For a business owner, CEO and sales manager, there is nothing more frustrating than experiencing delayed closings on forecasted sales (maybe other than getting sales into the pipeline to begin with).
The thing is, there are many potential reasons why this happens. However, before you can work out how to deal with it, you need to know if it is an issue on your side (with your salesperson/process/offering) or if the delay is occurring because of a problem with the decision-maker.
So how do you get to the cause of the problem/s that are holding up sales from closing? You need to ask lots of questions right along the length of the sales pipeline, which will hopefully identify where things aren’t working right, or at least get you closer to the big issue/s facing your sales team.
Questions to consider
As a starting point, here are some potential areas to narrow in on when reviewing your company’s sales process (courtesy of the Objective Management Group):
In-house problems that delay sales from closing:
- Are you losing sales to competitors?
- Is your pricing strategy wrong?
- Are your salespeople failing to sell value?
- Are the wrong prospects being targeted?
- Are the offerings being positioned incorrectly?
- Are your salespeople doing something differently than before?
- Are they asking the right questions?
- Are they moving too quickly through the process?
- Are they getting enough appointments?
- Are salespeople ineffective at closing?
And externally, these are what your salespeople are probably coming up against when a prospect delays making a decision to buy:
The most common excuses for why a prospect puts-off buying:
- Not enough money available.
- They put it on the back burner.
- They scheduled it for next fiscal year.
- They haven't decided yet.
- They put it out to bid.
- Other issues have become more important.
As the above illustrates, there is usually not one simple, easily fixable issue that is causing problems with delayed closings. It could be one thing, or a combination of five, but what it highlights is the need to have two important things in place: a robust sales process, and the right salespeople who can get results, even when they experience put-offs.
The impact of mindset
Here’s the clincher when it comes to your internal team: a poor salesperson will understand the reasons prospects give them to delay a sale, and will accept them. However, a great salesperson will not only overcome them, but will also hardly ever experience them. Why? Because they have the right mindset to challenge any objections, and aren’t hindered by hidden weaknesses that nearly 75 per cent of salespeople suffer from. But of course, if there is no proper sales process in place, then how can you expect your team to follow the right path to success?
As we've talked about above, there are plenty of reasons why sales closings get delayed. The key is to take your time assessing all aspects of the process to identify where things are going wrong.
Keen to further understand what it takes to grow sales in your business—including setting up a robust sales pipeline? Download our free eBook: 6 strategic ways to plan and implement sales success in your business.
Also included is a bonus article - A 9-step process for a highly effective sales call.