How to Stop Wasting Time in Sales
If you sometimes feel like it’s taking forever to close customers, and your sales cycle is way too long, then you may be wasting time in sales by mismanaging your energy with your prospects.
How can you be more efficient in your sales processes? How can you maintain your sales momentum so you close at a satisfying pace?
In this article, we’ll explain how you can stop wasting time in sales and start achieving your goals.
Keep prospects engaged during the discovery phase
According to anecdotal data from the Cerebral Selling blog, the sales experts found that the deals they ended up losing to competitors had extended discovery phases—about three times longer than the discovery phases for the deals they ended up winning.
We’re not suggesting that you rush your prospects through the discovery phase in order to close the deal quickly. Instead, you’ll want to be highly attuned to your prospects’ needs and objections during this phase so that you can tailor it to his or her needs.
Ask the right questions and you’ll be able to keep the person engaged or decide that person isn’t a good fit.
If the consumer has shown little to no interest after you’ve nurtured the lead for a while, it might be time to mark them as a time-waster and try again later. Different ways to engage a client during the discovery phase can depend on your business, but engagement can come from content that you post; personal touches, like a phone call or communication follow-up; and exclusive offers.
These strategies are more likely to move a mildly interested customer to “engaged,” or engaged to actual consumer, but less likely to move an uninterested customer up to interested, so it is not worth your time and effort to execute these methods on deaf ears.
Stop wasting time in sales by identifying employee red flags
If you think the prospect is not a good fit, then you need to be honest with yourself about this realization. Holding out hope that this person is going to become interested in your product or service is a waste of time and energy that you could be investing in more qualified and interested prospects.
Over time, you’ll notice some common red flags: it’s difficult to reach the person, or the person has a lot of objections, or the person doesn’t really know what he or she wants. Stop being overly optimistic, and start cutting ties with the time-wasters.
It can be difficult to let go of time-wasters at first, because sales reps like to see as many leads as possible; but remember, it’s quality of quantity, especially when analyzing how to most fruitfully spend your time and effort.
Spend less time on cold leads and more time on strategically networking
Cold leads can take years to turn into actual business, and much of that up-front work is put in by sales and marketing. Trying to get a prospective consumer interested in something they are not actively looking for can be a big time-waster.
You can send emails, call, or create ads with hooks or limited-time deals, but, ultimately, if the consumer is not interested in your service or product at this time, it goes nowhere. And they are so bombarded with ads and pitches that they are unlikely to remember your business when their needs do align.
That time and effort can be better spent pinpointing potential audiences that are more likely to take an active interest in your business. This conceptual networking can be done through social media, chambers of commerce, or B2B campaigning.
Specifying your audience allows your marketing to be more specialized to their needs, so you’re more likely to resonate with them and garner interest in your product or service.
Streamline your workflow with automation strategies
Did you know that only 35.2% of a sales rep’s time is spent on functions related to selling?
Instead, they’re doing manual tasks, such as prospecting and writing emails. If you’re not already taking advantage of automation strategies, then you could be wasting lots of time and missing out on opportunities.
For example, some tools can allow you to schedule automated emails that get sent based on your client’s actions. By using automation strategies and tools, you can spend less time doing the grunt work and more time selling to your prospects.
Automation can also help you take care of distributing content via methods other than email, as well as scheduling consultations in a calendar. If your strength is selling, spend less time doing the clerical stuff by automating as much as possible.
Wasting time in sales is a matter of perspective
With all the technology and resources available, you should never feel like you’re wasting your time in sales.
Start thinking outside of the box, and start closing more deals on a shorter timeline.
Lastly, remember that we often consider time spent on failures as “wasted,” when that’s far from true. If you spent a ton of time on trying to close a deal, and it just didn’t happen, that isn’t time wasted. That’s time that had to be spent, and no sale is ever guaranteed.
Plus, you probably learned something from the process, be it personal or professional. And sharpening your sales skills is never a waste.