Today, I would like to share some ideas with you, about the importance of timing in the sales process. The idea for this post came to me, whilst standing in a queue last night buying some milk!
While I was waiting to be served, I noticed that the shop had some pumpkin shaped, Halloween chocolate on a shelf, with the price heavily reduced. Although the chocolate was still within its sell-by date and would have tasted exactly the same as it would have on Halloween, who wants pumpkin shaped, Halloween chocolate in December? No one! Even with its price discounted by 75%, it was stuck on the shelf unsold. That’s because it’s moment had passed.
Here’s the thing: The sales process is time sensitive. If you have a prospective customer, who is thinking about buying from you and you ask for the sale before they are ready – you will lose the sale. Equally, if you wait too long to ask for the sale, you will also lose it – because their interest has cooled. They are no longer a hot prospect!
Think of the sales process as being like a saucepan of cold water placed on a hot stove. The water starts off cold, then it gets warmer and warmer until it reaches boiling point. In business, that’s the point where the prospective customer is most likely to buy from you. When we turn the stove off, the water quickly stops boiling and cools, until it reaches room temperature. In sales, every degree in heat that’s lost, makes it less likely that you will get the sale – Until you have zero chance because they have gone elsewhere or are simply no longer interested.
Here’s what 23 years in the business tells me
In my experience, the majority of companies wait too long, rather than ask too soon. I’ve lost count of how many times people have told me that they didn’t want to rush the prospective customer into making a decision – only to find that when they finally did ask for the sale, the customer had gone elsewhere!
In your business, you need to identify precisely at what point in your negotiating process, your prospective customers are at their hottest. That’s the point where you need to ask them to make a decision. Not before. Not after. Get this right and you will massively increase the number of sales you make.
Have you figured out when your prospects are at their hottest? Do you have any tips on how to get the timing right, that you would like to share? What do you think?