Monday, May 21, 2012

How to Decrease the Customer Buy Cycle

There is a fundamental reason why sales managers are having issues meeting quota - they are transactional. If sales managers truly wish to close more business, gain more revenue and give representative's better results, then they must ensure that sales reps are creating customer-centered relationships.

Customers today are extremely busy so they research information regarding your organization's services and products. They know prices, competition and an array of other things before sales representative's visit. Buyers know more than your sales staff and do not have the time and patience to be sold. Consumers invest in those they know and trust. Should they want transaction they obtain commoditized goods from retailers.

There are numerous reasons to create customer centric relationships:

1. It shortens the buy cycle - Consumers that build trusting relationships buy continuously.
2. It heightens productivity - As customers become more enamored with the relationship they become marketing avatars and tell others.
3. It manifests brand - As clients trust builds the continuous good will provides visibility and helps build additional community.

Customer centric relationships enable sales representatives to work smarter not harder. They engage in proper conversation that allows them to become a trusted peer of the buyer permitting the heightening of a partnership.

Sales managers must formulate a sales coaching structure so that they mentor their teams in customer-centered relationships. The strategy is not difficult and will reap huge rewards.

So what is the best way to begin?
The key things to recognize are that buyers desire to do one of two things 1) increase their competitive position or 2) return profits to shareholders. Most of this relates to strategy and driving force so it is vital that sales representatives gather as much information as possible. This requires that sales agents invest heavily of their time and talents with sales intelligence. They have to gather content about the company, the industry and the competition. To become a trusted peer denotes understanding the customer's business so that consultative ideas percolate that help improve the buyer's condition.

This requires that sales individuals spend less time in the office and behind windshields and more time on research. With the array of available services there is little excuse for agents to procrastinate on this vital sales process.

Second, too many representatives focus inwardly. They are more concerned with unit sales than buyer issues. Customer- centered representatives' focus on the issues of the buyer. Sales agents ask questions that focus on client objectives and outcomes. These provocative questions keep the buyer engaged and offer more value.

Third, the only issue that concerns true buyers is value they receive from using your firm's products and services. Value is obtained from those conversations that focus on the outcomes and the measurements of success buyers realize. When discussion concentrates on measurements and returns conversations are buyer centered.

Finally, the only manner in which to gain trust is to be visible. This crazy world in which we live provides too many excuses for agents to run and hide behind email, voice and other electronic communications. Sales managers must ensure agents are accountable to clients with actions and activities that illustrate consistent visibility.

© 2011. Drew J Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.

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