How to Shorten the Sales CycleIf you sell high-ticket B2B products or services, your sales cycle is probably a few months, or even a few years. So, how do you shorten it? Here are some ideas.
Decrease the Perceived Risk of Doing Business with You
Every decision has some risk involved, but there’s a lot you can do to decrease this perceived risk:

  • Show your potential clients case studies of clients just like them who took a leap of faith, hired you and got excellent results.
  • Have strong guarantees in place, so if your service doesn’t produce the expected results your clients still come out on top.
  • Tie part of your compensation to the results you get for your clients.

Give People a Reason to Act Now
Some ideas:

  • Offer a special rate or better terms if your clients sign up within 30 days of you sending them a proposal.
  • Show them that their top competitors are already doing what you’re suggesting and show them how the later they get into the game, the more difficult it will be for them to catch up.

Have Honest Conversations
If you think that your job as a salesperson is to convince people to buy your stuff, you have it all wrong. Your goal is to help your clients. You and your clients need to work together to find a solution. Make this very clear to them. And, ask the difficult questions. A lot of salespeople have a hard time asking things like:

  • “You seem to be concerned about something. What is it?”
  • “My biggest concern is that I’ll spend two days putting together a proposal and then nothing will happen. Do you feel the same way?”
  • “You saw the proposal and the terms we offer. Are you interested?”
  • “When would you like to get this started?”

Whenever you ask questions, shut up and listen to people’s answers. Salespeople tend to talk too much and listen too little.
Use proposals as confirmations of the terms you and your prospects already agreed upon, not as a tool to discover whether they like your offering.
Express Your Concerns
Have you ever had prospects that, every time you call them, tell you to call them back in two weeks, but when you call back they need another two weeks? Some people have a hard time saying “no”. Help them. One of my favorite things to say is, “look, I’m not here to sell you anything you don’t want. If you’re not interested, that’s all right. Just let me know so we don’t waste each other’s time.”
Make It Easy to Make a Decision
Some companies have extremely complex pricing structures and several plans and options to choose from. This makes choosing the right option a nightmare. Offer no more than three solutions, a transparent pricing structure and an easy-to-understand table with what’s included in each option.
Also, speak English to your clients, not Geek. Use storytelling to show them how you can help them and stop wasting their time talking about technical specs nobody cares about.
Persistence Is Everything
People will buy whenever they’re ready, but they’ll forget about you if you don’t follow up with them. Trying to rush them will just make them very uncomfortable and they’ll walk away. Patience is a key skill in sales. A lot of complex sales require 7-10 meetings or calls and a lot of people stop following up because the prospects didn’t move forward after the second phone call. Don’t give up too soon.
One of my favorite questions is, “when would it make sense for us to re-connect?” This allows the prospect to choose a schedule that works for them so you don’t waste your time reaching out to them before they’re ready for you. Make sure that there’s always a next action planned and that you’re responsible to make it happen. Don’t ask people to call you; ask them when you should call them. And be very specific, such as “how about we meet on March 3rd at 10am in our offices?”
Another great tip is to help your prospects whenever you can. If you find an article or read a book that could help them, send it to them. Truly care about your clients and you’ll be successful. If you only call them to ask for money, it won’t work very well.

  • Decrease the perceived risk of doing business with you
  • Offer incentives for people to move forward now
  • Have honest conversations and ask the difficult questions
  • Offer very transparent plans with straightforward pricing
  • Don’t give up to soon