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Shortening the Sales Cycle

5 tips for decreasing the time needed to turn a lead into a signed contract

May 10, 2019
remodelers have to deal with too many product choices, which can make the sales cycle longer

Too many product choices is one of many factors that can lengthen the sales cycle. Others include indecisiveness in selecting a remodeler and fears about the economy.

I’ve watched the length of the sales cycle steadily increase over my many years in the industry. Once a relatively short, predictable period of time that could be outlined and followed with little to no issue, the cycle has morphed into a prolonged headache for contractors and clients alike. What was formerly a 30-day sales cycle is now 60 days or more.

It’s no secret that people today are more strapped for time than ever. Combine that with seemingly endless product choices and the increased trust in online reviews, and you end up with analysis paralysis: Your prospects are inundated with so much information that they struggle to reach a decision. 

Here are a few tips for countering the lengthened sales cycle we so often see today:

1] Inspect the Data: Look at the average length of your sales cycle in the past three years. Measure from when you received the lead to when the construction contract was signed, and compare that to what you’re seeing in your business today. 

Then take a look at the individual leads. Was there a noticeable turning point where your sales cycle increased? What was happening in your company and in the industry at that time? 

Set concrete goals for shortening time spent on first meetings and presentations, and streamline meetings with an outline of the major points to be covered  

2] Utilize Your Sales Team: Come together as a group to create a list of the top reasons that an increased sales cycle hurts the company and the client. Approaching prospects who are dragging their feet with a ready-made list gives the salesperson authority and reminds the client that they suffer the consequences of a delayed sales cycle as much as your company does. 

Your list may include reasons such as a longer wait for product delivery, increased costs to cover delays, and heightened stress if the project continues past the end date originally discussed.

3] Do Your Part: Modify your company’s internal processes to shave time off the sales cycle. This can be done by setting goals for shortening time spent on first meetings and presentations as well as streamlining all meetings by approaching them with an outline of major points to be covered with the clients. 

4] Group the Prospects: Clients fall into one of three categories: fast, normal, and slow. 

5] Educate: Knowledge is power. Talk to prospects up front about your company’s availability and how delays will affect that. You can share the project manager’s schedule to create urgency and help clients understand that they are not your only prospect or project. 

Other items to address include the typical amount of time spent on projects like theirs and how the season affects timing and speed of completion.

Being in control of as many factors as possible helps you manage and get ahead of the inevitable delays that come with any remodeling project, leaving you with happy clients and a profitable company. 

About the Author

About the Author

Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at mrichardson@mgrichardson.com(link sends e-mail) or 301.275.0208.

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