The present economy brings many discussions of extended sales cycles. In the quest to shorten these cycles, I remember the shortest sales cycle – and worst sales call – I have ever observed.
It was in my early CRO days traveling in New Hampshire with our local sales rep. We arrived early for the meeting at our customer’s factory and found one other sales person in the lobby. Based on this sales person’s dialog with the receptionist, it was obvious he was quite frustrated at the time he had been kept waiting to see someone from purchasing.
Finally, a young man came to the lobby indicating he was in purchasing (no business card or name was offered) and ready to meet with this lobby-loitering sales person. The sales person immediately opened his 12 page brochure and simply started reading the text verbatim to this new, mysterious purchasing contact.
After several minutes of reading the technical specs promoted on each page to a totally bored contact now operating in screen saver mode, the sales person ended with the inevitable shut down the process yes / no question: ”You don’t want to buy any of these do you?” The answer was an immediate “no.” The purchasing contact departed the lobby and this sales person left complaining to the receptionist about a 2+ hour drive back to Boston.
This may be a finalist for the shortest sales cycle award but no information was ever exchanged between the two parties. That single fact is why we spend so much time in our Revenue System defining Differentiating Value (DV) and the related Critical Qualifying Questions (CQQ’s) sales people must use in their prospecting, qualifying and forecasting activities.