The goal of any sales process is to get to “yes.” But, if you take a long, meandering path to get there, you might not feel the full benefit of the additional revenues the sale generates. As such, you want to get to the endgame as quickly as possible. You want to speed up your sales process, so that “yes” arrives almost instantly.
That’s not always easy. Every sale has to go through a series of stages. You need to find potential customers, explain the value of your products and services, answer their questions, push through their reservations, agree to a price, and then finally close the deal.
Meanwhile, the bigger the deal, the longer the sales cycle. It can feel like you’re caught in a constant back-and-forth, with “yes” moving further and further away, even as you walk toward it, like a mirage in the desert.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are measures you can take to shorten any sales cycle. Here are nine tips to follow to speed up your sales process:
Clarify Your Sales Process
Relentlessly review your ordering procedures. Make sure there are no bottlenecks. If the process of ordering your products takes too much time or requires too much effort, you are going to lose clients.
As such, you want everything simple and easy. You can do this by empowering your sales staff to make certain decisions on their own, eliminating wasteful hierarchies for routine situations. You should also automate as much of the ordering process as possible.
Don’t Try to Maximize Every Deal
Negotiation takes time. To get the highest possible price for an order, you have to invest significant man-hours to make the deal.
Consider it as a simple matter of trading time for money. The investment might make sense from the perspective of the individual sale. However, committing all those resources to a single sale might not optimize your sales process generally. Time, after all, is a limited resource.
Take a broader view. For smaller orders, provide standardized pricing. Only get into negotiations for large-scale situations, where the added time investment makes sense.
Provide Clear Online Info
You want as much of the sale to happen as possible before you even talk to a client. Ideally, you would like your first conversation with a customer to start off with them saying some variation of the phrase “where do I sign?”
You can accomplish this, at least to some extent, by providing extensive information about your products online. The more research a customer can do on their own time, the less involved you or your staff will have to be in closing the sale.
Present extensive product descriptions online, including detailed specs. Offer comparisons to similar products, so customers can see the additional value you offer versus the competition. In addition, build out an FAQ section on your website, so common questions get answered without human involvement.
Leverage Social Media
To make sales move quickly, cut the time it takes to find clients and develop an initial relationship. You can do that just like you would accomplish a similar fast-track process in your personal life: by using social media.
Providing a meaningful marketing presence on social media allows you to plug directly into your customers’ daily lives. It allows them to find you easily and gives you the opportunity to engage in a meaningful way.
Provide an App
You can go beyond just providing relevant information online. That may make your life easier down the line, by making the eventual sale easier. But the process becomes even more low-impact on your end when everything happens automatically.
In other words, you want your clients to be able to skip you entirely. From your point of view, the fewer humans are involved in the process of making the sale, the more profitable the sale becomes. An app provides a powerful tool in automating the sales process.
Develop a Direct Line
Once you have a customer, you want them to come back again and again. Nothing goes more smoothly than a repeat order. As such, you want to streamline this process as much as possible.
You can do this by developing a direct link to your customers’ procurement systems. Consider developing a punchout catalog, which provides a streamlined way to connect with customers. At the very least, offer a direct connection to a sales rep, so that the process of ordering becomes extremely transparent.
Allow Scheduled Orders
Along the same lines, you can take steps to automate future orders. Your biggest clients will need delivery relatively often. Don’t make them go through a full sales process each time.
Instead, set up a system where they can schedule future deliveries and easily process repeat orders. This will speed the procedures for filling these re-ups, making them more profitable for you and providing a better customer service experience for them.
Develop Your Brand
Trust goes a long way in shortening the sales cycle. Your goal should be to cut most of the “get to know you phase” out of the process. After that, the rest becomes easy.
A strong brand does this work for you. Potential customers know you, even before you make direct contact. They have an idea of how you conduct your business and the quality of the products you offer.
A healthy brand, therefore, simplifies the process of making sales. You approach customers with an established reputation, removing the need to prove yourself to them before they will commit to a purchase.
Build Personal Relationships
Don’t think of relationships as happening between companies. In literal terms, these can’t happen. Relationships really only exist between people. If you want a closer connection with your customers, you need to get to know the people you are negotiating with on a personal level.
That might seem like the opposite of speeding up the sales cycle. After all, you have to invest the time to get to know them. But that investment pays off. Once you form those connections, they will speed up all your future discussions. Future interactions become much more easy-going and pleasant.
Author Bio: Samantha Wallace is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is the Content Advocate for Greenwingtechnology.com.