Time kills deals.
Every new business person feels this statement in their bones. They all walk a fine line of pushing to get a new client on board while remaining patient. Most hate to be considered pushy. Given the current state and trajectory of the market though, prospects are going to ask for and take extra time to think and decide before taking action on signing a new agency. In fact, what we have seen in the past and are already seeing this summer is a change in how buyers make decisions.
Slower decision-making does not need to slow down your sales process
With budgets being reconsidered, revenue projections changing, and more scrutiny around every dollar spent, it’s no surprise why the buying process for services is slowing down. In a recent study by Forrester, they found that 43% of business buyers said they would “reduce the number of suppliers they use.” This stat should give any salesperson a bit of a pause, both anxiety over churn and excitement for opportunity. So what does this mean for you and your agency?
It means that you must be thoughtful in engaging prospects and clients. The process will take longer, so you need to be prepared for that mentally and with your own processes. It also means that you can’t just rely on one key touchpoint or interaction. You need to create a process and system that will keep you in front of your prospects, even if they aren’t ready to buy today.
Supporting their buying journey
The best way to do this is by helping and providing value in every interaction. Whether that’s sending them an article you think they would find interesting, or sending them a point-of-view (POV) on an industry trend, make sure that your interactions are about them and not just about trying to make a sale.
New Business people also need to be ready to ask the tough questions about their prospect’s buying process. It can sometimes be an awkward conversation, but the way people have signed an agreement in the past with a small group or single decision-maker is probably not going to be the case in the current market.
Here are some questions all should ask before you get too deep in the sales process:
- How has your buying process changed over the last 60 days?
- Who should we include in a review of these proposals?
- Is there any customization I can provide on your Statement of Work (SOW) or Proposal that will better help you sell this to your team?
The key behind these questions is to make sure you are coming along the same side of the table as them to help them better understand, represent, and sell your service to the rest of their team. You don’t want to give the impression that you are bypassing them as the decision-maker. Instead, you want to help them come prepared to sell this to the collective buying group. By being prepared for a longer sales process, better understanding their decision process, and by being helpful and consultative at every interaction, you will be in a much better position to win new business…even in an uncertain market.