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shorter-sales-cycleEvery salesperson would like to think they can handle and would relish in a short sales-cycle, but here’s the problem — most salespeople can’t handle it.

The sales cycle is shortening because of one thing, and that is the amount of information available on the internet.  What this means is prospecting does not have the same merit for customers as it used to.

Before the internet became as big it is today, customers would have to engage with a salesperson to find out information, regardless of where they were in the buying cycle.  This meant a good prospecting salesperson could at least generate a large number of introductory sales calls.

Sure, many of them were a waste of time, as it was nothing more than the customer trying to learn information, but it is was still a sales interaction.

Fast forward to today and the customer has available to them via the internet all of the information they need to help narrow their decision making process. They don’t even need to engage with a salesperson until they have a purchase decision already in mind.

Thus, the shorter sales cycle is not due to the salesperson being skilled at closing quickly, but rather it’s driven by the level of knowledge the customer brings to the sales call.

For the salesperson, this means the focus moves from being an educator to a re-educator, and by this I mean helping the customer to understand in the right manner what it is they learned via the web.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to ditch the “capabilities presentation” that you used for years.  You know the one I’m talking about — it’s the one where you told the customer about how great your customer service is and all of that other stupid stuff.

Today’s opening presentation needs to be question focused. You need to be asking the customer to share what they already have learned.  Your objective is to use what they say to help guide you as to what level of re-education you need to do.

What it all means is the sales cycle has been cut down, but unless you enter into every sales call with an attitude of being the one to ask questions, you’ll never be in a position to handle a shorter sales cycle.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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