sales processNo matter what, the customer is going to buy something if and when they are ready to buy it. Therefore, you’ve got to stop trying to make the customer buy something faster than they’re ready to buy.

Have you ever tried to buy a car and the salesperson was really pushy? Even though you were going to buy the car, they tried to get you to buy it before you were ready. How did that make you feel?

Yeah, we don’t like that. Cut it out.

Why are we trying to accelerate deals?

Because we don’t have enough in the pipeline. We are short on our number so what do we do? We go in and look at those deals and try to get them to go faster. Accelerating the sales process is a result of your own inability to have enough in the pipeline. Because of that, you attempt to manipulate the deals by pushing the client, by creating a false sense of urgency, or by reducing the price. None of these are very effective.

It’s not all the salesperson’s fault. Businesses put their salespeople in those positions. They are all about making numbers. Scared they are going to miss a quarter, they ask the sales team to move stuff from, say Q3 into Q4. They ask the team if there is anything they can “move up.” The problem is that this results in one of two scenarios.

1. The deal does get sold and now there is a hole in Q3, which they then try to fill with deals from Q4, or

2. The deal doesn’t close and they’ve wasted time on a deal that was never going to close early anyway

Work on your pipeline

The worst thing companies can do is chase their deals by trying to “move them up” a quarter. Just build a better pipeline and stop chasing deals.

Spend less time trying to accelerate the sales cycle and more time building the pipeline. That way, the pipeline gets full and starts falling month to month. Then, you don’t have to try to accelerate a deal.

Understand the buyer

Customers don’t care about your company deadlines. Putting the sale in for July versus putting it in December is not going to make a difference to the customer. There’s nothing you can do about when the sale will happen. To waste your time trying is stupid. Don’t focus on when YOU need the deal closed. Focus on when the CUSTOMER needs the deal closed, and what it’s going to take to move the deal through their buying process. Companies have their own buying process. You need to know what it is and include that in your assessment of an accurate close date.

However, just because you can’t accelerate the sale doesn’t mean you can’t influence the sale.

You can influence the buyer by understanding why they want it, the impact of not having it, and understanding the new state. If I am selling something, I want to understand not only what the product does and why, but what business problem is being solved. What happens if that business problem isn’t solved by a certain date? What is the impact to the organization? How does the lack of an alternative solution affect them and can they live with that? By having conversations such as this, and understanding the buyer’s needs, you can potentially accelerate the process for THEM, not you and your need to meet quota.