I believe strongly in the inelasticity of the time available to your prospects and customers. They’re trying to do the same amount of business, or usually even more, with the same amount of people and resources. Just like every company out there.
Of course, the same applies to your company and your business. If you’re tasked to sell more with the same resources, then time becomes the most precious commodity you have, right? If you are given a higher quota and then you divide that number by the title of that song from Rent (“Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes”), you’ll have to sell more dollars per hour to meet your objectives. You don’t have time to waste. Your customers don’t have time to waste.
Here is one measurement you can easily check to determine whether you’re (a) wasting a customer’s time and (b) decreasing your chances of winning their business. Those two go hand in hand.
Today’s measurement: How many times has your prospect had to tell you their story? (Their story includes their requirements, their budget, their timeframes, their decision-making process and whatever other background you need to learn.)
The more times a prospect is forced to tell you their story, the less likely you are to win their business.
If the number is more than one, that’s not good. If it’s more than two, you should start to worry. If it’s three or more, you have issues that need to be immediately addressed. Anything higher than four and you should be working on other prospects.
If prospects are forced to repeat their stories over and over, then it means one of the following:
- A sales rep isn’t listening. How can you begin to earn the trust of the customer if you aren’t paying attention to what they say? That’s just a waste of their time.
- A sales rep doesn’t understand the customer’s requirements. This means that you don’t have the experience or expertise that aligns with the needs of the prospect. Having to repeat themselves to make sure that a sales rep understands their requirements is a waste of the prospect’s time.
- A sales rep has to bring in additional people in to help him sell. In my book Zero-Time Selling I demonstrate that one key to accelerating sales is Selling with the Sharp End of the Stick. This means putting He doesn’t know his product well enough to answer the customer’s questions himself.
- A sales rep brings management in to help him sell. It was always my experience, both as a salesperson and a sales manager, that the first thing most managers do when brought into a deal is to reopen discovery and ask a prospect about his or her requirements. This always
- Customers want to make an informed purchase decision in the least time possible. Making them repeat themselves wastes their time and makes your company look inefficient, or worse.
Buyers want to make good purchase decisions with the least investment of their time possible. Making them repeat themselves wastes their time and makes you look inefficient, unknowledgeable or worse.
And, if you’re wasting a prospect’s time then you’re also reducing your own sales productivity. Spending too much time with one customer takes selling time away from other prospects and customers.