Are You Scaring Away Your Best Prospects?


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You’ve got a winner of a product. It’s priced right. Prospects are qualified and interested. But reps are losing deals because your sales process is difficult and time-consuming. It makes your company hard to work with and scares buyers away.

Cut the Complications, Get the Process Moving

No sales executive can afford to lose potential revenue and promising client relationships. There’s only one thing to do: Build an effective sales process. Take the essential steps to give your prospects a positive experience.

Make Terms & Conditions Plain and Simple – and Specific

Write a Terms & Conditions document specifically for every prospect.

Why do this? Because a broad, general Terms & Conditions document is one-size-fits-all – too generic. It could include elements that don’t pertain to the deal. The prospect may have to sign off on individual items rather than the whole. That adds complication, and possibly confusion and frustration.

Move Swiftly and Smoothly to Signatures

Your prospects’ time is valuable. Reps should respect it by keeping the process flowing efficiently to signatures. That builds relationships and buyer confidence.                                                                                         

Your prospects will ask questions. Reps must expect that. They shouldn’t constantly need to call others in for the answers. Doing that slows, lengthens and drags out the process, and it tests prospects’ patience. Send in skilled sales pros who are ready with responses. What if you anticipate questions the rep can’t answer? Be prepared – have the right SME there.

 Negotiating Bandwidth: How to Get to Win-Win

“Negotiating bandwidth” is the deal-making dollar range you give reps. Assign it deliberately and appropriately, knowing:

  • Bandwidth is power — the authority to sell.
  • The right band allows room for prospects and reps to deal.
  • With a tight band, reps may wind up calling to ask for exceptions.

Say you’re a rep with a product bandwidth of $1 to $1.25. If your incentive is on margin, you want to sell at the upper end. If you’re trained to sell on price, you may be fine with bottom dollar. But when that’s where you start, there’s nowhere lower to go.

Clear authority at proper levels conveys to buyers they’re working with knowledgeable decision makers.

Make the Deal, Close the Sale

Sometimes the conversation just goes on too long. A car purchase is the classic example. You’ve done your homework, you’re ready to buy, it’s time to talk price. But the rep can’t authorize your offer. You meet the closer, who would love to help, but can’t quite. You meet the manager. This strains your patience and may diminish your desire to buy. 

That’s too much back and forth. Reps need to know what they must get and what they can give. Then they must get it done. 

How to Discover Where You Stand With Buyers

Make it a point to know what prospects and buyers think of your company. 

Consider these ways to take the temperature of your business relationships.

  • Initiate a win-loss analysis to learn why a sale almost closed, then got away. Knowing why the buyer went elsewhere, you have a starting point for corrective action. Often, using a third party resource helps get buyers to open up.
  • Pay attention to what prospects say in sales interactions – especially the negative. It may be hard to listen to, but it’s important feedback. Use it to improve your process.
  • Survey your prospect with a Quarterly Business Review Scorecard. This is an opportunity to ask directly: Are we easy to work with? If not, ask why. Let the answers reveal any process weaknesses.

Strengthen Your Sales Process and Empower Your Reps to Close

Guide your reps – help them anticipate questions and deliver the right information. Make Terms & Conditions a customized document for every prospect. Turn your team into heroes with authority to make the deal.

Try these tools:

Make your T&C tight. Get your reps up to speed. Allocate authority for greatest effectiveness. Let the other guys scare prospects to you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Staples
John is an industry thought leader with more than 25 years of business experience, including B-to-B field sales, sales management, and sales operations. John has delivered results for companies such as: ConocoPhillips, Ryder, Tekelec, Telcordia Technologies, United Site Services, Sparta Systems and others.


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