The Selling/Buying Dating Game: Tell-Tale Signs You Are Moving Too Fast

selling processI frequently talk to business leaders in companies large and small about their frustration with the selling process. Sales cycles are too long, deals are stuck in the pipeline, prospects aren’t responding to proposals – and the list goes on. Everyone is working really hard and all of the data is being captured in CRM.  Why isn’t anything closing? Trying to manage and forecast sales in that environment is very difficult.

There may not be a simple answer to why deals aren’t advancing and closing, but, in many cases, these tell-tale signs indicate that your sales process is out of sync with the prospect’s buying process. These issues are often a sign that your sales team is moving too fast. Sellers may simply be over-zealous or overly focused on themselves and their sales process, or your sales management process may be creating the problem by measuring and reinforcing the wrong behaviors. For whatever reason, when these processes are out of sync and you try to force results, you end up frustrated. You can work as hard as you want as a seller, but if you are out of alignment with where the buyer is in their process, you will not advance the deal. A couple of things you can do to help the situation:

  1. Spend time understanding how people and organizations buy (hint: the people side of things is well-documented, but each organization buys differently which takes continual effort to understand, especially if there are multiple buying influences) and then match your selling efforts to where the prospect is in their buying cycle.
  2. Don’t pass out proposals and quotes to prospects that aren’t spending quality time with you.  This will help focus your sales team on the right prospects and not waste time producing proposals that are never reviewed.  You want your sales team to spend time with prospects, building trust, and learning more about the organization and its buying process.
  3. As company leaders, don’t assess your sales pipeline on strictly quantitative measures.  Include qualitative components in your assessment that will add meaning to the numbers.
  4. Align your sales pipeline stages with the prospect’s buying behaviors – not the activities your salespeople perform.

Try these selling process tips and you will see deals start to move and managers will have a better ability to forecast. Plus, you will gain a measure of control and remove some of the frustration.