Hurry up and wait definitely drives Salespeople crazy. Every one of our sales training clients in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto suffer from it. Every Professional Salesperson has had the experience of rushing to submit a proposal to only wait for a final decision with the unmistakable sound of crickets in the background. Why do clients take so long to make a final decision? What can you do to speed up the process while trying to stay positive? Read on and find out.
Your buyer gives you last minute notice that he or she is willing to consider a proposal from you. This is great news and you drop everything to make it your top priority. Who wants to miss out on an opportunity to make a sale?
You pool your resources, strategize on the best solution and deliver a creative proposal that you’re proud of. Your buyer appreciates your effort and gives you some encouraging feedback. A final decision should be made within the next week you’re told, as a buying committee is viewing a few proposals from different suppliers.
You follow up on the agreed-to date to experience one of two things. Either your buyer doesn’t return your call or says that the buying committee hasn’t had the opportunity to view the proposals yet.
So, what do you do? Continue to follow-up as a diligent Salesperson. Once you’ve made a few calls like this, the frustration sets in and your mind starts to play tricks on you.
The Questions We Start to Ask Ourselves
Why are they taking so long to make a final decision?
Who else is getting the business?
What can I do to speed up the process?
What did I do wrong?
Have I lost my ability to close?
Add a few more sales opportunities that are pending in the same fashion and you have the makings of a mental meltdown. It happens to all of us regardless of our experience level. Sales success can be a rollercoaster ride full of highs, lows, and sharp curves. So, what can you do to stay on the right track?
Keep your head straight and stay positive. Success starts with what happens between your temples. If you haven’t read my recent post on Your Sales Perception is Revenue Reality, here it is. You simply cannot afford to have a negative attitude right now, so correct any signs of beginning to have one.
Be aware of what I call mental grouping. That’s the process of taking totally unrelated events and drawing lines of attachment to form a pyramid of pain. Your clients aren’t secretly conspiring together to drive you nuts. Don’t allow yourself to group events that have no relation other than they’re all happening to you at the same time.
Know that all Professional Salespeople get frustrated and go through dry spells with many pending sales opportunities. You haven’t lost your ability to sell. Your sales skills aren’t a set of misplaced car keys. You’ve worked hard to build your level of expertise. It will always be within you.
Understand that the priority that you have with your clients may not be the priority that they have for you. Yes, this may drive Salespeople crazy but there is often an understandable reason why they haven’t made their decision. Maybe the CEO arrived in town, one of the buying committee members went on vacation or a new urgent priority has become more important than your proposal.
Review Each Pending Sale and Look For a New Angle of Approach
Calling your buyer every few days to ask the same question is as monotonous to your client as it is to you. It’s also likely to get your buyer to tell you that they’ll call you when they hear something. Get creative. Send them an interesting article based on a previous conversation. Find new ways to stay in touch without focusing on your desire to get an answer.
At the start of your follow-up efforts, ask them if there’s anything you could do to make the decision process easier. Make some suggestions like offering to present the proposal to the buying committee to be able to answer any questions that might come up.
Get Active in Other Areas of the Sales Process
Activity is a great way to break any tendency of obsessing about your pending sales opportunities. By making prospecting and new business development a consistent activity you will have new potential opportunities to focus on. Many Salespeople place too much importance on a few pending proposals and get crazy when they don’t hear back from those clients. A healthy sales funnel of clients in different stages of their sales cycle always leads to record sales months, quarters and years.
Considering investing in training for skill development or get to some projects that are long overdue. Moving forward will give you positivity and a sense of accomplishment.
Smart Sales Managers always appreciate Salespeople who are proactive to ask for help. Look to a senior member of your Sales Team and ask them for their opinion. Respected colleagues and mentors are a great source of advice especially when they have experienced the same challenges. Asking for guidance is what strong Salespeople do because they’re not worried about how it makes them look.
Continue to Follow-up and Be Self-Disciplined
I once had a buyer tell me that he never met a Salesperson that was as committed to follow-up as me. That put a smile on my face and was a form of payment. It motivated me to continue to live up to that reputation.
Now, let’s be transparent here. Only you can judge when it’s time to move on. Many times, I’ve asked these questions of buyers:
Am I starting to be a pest?
Do you want me to continue to follow up with you?
Do you think your company’s needs and priorities have changed?
Is there something that is taking a higher priority?
Should we revisit this at a later date? If so, when?
If you were me, what would you do?
Persistence is admirable. Being pushy is not. Finding qualified buyers that have a sense of urgency to take action is what every Professional Salesperson craves. There are many of them out there. You just have to find them.
Help With What Else Drives Salespeople Crazy
While Hurry Up and Wait is frustrating, there are many things that can drive Salespeople crazy in the sales process. Here are the solutions to a few that we’ve written about before.
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Build Your Sales Skills
If you’re interested in taking the next step to increase your sales skills, check out the free trial of our online course The Sales Skills Incubator for $199 CAD including tax. We’re also in the final stages of producing our latest online sales training course, Negotiating 2 Party Payoffs. Every great Salesperson wants to learn the skills of being a great negotiator. If you wish to be notified when the course is being launched or future sales ensure that you are signed up to receive the PROSALESGUY BLOG by email. If you prefer reading, check out our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Amazon.
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Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY