Home > Education > Sales Cycle: How to shorten the sales cycle.

Sales Cycle: How to shorten the sales cycle.

For sake of discussion let's say that...

...the prospect trusts you, respects you and values the relationship.
...you are working with a prospect who has the authority, budget, want and need for your product or service.
...the prospect feels you have the most compelling value proposition.
...both you and the prospect understand how your solution will help him/her reach his/her desired outcome.
...the prospect has not voiced an objection.
...the prospect has not yet decided to move forward with the sale.

Given those assumptions what can you do that is in your control to shorten the sales cycle? - by Community Mailbox
All of those things may be true. However, what is also apparent is that currently the prospect is working around all of that and will probably continue to do so until all the things behind the scene--not apparent to the seller-- are in place or resolved TO THE POINT where a purchase can be made.

The salesperson cannot control those things. However it is possible to get through the door and lead them in management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the buying cycle.

Unfortunately most salespeople would be predisposed to stay on the selling end thinking they could speed the process in that way. But the fact is they won't speed the process. - by Ace Coldiron
All of those things may be true. However, what is also apparent is that currently the prospect is working around all of that and will probably continue to do so until all the things behind the scene--not apparent to the seller-- are in place or resolved TO THE POINT where a purchase can be made.

The salesperson cannot control those things. However it is possible to get through the door and lead them in management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the buying cycle.

Unfortunately most salespeople would be predisposed to stay on the selling end thinking they could speed the process in that way. But the fact is they won't speed the process.
I absolutely agree and couldn't have said it better myself. Nice post Ace! thmbp2; - by Jeff Blackwell
An important step in opportunity qualification is identifying the prospect's decision criteria, i.e. "How does your organization make decisions of this nature?" If you gather this information during the opportunity qualification process, there should be no mystery as to whether or not a prospect will buy. If you meet their criteria, they should buy. If they don't, you should ask why they are not buying. It's as simple as that. - by Alan Rigg
"How does your organization make decisions of this nature?" If you gather this information during the opportunity qualification process, there should be no mystery as to whether or not a prospect will buy.
How would knowing how the organization makes decisions remove any mystery as to whether or not the prospect will buy?

For example, what if the prospect replies that as standard procedure, all three C-Level people need to review the proposal, and that the plant manager and production manager will also submit their recommendations as to whether or not to buy? - by Ace Coldiron
For sake of discussion let's say that...

...the prospect trusts you, respects you and values the relationship.
...you are working with a prospect who has the authority, budget, want and need for your product or service.
...the prospect feels you have the most compelling value proposition.
...both you and the prospect understand how your solution will help him/her reach his/her desired outcome.
...the prospect has not voiced an objection.
...the prospect has not yet decided to move forward with the sale.

Given those assumptions what can you do that is in your control to shorten the sales cycle?
... However, what is also apparent is that currently the prospect is working around all of that and will probably continue to do so until all the things behind the scene--not apparent to the seller-- are in place or resolved TO THE POINT where a purchase can be made.
Ace I found a post in a previous thread where Sharon Drew Morgen writes about this:

I'd like to briefly say something about how buyers decide,and possibly put to rest the confusion between sales and decisioning. Sales is based on gathering/understanding needs and product placement. We've spent centuries discovering the best ways to help buyers understand our product and helping sales people understand buyers. Yet this is only half of the equation.

What we have never been taught to do is to manage what happens when buyers say "I'll call you back" and then go away and......... and... and do WHAT? Indeed, we don't know. We just have to wait (and wait and wait....) until they call us back. Sales has never known how to manage this end of the buying cycle, because it involved a mysterious decision making process that buyers go through on their own, using their own unique, and hidden, process.

But here is what they do: before they can make a change, do anything different, add something new, etc. they must make sure that the entire range of people, policies, relationships, rules, etc. (i.e. the system the buyer lives in) buy-in to adding something new to what they are already doing. Make no mistake: there is some sort of work-around happening that sits in the place of your product (For people purchasing a house, they are living in one and have a roof over their heads so don't need to decide immediately; for software sales, for example, there are programming work-arounds.). Whatever it is, it has 'worked', and if buyers truly had an immediate need they would have made a purchase already.

So buyers have to recognize and manage all of the internal issues that need to take place BEFORE they'll make a purchasing decision. But here is the tricky concept for sales people: an outsider will never, ever understand what is going on behind closed doors. We may know everyone on the decision team (and even that is a stretch); we may understand the need; our product may be a perfect, perfect fit (but we've all lost sales in which that's true). But we will never understand old relationship issues, or relevant policy issues, or old vendor/partner issues. And until those are managed, no change will happen and no decision to purchase will occur.
... The salesperson cannot control those things. However it is possible to get through the door and lead them in management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the buying cycle.
Ace I found a post in a previous thread where Sharon Drew Morgen writes about this:

You can’t make the buyer’s decision for him;

You don’t have the internal relationships, the history, the team trust to effect change.

You are an outsider, and until you are hired by the prospect, you will never fully understand anything more than the area immediately around the Identified Problem.

You won’t be able to tell the CEO that he hired the wrong people, or needs to shift departments heads, etc. unless you are an Executive Coach and are paid to do this;

You won’t be able to address the entire decision team and get them to change direction, disconnect relationships, or fire the current vendor unless you are an internal change-management consultant getting paid to do this.

Unfortunately for you, the buyer just has to do this part alone. But you can help define the structure of the process for them. Not to mention that the buyer will have all of the answers and then be able to make a purchasing decision in half the time, without a price criterion. You helping the buyer know these things for himself will encourage the trust you have been seeking
... Unfortunately most salespeople would be predisposed to stay on the selling end thinking they could speed the process in that way. But the fact is they won't speed the process.
Ace I found a post in a previous thread where Sharon Drew Morgen writes about this:

Until now, sellers have sat and waited for buyers to call back, not knowing what they were doing. But it's possible to lend a hand, so long as they use a different method, other than 'sales'. Sellers must add a new element to their sales process. Not only must they understand need and what problem the buyer needs to resolve, but they must also help buyers manage their unique, idiosyncratic systems issues internally, to free them up to make a buying decision. The hard part here is that sellers have no way of understanding these private internal issues because they are not problem, need, or solution based.
One last quote from Sharon Drew Morgen that may provide some insight into why "Asking" for the sale and/or "Asking" why they haven't bought may not shorten the sales cycle:

If you are lucky, and your customer/client has done all (ALL) their internal/systemic 'homework', they will call or walk in, plunk their money down, and buy. Those are those lucky sales that happen occassionally.

But if you experience customers saying they know what they want, and then they go away and don't close as quickly as you think they might, what do you think they are doing??? they are lining up their decision criteria and managing their internal people/policies/relationships so there won't be disruption.

Just because people recognize and understand their Identified Problem doesn't mean they know how to resolve it - or they would have already! once people exhibit a need, it means they haven't decided to resolve it yet. either they can't, or they don't know how. so knowing the problem, knowing the solution, having the money, being ready and willing, doesn't mean they'll buy.

... the time it takes buyers to come up with their OWN ANSWERS (which are absolutely hidden from us, and often at first hidden from them as well) is the length of the sales cycle. we've attempted to sell by understanding needs, solving problems, and placing product. but the buyer has an entire series of strange, unique issues they need to manage, and there has never been a way in to manage these issues before now.
- by Jeff Blackwell
I agree with Ace and will add one more thing you can do. Many of us call ourselves consultative sales people. If we are a consultant we are hired to point out things that don't work. In this example it seems what is not working is the prospects decision making ability.

Be bold and call him on it in a professional way. Leaders appreciate people that will challenge them or ask questions that others will not ask of them. My question might be....

Joe, I believe I have done all I can do to help you understand the value of making this investment. You have told me you see the value, the connection to your goals and the decision making power is in your court. I appreciate your trust in me and it is because of this trust I feel obligated to tell you that I believe you indecision is holding back progress at your company and I am not sure why you are doing that. Can you help me understand?

If you can pull this off you are selling with confidence and serving your customers. What you are hoping for is flushing out the objection or delay; you have a right to know if you have done your job well.

See ya - Rene - by Sales Manager Now
If you can pull this off you are selling with confidence and serving your customers. What you are hoping for is flushing out the objection or delay; you have a right to know if you have done your job well.
I look at objections as stances of resistance. It IS true that they are not often revealed, and the ability to "flush" them out is a worthwhile skill.

However, the prolongment of the buying cycle is not always due to objections. Every buying cycle has internal issues that must be resolved internally and it is inertia--the tendency to work around the status quo complete with discomforts that the status quo brings--that must be addressed.

In the selling process, the best salespeople transcend the objections by weakening them--not destroying them. Simply put, we show them that the plusses of moving forward outweigh doing nothing.

But the internal buying process is a different platform--one where pieces must be in place in order to buy. Those pieces do not always represent objections so much as the need for the people involved to align themselves, and align what they personally manage, with the decision to buy. All of that involves decision management, and not a continuation of the outside sales process which may have run its course and done so in an an excellent manner.

The goal here is to be allowed in the door and to take on a leadership role of helping the prospect manage that decision making process. - by Ace Coldiron
This has become a really great thread and I can more clearly see what was intended by the original question - more so than when I'd previously answered.

In response to what Jeff quoted Sharon saying about salespeople not having been taught how to deal with "I'll call you back" type responses: Marketers HAVE been taught to manage what happens when buyers don't make a decision.

Marketing, specifically direct response marketing, is about multiplying yourself as a salesperson (and your best sales presentation) by leveraging different forms media rather than doing it face to face or over the phone.

What we've long understood is that buyers buy when they are ready to buy, NOT when you're ready to sell.

With that said, my original post still holds true... you still have to ask, and if they say no, they still need to know something to get them to a yes. Whether or not YOU can provide that information that will permit them to say yes is irrelevant, as perhaps only time will reveal what it is they need to know (or help meet the necessary conditions).

So what do we do as marketers? "Follow-up until they buy or they die." Or until they unsubscribe... shds;

We remain on top of consciousness until they are ready to buy. We leverage media and technology to do that without killing ourselves by calling on every prospect we've ever sat down with who said no...

We do more than just talk about our products, services, and company; I might send a message to my list about how I played a great game of Tennis - my best in weeks, perhaps tying in a message about how I took action to solve a problem I'd been having with my backhand - and how the only way I could have solved it was to accept the help...

"You might not have any idea how much it means to me to have improved my backhand, but we both know how much it'd mean for you/your company to be able to __________. All I had to do was accept the help.

ANYWAY - I'm here if you need me. thmbp2;"

So, you can try to shorten the sales cycle with a single prospect, or you can focus your attention on the prospects who ARE ready now and be on top of consciousness when the others come around...

Or have a system in place to be attentive to both for you... ;bg - by MarcEnriquez
With that said, my original post still holds true... you still have to ask, and if they say no, they still need to know something to get them to a yes.
That follows the conventional training mode that objections or stalls are merely signs that the prospect needs more information. It means we haven't done a complete job. That thinking aligns with the idea that if we do everything right in the sales process, the prospect will buy. OR---if they haven't bought we have done something wrong.

I no longer view those premises as valid.I haven't for some time, mostly as a result of my favoring strategic principles in selling. I believe that has directly influenced me more recently in aligning myself with Sharon Drew's uncoveries about the buying process. - by Ace Coldiron
That follows the conventional training mode that objections or stalls are merely signs that the prospect needs more information. It means we haven't done a complete job. That thinking aligns with the idea that if we do everything right in the sales process, the prospect will buy. OR---if they haven't bought we have done something wrong.
Most of what I wrote after the statement you quoted shows we're in agreement, actually --

They DO need to know something more (that one or more other conditions are met) to be able to say yes... it just may not be something the salesperson can meet. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

That's why I talked about the "follow-up until they buy or die" mantra of marketers. And to clarify, we follow-up after they buy too so that they'll stay on our lists and potentially do business with us again.

Salespeople need to demonstrate that they're not only of service to those buy right now... - by MarcEnriquez
....the inherent limitations of sales process...
The inherent LIMITATIONS.

"Sometimes what sounds blasphemous is really empowering."

To get better at what we are doing now often means realizing the limitations of what we're doing now. - by Ace Coldiron
Ace,

I'm not sure what change management is but willing to listen.

Don - by DPinger
Ace,

I'm not sure what change management is but willing to listen.

Don
This definition off of Wik is very close to how I interpreted the term in these discussions. Actually, when you think about it, the term itself is almost self-explanatory.
Change management is a structured approach to transitioning teams and organizations from a current state to a desired future state.
Just for my own curiosity, why did the use of that term strike you as something you didn't understand?

Right now I think there are some missing pieces that, if they were present, could help us engage and embrace a topic for which one particular author (Morgen) seems to be the only reference. I think that if the topic is worthwhile, which I believe it is, we have to do our own work on it, and perhaps supply those missing pieces. "Change management" is a chunk that she has provided--a piece that we can put in place in order to grasp a difficult concept. Another such chunk is "work around" which is not a term we salespeople are apt to use. I love how she presents it.

So far, I think she is missing the chunk of Intention, and perhaps if we explore that more, we can up the ante.

I'd hate to be the one to have to teach this stuff. - by Ace Coldiron
Right now I think there are some missing pieces that, if they were present, could help us engage and embrace a topic for which one particular author (Morgen) seems to be the only reference. I think that if the topic is worthwhile, which I believe it is, we have to do our own work on it, and perhaps supply those missing pieces. "Change management" is a chunk that she has provided--a piece that we can put in place in order to grasp a difficult concept. Another such chunk is "work around" which is not a term we salespeople are apt to use. I love how she presents it.
IMO, what's often lacking yet required to understand this concept is an expanded perspective (can't see the forest for the trees) which will be difficult to achieve unless you first empty your cup. - by Jeff Blackwell
I tend to agree with the others - there usually is "something going on" that you have missed. It's either you or them. On the "you" side of it, maybe it is possible that you've become too relaxed with the customer while building the relationship to this level and are not really being as diligent as you should have been. From the "them" side of the equation, it could be any number of things, especially with how circumstances may have changed over the past year.

My short-cut I used to teach was to ASK for the TASK. Some times all it takes is to probe easily as to why things have slowed up. Other times, start with asking yourself if you are sure you've earned the permissions required to ask for progress. - by dlcottin
On the "you" side of it, maybe it is possible that you've become too relaxed with the customer while building the relationship to this level and are not really being as diligent as you should have been.
What state would be better than "relaxed" in this case? Unrelaxed just doesn't seem appropriate.

By diligent do you mean persistant--somehow expressing that you--as the seller--do not want them to address the issues on the buying side and you would prefer they do not put in place the things required for the purchase? - by Ace Coldiron
This is a difficult question to answer since there’s not enough information about the context of this selling situation. We all have a tendency to ask questions and provide answers in the context of our own selling experience, but we don’t always identify where we’re coming from.

There’s a spectrum of selling situations - transactional small deals with few stakeholders and short sales cycles to complex large deals with lots of stakeholders and very long sales cycles. So I’ll make an arbitrary assumption that this is a more complex sale.

First, let’s start with the root assumption in the question – the sales cycle can be shortened.

The sales cycle is the sales cycle – every deal in every vertical market at each company has its own optimum length. Sales cycles can’t be shortened. Sales Professionals and their respective companies can only make mistakes that lengthen the cycle time!

So what are some of the big mistakes Sales Professionals make that lengthen the sales cycle?
  • Too narrowly focused in the deal – Sales Professionals often make a beeline to the decision-maker ignoring other people that have power and influence in the deal. Even though the decision-maker likes the solution there’s still a lot of competing interests and internal selling that has to take place since the Sales Professional didn’t cover those bases before presenting the solution. (see Sharon Drew Morgan's Buying Facilitation)
  • Misdiagnosing the role people pay in the deal – If you’ve been selling for awhile then I’m sure you’ve experienced the person that claims they’re the decision-maker only to find out later they’re not.
  • No/weak compelling gap – the compelling gap establishes the sense of urgency. Yes, there’s a need, yes you have the best solution of all the competitors, but in the context of the impacts and cost of doing nothing vs. the disruption of change and importance of other initiatives - the sense of urgency could still be low. If you look at your pipeline and have deals with close dates that keep getting moved out into the future you know what I mean.
  • No/wrong internal sponsor – no significant deal can be won without an internal sponsor that has power or influence. A sponsor will help you construct a compelling business case for change, tell/introduce you to the people who have power or influence, give you competitive information, tell you they want you to win, help you construct your final presentation and will sell internally on your behalf.
  • Underestimating/ignoring the incumbent – incumbents have a competitive advantage. Your competitor is trying not to lose a client or is attempting to further penetrate the account. Think about what you and your company would be willing to do at the last minute if you were about to lose an important account or a competitor was trying to get a foothold. A good incumbent is a threat right to the end.
  • The deal is not winnable – All deals are not winnable and there’s a host of reasons why, but I won’t go into that here. However, it’s important to point out that the sales cycle for a deal that progress to a closed lost state is twice and long as one that progresses to closed won.
In summary: If the deal is winnable and the Sales Professional has covered all the bases above then the sales cycle should be synchronized with the buying process. If the urgency of the business case for change is clear in the context of other initiatives, the business value and the ROI of the solution is compelling, and the incumbent has been neutralized - then the length of the sales cycle is optimized. - by mnicksjr
The sales cycle is the sales cycle – every deal in every vertical market at each company has its own optimum length. Sales cycles can’t be shortened. Sales Professionals and their respective companies can only make mistakes that lengthen the cycle time!
Within the context I use to interpret what you've said here, I cannot at this point disagree.

The last sentence brings to mind the aspects of vulnerability and invulnerability which I think has been lacking so far in these discussions, and in Sharon Drew Morgen's expository writing on the topic. - by Ace Coldiron
Several things come to mind immediately.
1. The prospect has the want and need, but where is his pain? He's not going to move forward until his pain is sufficient to cause him to take action. Is he aware of the pain? The first thing I would do is to evaluate the pain factor.

2. You say he has the authority but does he carry the entire team? Is there a critical person on his team saying, "If you throw out my old system I will quit?" The second thing I would do is to find that out.

3. Are you credible? Does the prospect believe you have the capacity to perform and actually deliver on your promises? The third thing I would do is to find that out.

4. Are there any time constraints internal to the buyer's company? We've not explored this at all. That's the fourth thing I would do. - by DaveB
Sales Professionals and their respective companies can only make mistakes that lengthen the cycle time!
I want to ask another question which references that statement.

Could a "mistake" by a sales professional or his/her respective company involve failure to play a role in the internal decision management regarding issues and alignment that must take place before buying? - by Ace Coldiron
For sake of discussion let's say that...

...the prospect trusts you, respects you and values the relationship.
...you are working with a prospect who has the authority, budget, want and need for your product or service.
...the prospect feels you have the most compelling value proposition.
...both you and the prospect understand how your solution will help him/her reach his/her desired outcome.
...the prospect has not voiced an objection.
...the prospect has not yet decided to move forward with the sale.

Given those assumptions what can you do that is in your control to shorten the sales cycle?
This is just a good start. Now is necessary to begin the sale using all the trust created: In a consultative way ask:
"Mr/Mrs Prospect, considering you mentioned you feel this is the most compelling value proposition you received and that this solution will help you to reach your desired outcome, then what is impeding to decide to go forward?"
And from this point on, help the prospect to take the decision he/she has to take. - by Alberto Couto
Several things come to mind immediately.
1. The prospect has the want and need, but where is his pain? He's not going to move forward until his pain is sufficient to cause him to take action. Is he aware of the pain? The first thing I would do is to evaluate the pain factor.

2. You say he has the authority but does he carry the entire team? Is there a critical person on his team saying, "If you throw out my old system I will quit?" The second thing I would do is to find that out.

3. Are you credible? Does the prospect believe you have the capacity to perform and actually deliver on your promises? The third thing I would do is to find that out.

4. Are there any time constraints internal to the buyer's company? We've not explored this at all. That's the fourth thing I would do.
When you consider the original example was provided through a third party narrative to facilitate this discussion, I believe we have to accept what was stated. I interpret that narrative as one that reveals an Intent on the prospect's part to buy. The topic is about "how to shorten the sales cycle." - by Ace Coldiron
This is just a good start. Now is necessary to begin the sale using all the trust created: In a consultative way ask:
"Mr/Mrs Prospect, considering you mentioned you feel this is the most compelling value proposition you received and that this solution will help you to reach your desired outcome, then what is impeding to decide to go forward?"
By "impeding" do you mean taking the time to engage in a buying decision process that would include resolving internal issues and aligning agreement on the purchase? If a decision making process is active, could it be viewed as impeded--or stalled? - by Ace Coldiron
Earlier I used the term "invulnerability" in a post and I apologize for not clarifying.

In sales, an invulnerable process or offer does not guarantee winning the sale. It simply means that it is correct enough to not lose "by its own hand." It's a strategic term.

It could be interpreted that the work and offer represented in the original post was invulnerable. However a sale has yet to occur. - by Ace Coldiron
Your observation about vulnerability is dead on. Most Sales Professionals don't take into account that they're competing or they don't understand how to compete effectively. As a result they lose deals to strategic sellers and don't even realize they were out sold. - by mnicksjr
I want to ask another question which references that statement.

Could a "mistake" by a sales professional or his/her respective company involve failure to play a role in the internal decision management regarding issues and alignment that must take place before buying?
Yes.

Lets say Salesperson A is a strategic seller and Salesperson B is a tactical seller. If Salesperson A covers all the bases I outlined and is perceived as a strategic advisor. Salesperson A's behavior demonstrates an intent to solve business problems before their solution is sold and in some cases before the solution is formulated. Salesperson B will be seen as a typical Salesperson that has something to sell. Salesperson A can often make the final presentation and close before Salesperson B even gets a chance to present.

We hear a lot about differentiating our solution, but forget how important it is to differentiate ourselves from the competition's Salesperson. In situations where the solutions are relatively equal this is often the deciding factor. - by mnicksjr
At this point the customer's timeline seems to be unknown. Assuming the salesman has already 'asked' for the business then re-establish the timeline for this deal - "It sounds like we have an agreement here. What's your timeline for implementation?" Be prepared to provide an advantage for early adoption.

Cliff - by CliffLWilcox
From my reading of the question it appears the the logical criteria for making the sale has been met but the emotional has not. Buying is largely an emotional exercise supported by logic (a fact most of us get wrong). All the facts in the world will not motivate a customer to buy if you fail to get them emotionally involved. - by Fibonacci
From my reading of the question it appears the the logical criteria for making the sale has been met but the emotional has not. Buying is largely an emotional exercise supported by logic (a fact most of us get wrong). All the facts in the world will not motivate a customer to buy if you fail to get them emotionally involved.
Did you miss the word "feels" in the original post?
...the prospect feels you have the most compelling value proposition.
...both you and the prospect understand how your solution will help him/her reach his/her desired outcome.
Feelings relate to emotions. It's a reason many professionals who sell ask "How do you feel about....?"

Also, do you believe that the "logical criteria for making the sale" is the same as the logical criteria for buying?

I want to also point out that the logical criteria in either process is limited to the logical criteria on the table--that which is present or top of mind.

Something similar could be said of the emotional factor. The emotions that are present during the selling process are not necessarily carried back into the buying process where certain issues and alignment have to be resolved and put in place for a purchase to take place. Others behind the scenes whose alignment might be required would not necessarily share the same emotions. And yet--when those issues are resolved, a purchase order can be forthcoming.

The topic here is how to shorten the sales cycle. It is NOT: What did we do wrong to keep the cycle at its present length? - by Ace Coldiron
Participation in this thread has been fantastic. Kudos to everyone who has joined the discussion. thmbp2;

I wanted to point out that there are two avenues to shortening the sales cycle being discussed in this thread.
  1. How to shorten the sales cycle via sales process.
  2. How to shorten the sales cycle via shortening the buying cycle.
How to shorten the sales cycle via sales process.
The majority of suggestions (ask for the sale, ask about the holdup, quantify the cost of inaction, sell the sizzle, associate prospects motivation with product/service, improve discovery and qualification, flush out the objection, confirming information, be more diligent, evaluate pain factor, credibility, re-establish timeline, get the prospect emotionally involved, etc.) in this thread fall into the category of sales process.

These suggestions ALL hold potential, when applicable, for affecting movement within the sales cycle ASSUMING that the prospective buyer has "recognized and managed all of their own internal systemic issues that need to take place before they'll make a purchasing decision" (which is part and parcel of their "Buying Cycle") yet are rendered ineffective in situations where the assumption is not true.

For whatever reasons and with few exceptions sales training, education and/or discussions operate from the premise that the prospective buyer has in fact recognized and managed those internal issues. That one (1) false assumption is responsible for an almost unbelievable volume of lost revenue and protracted sales cycles.

Sales people don't typically see/look for it and sales process doesn't manage it so what happens? Prospective buyers go away and try to figure it out on their own. At that juncture salespeople are advised to stay in contact with the prospective buyer until they figure it out or don't and bail out.

How to shorten the sales cycle via shortening the buying cycle.
A shorter buying cycle results in a shorter sales cycle. As Ace pointed out, "...it is possible to get through the door and lead them in management of the changes, decision making, and resolutions that have to take place in order to buy. This could be effective in shortening the buying cycle."

Learning how to facilitate the buying decision is not within the scope of this thread although recognition/awareness of its impact is. Instruction/training in this new sales paradigm is available from Sharon Drew Morgen the foremost sales authority on the subject. - by Jeff Blackwell
Learning how to facilitate the buying decision is not within the scope of this thread although recognition/awareness of its impact is.
I think the intent of this thread has been to uncover an entire new area of opportunity for members here by shedding light on the fact that the buying process exists and is managed outside of the realm of the sales process.

I'll speak for myself when I say that throughout my career I have always drawn my own maps for navigation and success in new areas and new opportunities. I don't wait for my Zig Ziglar newsletter to arrive before I make my next move in making a living.

Learning is work. I'm pleased that the contributors on this thread for the most part have not looked upon SalesPractice as a Nugget Exchange, but rather as an opportunity to contribute to the exploration of new territories. - by Ace Coldiron
It looks like this thread has run its course so I will go ahead and close it. Thank you to everyone who participated. :) - by Jeff Blackwell
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