The analysts are, in increasing numbers, starting to tout the end of the recession, but for most of us, it still seems quite slow out there. Even if you’re the most talented salesperson, you probably have noticed that an annoying number of your prospects are stuck in your pipeline. OK, it’s not the most polite way to phrase this, but you could be suffering from a case of sales constipation. No, a swig of milk of magnesia isn’t going to do the job here, but there are strategies to get you moving along again. Here’s how:
- Keep filling and replenishing your pipeline. You want to make sure that your pipeline is continuously being filled and replenished with qualified prospects. By always having individuals at different stages of the sales process, you’ll consistently have some that are coming through as new business.
- Stay on their grid. The sales cycle has become much longer for almost everyone. It can be easy to drop off of a prospect’s radar if you’re not diligent about your touch-point management. Fine-tune a program that utilizes phone, e-mail and snail mail, as well as the three I’s – invitations, introductions and information.
- Don’t give up. Patience is needed more than ever right now. Yes, you might feel like throwing in the towel with a prospect who seems to relish sitting on the fence and stringing you along. You might even feel like expressing your personal opinion to them about their inability to make a decision. However, keep this in mind: You will never reclaim any of your return on time if you give up. So, hang in there. You’ll be glad that you did.
- Realize that it might not be the economy. The recession has become a great excuse for prospects who just don’t want to tell you that they didn’t see value in what you were offering. Find out if this is what’s causing the stall. If it is a cash flow issue, you might need to hang on a little longer. If it’s really a problem with how you presented your product or service, you might need to refine your own strategies and techniques.
Don’t fall into the trap of blaming everything on the economy. There are salespeople who are successfully acquiring new business each and every day. By following these four steps, you’ll help jumpstart your pipeline to get you back on track as the recession subsides.