November 12, 2008

Win, Lose, or worse of all Stalled!

There was a time when the worst that could happen to a salesperson was
that he, or she would lose the sale. But, even more dreaded are those
sales cycles that are stalled.

A stage cycle gets to the stage where a salespeople needs closure.
That is a definitive yes, or no, that would enable him, or her to move
on. Instead it is a 'not now', 'we are still evaluating what to do',
or worst of all there is a deafening silence from the prospect.
For many sales people the stalled sales cycle is worse than the sales
that is lost.

Today's buying decisions are more complex – they involve more people,
information and stages. That means it is more difficult to predict
what deals will close and when. Once more in a time of great
caution, owing to the slowdown, gitters in the buying organization can
easily derail a sure thing sales deal.

A sales person and his/her team may have been working on a sale for
many months, getting all the right signals from the prospect and
increasingly confident that the deal will close. Then all is laid to
waste, with the moment of the buyer stalled and so often the
salesperson helpless on the sidelines to do anything about it.

There are a myriad of factors that can cause a sale to get stalled and
some are beyond the ability of the salesperson to control, or perhaps
even anticipate. However, it is important to say that the number one
reason for stalled decisions is a failure among the buying
organization to match the purchase with a key business imperative, for
example cutting costs, driving sales, etc.

The number two reason for stalled decisions relates to the sales
approach and in particular the sales person getting ahead of the buyer
assuming that he, or she is following. Hence the importance of;
gradually building, gauging and seeking commitment consistently
throughout the sales process, ongoing prequalification (in terms of
budget, timing, etc.) and working closely with the customer to
establish needs, implications and the ideal solution.

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