Are you stuck in a vicious sales cycle?
Most everyone is familiar with the concept of a vicious cycle, or vicious circle. It is a repeating sequence of connected events in which each cycle negatively reinforces the previous one.
Unfortunately, I too often see salespeople who are stuck in variation of a vicious cycle, that I call a Vicious Sales Cycle.
A Vicious Sales Cycle flows from bad sales habits that lead to consistently negative results. Combined with an inability, or unwillingness, to change, salespeople can get stuck in a closed loop, self-reinforcing cycle of unacceptable sales performance.
It’s like being trapped in revolving door from which there is no exit. Until you are forced to find a new job.
What are some key behaviors that trap sellers in a vicious sales cycle?
1. Poor call planning and preparation.
Lackadaisical planning and preparation lead to unproductive sales touches. By definition, every sales interaction should deliver value to the prospect that enables them to move closer to making a decision. Absent that, you’re just wasting their time. And yours.
2. Lack of a sense of urgency.
Salespeople who don’t prioritize responsiveness to customers often find themselves on a slippery slope. Prospects are more educated than ever about the products and services they want to buy and when they interact with a salesperson their need for information to continue their buying process is urgent. Any response to a customer request that you defer until later automatically becomes less likely to ever occur.
￼3. Insufficient product knowledge, industry experience and business acumen.
Complacent sales reps who don’t continually push themselves to learn more about their products, how to sell them and how their customers use them will lag behind their peers in performance. Prospects rely on salespeople to provide the necessary information to help them make a fully informed purchase decision and they’re reluctant to invest their time to build relationships with sellers who can’t provide value.
Three steps to create your Virtuous Sales Cycle
There’s an alternative to a Vicious Sales Cycle. I call it the Virtuous Sales Cycle.
A virtuous cycle is defined as a “Self-propagating advantageous situation in which a successful solution leads to more of a desired result or another success which generates still more desired results or successes in a chain.”
A Virtuous Sales Cycle is what occurs when best sales practices are consistently applied to produce above-average results, which in turn creates an repeating series of positive sales outcomes that feed off of each other to produce consistent high-level performance.
What are a few of the sales behaviors you should use to create and perpetuate your Virtuous Sales Cycle?
1. Maximize the value you deliver with every sales touch.
Every sales interaction with a prospect, no matter how large or small, requires planning and preparation in order to deliver the value they require and achieve the outcomes you desire. I call this Selling with Maximum Impact. Maximize the value you deliver to your prospects with the least investment of their time possible and they’ll invest more time to let you sell to them. Do this well and it results in orders.
2. Be absolutely responsive to the customer in Zero-Time.
The timeframe for every sales reaction to a customer, in other words, responsiveness) should be immediate. Sales is a service that is provided to the prospect in support of their buying process. Without the prospect, sales wouldn’t even exist. Therefore, the needs of your prospects must be given time priority over anything else you could be doing.
3. Invest in your own sales education
Nothing stays the same. Products change. Customers’ requirements change. Technology changes how your customers buy and how you sell your product. Successful salespeople learn how to evolve to keep pace with these changes. They invest their own time, and often money, in their continuing education. (Click here to read my article on how salespeople should invest in their ongoing sales education.)
Embrace a Virtuous Sales cycle to consistently deliver value and sell with maximum impact. Empower your customers to make informed purchase decisions with a smaller investment of their time. This will help you win more orders. It will also create more sales time for you to go out and sell and win orders from additional prospects. Success begets success.