Have you ever been frustrated, even a little shocked, at how difficult some companies make it for you to do business with them? The amount of walls they put between them and your desire to give them money? In this post we will discuss why speed matters in sales and provide essential tips to accelerate your sales cycle
So, just this week, I called two different companies, ready to make a purchase. Their lack of response time, and lack of follow-up, just left me perplexed.
Company one is a vendor that was recommended to me by a friend, for a product I need to serve my clients. I have been so frustrated with my current vendor, and I have been wanting to make a switch for months. But the time and effort to make a change just seemed like too much trouble, so I stayed put. But about two weeks ago, I happened to bring up this challenge to one of my colleagues and friends, and he recommended the company he works with, and was kind enough to make an email introduction.
I was excited to get the introduction, responding immediately and told the new vendor I was ready to make a move. Two days later, the new vendor responded to the email. Now, normally that would have been a red flag for me, but since my friend had made the recommendation, I was willing to give this new vendor another shot. So, we set up a call, and I explained what I needed, and my new vendor said they could easily accommodate and they would get back to me with next steps.
Here I sit, still waiting for the call.
Company two is a caterer I was looking to hire for an event I want to host for clients in October. My regular caterer is tied up on the date I need, so I went online to review caterers that I have seen at parties or events I have attended.
I recognize two, so I go on to their sites to find out more information and see if I can set up a call. The first caterer has a beautiful website, just gorgeous, but it took me over ten minutes to figure out where to go to fill out a contact sheet, and I never did find a phone number. The second caterer made it easy to contact them, but it took 72 hours for them to respond to the online contact form I filled out.
The results of both situations? I moved on – I found a new vendor for my company, and I chose a different caterer for my party. Why? Because speed matters in today’s world.
Why Speed Matters In Sales
In today’s world, the consumer controls the buying cycle. Finding a product or service to buy is not hard, and not what consumers are looking for. Let’s face it, we can all sit home in our underwear, google until our heart's content and have everything we need and want delivered right to our door.
So when potential customers reach out to you, they are looking for something else, something more. They are reaching out to gain things like information, feedback, answers to their questions, details about your product, solutions to their challenges and most importantly, someone they believe cares and is willing to help them. In other words, they want you to accelerate your sales cycle and give them the information they are looking for.
The longer you take to respond, the more difficult you make it to give them the information they are looking for, the more they translate that to believe that you are not interested in helping them achieve their goals.
The flip of that is true as well. The easier you make working with you, the more friction you take out of the buying cycle. Clients will equate the speed and accuracy of the information you provide with you caring, and will be more willing to trust you.
4 Strategies To Drive Customer Responsiveness and Accelerate Your Sales Cycles
Create The Time
Everyday customers are going to fill out contact sheets on your website, call your place of business, or text you wanting information. Both you and your team are busy, busy serving current customers, doing paperwork, and everything else it takes to run a business. So you need to create the time for customer response. Set the times of the day you will check the website, how often and when you will respond to voicemails, and a time you and your team set aside each day to ensure if your customers or prospects need information, they can easily and effectively get it from you.
Engage Your Team
Ensure that everyone on your team understands that customers are important, and without them you do not have a business. Shift the thinking from the customer's desire for information and feedback from a nuisance to a privilege. And then engage your team in when and how to prioritize customer response, and get them to take pride and ownership in finding ways to increase response time, the customer experience, and ease of use.
One of the best ways to increase customer response time is to let customers do it themselves. COVID really changed the acceptance of self-service, and customers like to know they can get on your website or use their patient portals to get and find the information that they need. Make it easy for them to help themselves. Customers just want the information, they do not care who gives it to them.
Take Your Medicine
And last but not least, insist that every member of your team, at least twice a year, walk through business as a customer. Take a long, honest look at what it is like to do business with you. Can they find the information that they need? How long does it take for your team to respond? Is finding the information you want intuitive, or does it take a rocket scientist to figure it out?
We live in a world where consumers control the buying cycle, and winning a new customer and keeping an existing customer comes down to how easy you are to do business with. The moment that you increase the time it takes for a customer to get what they need, you open the door for your competition.