the sale will magically happen when a customer realizes he has to buy from you. That’s not how it works. Yes, there is a sales process where you engage your customer in a conversation where he understands that he has a business problem, need or want. He then understands that to address that problem, need or want he must buy from you.
At that point, the salesperson needs to say the magic words. They are “Mr. Customer, it sounds as if we have a reason to do business together. When do you want to start working together?” That’s what asking for the business sounds like. You must get serious and ask for the business if you haven’t done this already. You probably haven’t asked this question if your business hasn’t closed yet and you and your prospect both know that there is a need that you can address with a product to sell.
There comes a time when a deal that should close and doesn’t needs another pair of eyes on the situation. I once worked with a manager who was a very talented sales professional. I brought him into a tough to sell account that I had been working on for the year. I introduced him to my difficult to close customer and my manager took the lead in the sales call. Even with his most persuasive strategies, he was unable to close a deal that should have closed. When we left the sales call, I learned something valuable.
I asked my manager what he thought and why the deal wasn’t closing. He said, “That’s easy. That guy is a jerk. It’s time to move on.” I was now able to save the time I would have wasted for the rest of that year trying to sell this account. It probably would have been a deal that would have never closed. He helped me see that and I moved on to other prospects.
You have enough time now to make some adjustments to your selling. Yes, almost seven months have passed. You don’t want to say, “Would have liked to know that” at the end of November.