Recently, a client asked me what I would do to produce better sales results right now. He wanted an easy answer. He wanted me to tell him how to go fast. If you’ve shared your Sunday morning with me for any time, you know that I believe that fast is slow and slow is fast. I wanted to give him the right answer in the short time we had together, so I told him to ask himself these five questions.

1. Are you spend more time nurturing and prospecting?

Most sales organizations and most salespeople can immediately improve their results by spending more time nurturing their dream clients and spending more time prospecting. You don’t close opportunities without first opening them. You improve your results when you nurture the relationships you need by providing them with value in front of asking for their time. You open new opportunities by prospecting, by gaining the crucial first appointment.

2. Are you are giving prospecting and opportunity acquisition the attention it deserves?

Discover what is or what should be compelling. Your dream client isn’t going to change without some compelling reason to do so. We find our prospects in one of two places: they are either dissatisfied with some gap in their performance or they don’t recognize they have a gap in their performance. You aren’t going to create an opportunity without an underlying reason for change. You either uncover that reason to change or you help your dream client come to understand that he has a reason to change. The more compelling the reason, the more certain the change.

3. Look at every so-called opportunity in your pipeline. Is there a burning reason for your dream client to change?

Talk about the necessary investment as early as possible. Grown ups know that acquiring something of a higher quality requires a greater investment. But sales organizations and salespeople mistakenly want to postpone that conversation as long as possible. If there is a compelling reason to change, there is a compelling reason to invest in that change. I work with clients with higher prices and who produce greater results than their competitors. The greater investment is necessary to produce those results. You might believe a higher price builds resistance to a deal, but if you are focused on the value you create (the outcomes), it reduces resistance.

4. When do you discuss the necessary investment for producing the results that your dream client needs?

Spend more time building consensus. If there is one thing that could derail an opportunity for you faster and more assuredly than anything else, that would be your mortal enemy, the status quo. The status quo has many defenders. Unless and until you work your way North and South through your dream client’s company building consensus, you aren’t likely to move the opportunity forward. To loosen the status quo’s grip on your dream client’s company, you have to spend time with the stakeholders. You have to help them understand the case for change, and you have to help mitigate the problems it creates for them.

5. Are you spending time with the right people?

Gain the commitments you need throughout the sales process. If you want to go fast, go slow. Follow your sales process. Create value during every interaction with your dream client and earn the right to take the next step together. You’ll slow yourself down if you don’t spend time helping your dream client. Go from commitment to commitment, creating value at every stage of the process.

Are you following your process, creating value, and leaving every meeting with the next necessary commitment? That’s five big pieces, none of them easy, all of them critical.

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