On average, how long does it take you to close a sale – from the first contact until the deal is done?

Now, what percentage of that time is spent actively selling – that is, in direct, real-time contact with your buyer?

Not much, I guarantee. Let’s say it takes six contacts over three months to close a sale. Three months equals about 500 hours of selling time. Six contacts – let’s say about an hour each – means that 98.8% of the sales cycle is spent … waiting.

Either you’re waiting for the customer to do something. Or the customer is waiting for you to do something.

Research shows that the most common reason for all this waiting is lack of information. In eight out of 10 cases, when buyers sit down to make a decision, at least one critical piece of information is missing. Which means everything grinds to a halt until somebody can provide the information. (By the way, that doesn’t just mean information your buyer needs from you. It also includes the information you need from your buyer.)

If you can anticipate the information that will be required and line it up ahead of time, you just might be able to move that sale forward with fewer meetings.

Which is good for almost everyone. Buyers save time and get what they need sooner. You get paid sooner and can spend more time looking for other sales. The only people who don’t benefit from your shorter sales cycles are your competitors, who have less time to swoop in and interfere with your sale.

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