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Sales Consulting and Training:
Hanging In There, Part I

Perseverance and Your Client

“The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly.  That is dedication.”

- Cecil B. DeMille, Sunshine and Shadow (1955)

I can think of one our sales reps that recently closed two transactions in one week for one of our open enrollment classes.  One transaction occurred over the period of one day.  A person called in asking for information on a class and, by the end of the day, had chosen to sign an agreement to register.  A second person also signed an agreement to register, nearly five-and-a-half months after their initial contact.   Both transactions were the same size and both were for a similar training class yet they both went through completely different sales cycles.  One took over one hundred fifty more days than the other to go through.

Now, some might say, why expend all that energy on that one sale?   Well, let’s think about it.  How much energy was truly expended on that sale?  Throughout the entire process, that customer had expressed interest in a particular class.  Their timing, unfortunately, was always off.  Either their schedule was too busy, they were traveling or simply had difficulty getting approval.  The entire time, they were interested.  At no time did the customer say, “I don’t have time for this class so stop calling me.”  It was something they wanted to do.

So, what if the rep had stopped calling?  They would’ve obviously lost out on that one sale but they would also have lost out on any follow-up business that would’ve accompanied that customer.  You see, in their industry, that customer is one a formidable company.  They are a “household” name in the business world and may lead to a great deal of business.  Perseverance may lead to quite a windfall for that sales rep… it’s already led to two follow-up sales.  Throwing in the towel when all the right signals were there would’ve been unwise.

Think about the following questions when pursuing opportunities:

·          How long is my traditional sales cycle

·          Does this opportunity look feasible, even if I’m past my average sales cycle?

·          How large is the possible sale?

·          What possible opportunities can come from this sale?

·          Is this a referenceable account?

·          What would happen if I let my competitor get a hold of this company?

·          How much effort will I have to exert to keep this opportunity alive?

·          What kinds of signals is the customer sending me?

·          Is the customer being amicable with me or are they getting annoyed?

·          Do I have a system in place that allows me to stay on top of this opportunity?

Answer these questions to determine how much effort to put into an opportunity.  Even small opportunities can turn into great successes.

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