POST WRITTEN BY Dimitri Akhrin
President at CRMDialer.com and BAMS.com overseeing the growth of e-commerce payments and writing on payments growth hacks and SMB efficiency.
Some of the most successful companies out there don’t have a problem with selling more of their products or services. Their biggest issue is getting customers to say, “Yes,” more quickly. In other words, they need a way to shorten their sales cycle.
The good news is, making your sales cycle shorter doesn’t require a series of complex moves and infrastructure changes. Here are some easy ways to get more sales, more quickly:
Don’t use chatbots. Focus on live chat instead.
Many self-proclaimed internet business gurus will recommend chatbots as a way to save time and increase sales. To some extent, they’re right. Chatbots can be set up to answer relevant questions and they can be there for your business when a customer rep is not around. However, that’s where I believe their usefulness ends.
For many businesses, chatbots don’t do much because they can only answer the most basic of questions. Imagine a scenario where you sell to a business-to-business audience with deal sizes going up to $100,000 and more. You do not want to trust a bot to handle an account that wants to hand over this much money. Let a live, breathing person talk to them first, and you could notice your sales cycle getting visibly shorter.
Don’t hide the price.
There are multiple reasons why you would want to hide the price of your product on your website. Perhaps you want only the most qualified leads to get in touch and discuss pricing. Maybe you want to show them a demo first so that they see the value before getting sticker shock. Or, just maybe, you want to stand out from the competition.
While that does make sense to an extent, even the priciest of products need the price displayed very prominently. The reason is simple: No matter how cheap or expensive your product is, everyone has a budget. One of the reasons why your sales cycle is lengthy might be because you’re not disclosing your pricing early on. If a prospect sees the price tag immediately, they know whether they can afford the product so that they don’t waste everyone’s time.
Use the right kind of social proof.
Every listicle out there mentions social proof as one of the best ways to get more sales. But remember: It takes a lot more than slapping a customer review on your homepage to convince your customers to buy. Not all social proof is good, and not all social proof will work for your kind of industry.
My first recommendation would be to make the customer familiar with the person giving the social proof. So, if there is a testimonial or a review, make sure to mention the person’s company, position and what you’ve done for them or sold them. A testimonial from a CEO or CFO of a company in the same industry might mean a lot more than the same testimonial by a branch manager.
Moreover, tinker with the format as well. Video testimonials can be extremely effective in the right location and at the right stage of the sales funnel. However, they demand more work from the customer side, so they can be challenging to create.
The bottom line is that many business owners give up on social proof for the same reason they give up on content marketing: It takes a lot of work and persistence to see the results. But once you do it the right way, your sales team will love the results.
Stop treating your CRM like a bottomless pit.
Ask an average business owner how often they clean up their sales customer relationship management, and most will look at you in a very confusing way. After all, why would you delete someone’s contact data, even if they’re not a good lead?
However, there are multiple benefits to pruning your CRM. First of all, your sales team will have an easier time getting in touch with the right people since they won’t have to waste time with outdated contacts or people who gave a hard no the first time around.
Second, you will improve your email marketing metrics. When you’re sending to an uninterested list, your bounce rates are going to shoot through the roof, which hurts your overall metrics. Also, if you pay per email contact, each bad lead is dead weight that costs you every month.
Making your sales cycle shorter might seem like a lengthy, arduous process that involves your entire sales team. In reality, it’s a series of smaller changes that have a major impact on how soon a prospect turns into a closed deal.
This article was first published in Forbes Entrepreneur.