4 Signs It's Time to Slow Down the Sales Process
I recently had a client tell me about their perfect buyer who inquired on Monday, talked about their priorities and needs over the phone on Tuesday, reviewed the proposal on Thursday, and sent in a deposit on Saturday morning. Wouldn’t it be great if all inquiries went like this? Too bad most won’t.
Most clients don’t move this quickly on their journey to buy what you have to sell. It’s more likely you’ll have to convert them from one stage to the next in a series of small moves. It takes work to do and skill to accomplish – and it often takes more time than you want to wait. Many buyers make decisions slowly, and even if you get someone who makes choices quickly, you don’t know how far along they are in other areas of the wedding planning, and so may not be ready to decide on anything with you.
Here are four signs it’s time to pump the brakes and slow things down a bit:
#1 – They Don’t Know What They Want
It’s hard to make decisions on what you want. Add in the unique pressures wedding couples feel (time, money, style, judgements, and so many more) and it’s even more difficult to know what to do. Oh, and let’s not forget that most couples you’re serving have never been married, so they’re new to the whole thing.
During the discovery process you’ve got to find out where they’re at in the buyer’s journey. There are three general stages: 1) Awareness, 2) Consideration, and 3) Decision. The key factor in moving from awareness to consideration is that they know what they want. However, many couples (maybe even most couples) don’t know what they really want when they inquire.
If you find you’re spending a lot of time “educating” couples who inquire, you’re very likely dealing with people who don’t know what they want. Instead of getting upset because they’re wasting your time, try empathy. Make them feel heard and understood. Give them a taste of your expertise as you share information to carve out their needs from that un-chiseled block of ideas in their heads.
#2 – They Aren’t Reading Your Proposal
If you’re not sending your proposals with some kind of tracking technology you’re doing it wrong. All serious proposal apps will have this, so if you’re not using one it’s time to switch. You absolutely must know what kind of engagement your proposals are getting with your potential buyers.
When you send out a proposal you’ve got to know if they’re looking at it, for how long, and how frequently. Knowing these numbers allows you to gauge how interested they are in what you’re pitching them.
If you send out a proposal and they don’t look at it for a few days, it’s probably time to slow things down a bit. Same thing with looking at it after you have a call with them to review the proposal. In general, if they aren’t checking out the proposal you’re going to have to renew interest in other ways before moving on with a contract.
#3 – They Ask for More Time to Make a Decision
This should be obvious that you’ve got to slow things down a bit, but I’ve heard from so many people who’s reaction is more anger than understanding. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Stop trying to blame them for why you’re anxious about not meeting your financial goals.
If you get pushed off for a decision after you’ve reviewed the proposal with them, simply ask how things are going for them in general. “How’s it going with other areas of wedding planning?” “Are you starting to feel the pressure of the wedding, yet?” “Has it been tough to get all the decision-makers to agree on things for the wedding?” These questions will reveal where they are and how you can help – usually by listening instead of selling.
#4 – Not All Decision-Makers have Reviewed the Information
We all get upset when the person we’ve been working with during the inquiry process all of a sudden takes a back seat to someone new who’s driving the decision-making. If this happens, don’t blame anyone but yourself. One of the first rules in sales is to make sure you’re talking with the person who can buy what you’re selling.
You should be asking, in the discovery meeting, who’s going to be a part of the decision-making. If you’re not, start this immediately. If you already are and you find that someone jumps in at the end of the buyer’s journey, be open to the conversation and restart in areas you feel are not clear to the new stakeholder. Yes, you may need to begin again, which is frustrating, but the blame’s only on you for blowing it in the early stages.