Tuesday, February 16, 2010

 

Selling vs Simmering: Knowing how and when to close the deal

The right buyers for your product or service need what you’re selling.  You represent a link between where they are today and where they want to be moving forward.  They want to buy from you.

This applies, of course, to buyers that are not only qualified, but are ready to buy.  The vast majority of qualified buyers just aren’t there yet.  According to a recent MarketingSherpa report, as little as 15 percent of sales leads are both qualified and ready to buy.

Smart sales organizations take a “selling vs simmering” approach to their prospective customers.  If the prospect is in an active buying cycle, they’re ready to work with sales.  The role of sales, in this context, isn’t to sell as much as help the buyer buy what they already need.

Simmering is quite different.  Simmering takes a qualified buyer that doesn’t have an immediate need, and ensures that when they are ready to buy, the decision of whom to buy from is essentially already made.  That means staying in touch on a regular basis, but purposefully not selling.

This takes patience, and discipline.  When your sales manager is breathing down your neck to close more business this quarter, it’s tempting to reach down to some of the prospects that are simmering and push them into a sale.  But those prospects aren’t ready to buy, and pushing them to move more quickly will not only decrease your conversion rates and waste your time, but will also put off the customer such that they may seek products or services (when they’re ready to buy) from someone else.

Your best chance at getting the maximum sales output and conversion rate from the prospects in your pipeline is to know who’s ready to buy now, and who needs more simmering.


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