The Biggest False Assumption in Sales

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					A discussion was recently started at SalesPractice.com titled, "How to
shorten the sales cycle". The original question asked what you could do
that is in your control to shorten the Sales Cycle (Length of time from
Initial Contact to Close). Since the Buying Cycle (The phases a person
progresses through when making decisions aka Decision Process) directly
affects the sales cycle the discussion had at least two avenues to
travel... Buying Cycle and/or Sales Cycle.
"For sake of discussion let's say that......the prospect trusts you,
respects you and values the relationship....you are working with a
prospect who has the authority, budget, want and need for your product or
service....the prospect feels you have the most compelling value
proposition....both you and the prospect understand how your solution
will help him/her reach his/her desired outcome....the prospect has not
voiced an objection....the prospect has not yet decided to move forward
with the sale.Given those assumptions what can you do that is in your
control to shorten the sales cycle?"
One of the first participants to respond, Ace Coldiron, made the
following observation:"All of those things may be true. However, what is
also apparent is that currently the prospect is working around all of
that and will probably continue to do so until all the things behind the
scene-not apparent to the seller- are in place or resolved TO THE POINT
where a purchase can be made.The salesperson cannot control those things.
However it is possible to get through the door and lead them in
management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to
take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the
buying cycle.Unfortunately most salespeople would be predisposed to stay
on the selling end thinking they could speed the process in that way. But
the fact is they won't speed the process."Ace's response delved into the
deeper and often unfamiliar waters of the buying cycle namely Buying
Facilitation™ ("...get through the door and lead them in management of
the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to take place in
order to buy.") which Sales (sales process) does not navigate. Many sales
trainers use terms such as decision process, sales cycle, buying
decision, etc. and mistakenly believe they are navigating the same waters
that Ace mentioned but in reality they never left the waters of sales and
you can't get here (Buying Facilitation™) from there (Sales Process).To
be clear... the systematic application of effective sales processes is
not being dismissed but instead being revealed as only part of the
equation. Given the sales arena and selling situation, sales process and
execution can only take you so far because at any given point in time
only so many prospects are ready to buy. Of course, the more effective
the process and execution the farther your reach outside of the immediate
buyers zone however you are still confined to the inherent limitations of
sales process which leaves a disturbing amount of potential business on
the table.Participation in this thread was fantastic and many suggestions
were put forth but it became quickly apparent that there were two avenues
to shortening the sales cycle being discussed in the thread.1. How to
shorten the sales cycle via sales process.2. How to shorten the sales
cycle via shortening the buying cycle.How to shorten the sales cycle via
sales process.The majority of suggestions (ask for the sale, ask about
the holdup, quantify the cost of inaction, sell the sizzle, associate
prospects motivation with product/service, improve discovery and
qualification, flush out the objection, confirming information, be more
diligent, evaluate pain factor, credibility, re-establish timeline, get
the prospect emotionally involved, etc.) in this thread fall into the
category of sales process.These suggestions ALL hold potential, when
applicable, for affecting movement within the sales cycle ASSUMING that
the prospective buyer has "recognized and managed all of their own
internal systemic issues that need to take place before they'll make a
purchasing decision" (which is part and parcel of their "Buying Cycle")
yet are rendered ineffective in situations where the assumption is not
true.For whatever reasons and with few exceptions sales training,
education and/or discussions operate from the premise that the
prospective buyer has in fact recognized and managed those internal
issues. That one (1) false assumption is responsible for an almost
unbelievable volume of lost revenue and protracted sales cycles.Sales
people don't typically see/look for it and sales process doesn't manage
it so what happens? Prospective buyers go away and try to figure it out
on their own. At that juncture salespeople are advised to stay in contact
with the prospective buyer until they figure it out or don't and bail
out.How to shorten the sales cycle via shortening the buying cycle.A
shorter buying cycle results in a shorter sales cycle. As Ace pointed
out, "...it is possible to get through the door and lead them in
management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to
take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the
buying cycle."IMO, what's often lacking yet required to understand this
concept is an expanded perspective (can't see the forest for the trees)
which will be difficult to achieve unless you first empty your
cup.Learning how to facilitate the buying decision was not within the
scope of the discussion although recognition/awareness of its impact is.
Instruction/training in this new sales paradigm is available from Sharon
Drew Morgen the foremost sales authority on the subject.

				
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posted:7/10/2011
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