The sales cycle and the questions people pose such as “How do I get prospects to buy faster?”, “Why don’t prospects respond to my emails, calls, and proposals? “, and “How do I shorten the cycle?” are heard often. Let’s explore nine rules to accelerate the sales cycle.

1. Develop a crisp, clear and compelling value proposition.

If you do not know how you are distinct, how will your prospect know? Ask your clients, your colleagues, and your network what they perceive is your value. Once you get an answer, refine the message, practice it, and then make sure it is in every communication.

2. Talk to the right person.

Stop talking to prospects that have neither the budget nor the authority to buy your services. Try to enter the company at the highest level possible. If you cannot start high, find out as quickly as possible who controls the purse strings and who makes the decisions. Then get in front of them. If you cannot do that nor see the possibility in the near future, you may as well move along.

3. Focus on the prospect’s needs.

How directly do you connect what you offer with the needs of the buyer and those of his/her company? Refrain from talking to the prospect rather talk with the prospect. Ask questions that will allow you to find the most pressing and compelling needs that your services can address. Be able to draw a direct line from their needs to your services.

4. Build trust and confidence in your company.

Prospects begin conversations with a long list of reasons not to buy. To overcome this obstacle, provide stories, case studies, and examples of how you have helped similar companies. Do not talk about how good you are, demonstrate it.

5. Deal with objections early.

Actually objections are helpful to the buying process. They are a signal that the prospect is interested in moving forward but there is a question that needs to be answered. The earlier objections come up, the earlier you have the opportunity to explore what is getting in the way, deal with it, and move the sale forward. What is worst is having a prospect nod in agreement while harboring major doubts.

6. Plan each conversation.

What do you want to have happen during and after the first conversation? The second?  The sales cycle gets stalled more often than not because you do not have a plan. Make sure you have thought it through and are ready. 

7.  Have a firm, not fuzzy, next step.

Make sure to design a firm next step such as “I will send you the proposal and then let’s plan for next Tuesday at 10am to walk through it in detail.”

8. Provide value in your marketing.

When you sit down with a prospect would it not be great to hear them say “I have read your books, hear you speak, and read your blogs; I am glad to meet you.” How can you make this happen? Create and leverage value-based offers and experiences in your marketing efforts.

9.  Be persistent.

The average sales closing takes five or more conversations to close. Keep the pipeline full, be patient, and be persistent.

Enjoy the sales process, it is always different with each prospect and that makes it even more of a challenge. Reward yourself when the process goes well!

Author: Nyda Bittmann-Neville is an image and branding doctor and CEO of TNB Consulting Group, Inc. She helps clients to achieve a healthy performance in the areas of marketing, communication, image and branding. Check out her websites at and