If you ask a group of sales reps to raise their hands if they’ve ever rushed through submitting a proposal too early in the sales process, you’ll probably get a lot of hands in the air. We’ve all been caught up in the enthusiasm of a sale and provided a quote prematurely. But what might look like a great and swift response to a customer’s request, can be a disservice to the customer because you rushed through critical stages of the sales process without getting a more comprehensive understanding of your customer’s situation.
Whatever prompted you to stampede to closure in the past, it’s important going forward to observe the process and get in the habit of not providing a proposal prematurely. And that includes working through the process of identifying customer needs even if the opportunity presents itself for an early close. When you take shortcuts, you run a lot of risks for both the customer and yourself, which we want to explore in this week’s blog post.
Do the Algebra
Turning a sale into a rush job is a little like giving a canned sales presentation that includes a list of impressive features, but that never really deep dives into how your product and/or service will work as a great fix for the customer’s dilemma. Take time to fully understand the situation your customer is in, putting yourself in the equation as the person who comprehends the client’s particular problem and can solve for X by providing them with a realistic and impactful proposal.
The complexity of your product, coupled with the sometimes equally complex customer need, can mean that your proposal requires a significant investment in time and energy. When you breeze through the process, you’re putting both yourself and the buyer at a disadvantage in the ways outlined below:
- Clearly the most obvious disadvantage is that, in rushing everything along, you’re not doing your due diligence to help your customer explore all of their needs. Only via the slow route can you get the buyer to the destination called Long-Term Solution. When you come at the process with a drive-by mentality, you’re setting yourself up to be the individual who represents a disappointing and/or failed venture. Meaning, your reputation might turn into roadkill.
- Submitting a proposal prematurely comes with another obvious disadvantage: You’re cheating yourself out of undiscovered chances to conduct a more extensive sale. If you’d only asked a relevant series of questions and dug a bit deeper, you may have overturned additional cross and upsell opportunities that could have benefitted the customer, and in turn yourself and your company.
- Finally, by not taking the time to discover all there is to know in the sales process, you won’t be able to thoroughly comprehend your customer’s situation, and as such can’t deliver the value that the customer expects to get from their trusted advisor.
But Wait—You Also Don’t Get…
As you read this, you may be saying, “Hey, there’s value in moving things along. Timeliness is also good customer service.” That’s a valid point, but there’s a big difference between making something happen along a tight timeline and skipping the discovery and presenting stages in an effort to get the sale behind you. When you fly past those crucial points in the process, you’re missing out on the chance to learn enough about your customer to be able to equip them with a solution that’s tailored to their needs.
So embrace all the phases of the sales process. Otherwise, you’ll be that Tasmanian Devil sales rep who leaves customers wanting less. And in this case, less is definitely not more.