Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Sales Cycle

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Sales is one of those words that a lot of people want to avoid. I know because my advisor coaching clients always tell me they don't want to be “salesy” when we're talking about referrals. There’s a lot of conjured-up images of salespeople that give the word “sales” a bad rap. The truth is more people are in sales than ever will admit. If you are responsible for bringing in prospective clients, closing those prospects and servicing clients, you’re in sales.

The typical sales cycle includes various steps such as finding, connecting to, qualifying and meeting with the prospect, overcoming objections, closing the deal, nurturing the relationship and generating referrals. If one or more of these steps is weak for some reason, you will struggle with your business development efforts.

Let’s look at three easy ways to improve your sales cycle.

Know how you want to be referred and ask for it

“How do you want to be referred?” is a common question that I ask a coaching client. Most advisors fail to have a good response because they’ve never given it much thought. For example, my client, “Mike,” first responded by saying, “I would like it if I met a potential client in a restaurant.” But after some questioning and more thought, he realized that a restaurant atmosphere was not his ideal scenario. Restaurants are noisy with interruptions from the waiter and other people nearby who can hear your conversation. Instead, Mike decided that to meet a prospective client (typically a male CEO) he would prefer to meet him at his cigar bar. At the bar, they would be able to share a cigar for 45 minutes without being interrupted.

When you are referred to people in a manner that increases your likelihood of closing that prospect, you can dramatically improve your closing ratio. How you want to be referred is personal to you. But keeping that information to yourself does you no good. You need to share that information with your COIs and clients who may be trying to refer you. Ask people to refer you this way whenever possible and they most likely will unless there are other reasons that would impact the situation. If that happens, you can adjust to another manner of being referred that works for you and them as well.