Do you understand your customer’s perception of a short or long-term timeframe? Have you ever had difficulty closing a sale because you didn’t work in a timeframe that was in sync with your customer? To avoid this problem, ask them a question like, “When you were looking to upgrade the last computer system, how long did it take you to do it?” Follow up with, “What were some of the key issues you had to deal with in the decision-making process?” Questions like this will begin to give you a historical perspective of the kind of timeframe they operate under so you can make sure you are on the same page.
Salespeople often get caught up in the heat of the battle and the only thing they can think of is giving the customer fast service. This translates into them not using the selling time for what it’s meant to be: to figure out what the customer wants and, just as important, when they want it. This is why it’s so important to know the customer’s timeframe. If you’re selling a major purchase, you had better make sure it’s in their timeframe. Trying to sell it to them in one they’re not comfortable with can create a barrier that ultimately will result in a lost sale.