There’s nothing more satisfying than the afterglow of a solid sales presentation. You are certain you’ve knocked it out of the park. The presentation was flowing like a silky-smooth river. The buyer was offering expressive nods, occasional smiles, and was engaged in discussing what our future partnership looks and feels like. The proposal has been laid, virtual handshakes exchanged, and, then……nothing. They seemed so enthusiastic about your company, your product, and your offer, and now, radio silence.
It’s a perplexing situation for the ages – why does this happen? Why is maintaining deal velocity still the bane of our existence? And especially today, in a marketplace transformed by a pandemic, why is it seemingly so difficult to keep deals on the move? Though the answers to these questions may seem elusive, there are several reasons why deal velocity can falter. The polite pleasantries exchanged on a sales call must not be mistaken for a real, concrete discussion of your company’s value to the prospective purchaser.
That’s why, rather than trying to diagnose on the fly the reasons why your deal has stalled, it’s better to vaccinate yourself upfront. This may require a back to basics approach which involves checking all the relevant boxes beforehand: Is there a need? Is that need urgent? Have you earned their trust? Are they even qualified? If your sales pros have overlooked a couple of key steps in preparing to have this value discussion, it can curb your forward momentum.
Here are some tips I’ve found to keep the pedal to the metal, and to keep deals moving.
- Do your homework. Remember, well-qualified leads must meet several benchmarks, including budget and timeline. It’s absolutely critical to know upfront if your buyer has an established budget for your solution and a set timeline for getting your solution in place.
- Value, above all. Be more than just a “product pusher.” Make sure your sales professionals truly communicate the value of your solution to the buyer. Make sure they’ve differentiated your offering against that of the competition, and if at all possible, that they are continuing to raise the awareness of your value at every point during the discussion.
- Listen. Make sure your sales pros are developing a rapport based upon trust and that the right people — including, of course, the decision makers — are at the table. And they definitely should be doing less talking than the buyer – lest they end up looking like a pushy salesperson. Oh, by the way, this includes using gimmicks like offering a short-term discount if they decide today. A savvy buyer certainly will call their bluff.
- Doublecheck your alignment. Is what you’re offering truly a match with your buyer’s vision? Has your sales rep established the foundation for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship? Make sure they leave the buyer with a clear understanding of what strategic alignment looks like, how your company will deliver “service after the sale,” and how you will continue to meet — and even exceed — their expectations after the deal is done.
- Have a sales process. Above all, make sure you have a sales playbook by which your entire team is executing against. The “seat of the pants” approach is fraught with challenges. Using a sales plan means that you have implemented steps, and stage gates that will help you to not only foresee events that could potentially create a drag on velocity, but also identify deficiencies in a sales pro’s performance.
Make today the day that you’ll grease the gears of your deals and build a sales engine primed for both speed and endurance. The Brooks Group offers a variety of virtual sales training programs and assessments that can help you identify, upskill, and improve your sales team. If we can be of assistance, please reach out.