Slowing down the sale isn’t right for every product, every consumer, every category, or every business model, and it’s certainly not right for every situation. But time and time again, there’s value left on the table on both sides — the buyer and the seller.
In two minutes, I’ll answer the question, “When is the right time to slow down a sale?”
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The following text is an edited transcript.
Today we’ve got 2 Minutes on When Is It Right to Slow Down the Sale.
Now I know what you’re thinking: Jeff, you’re crazy. We spend all this time trying to speed up our sales cycles, shorten our conversions — why would we ever want to slow it down?
That’s a really great question.
When It’s Not Cool to Slow Down
But before I answer it, I have to clear up a few things. First of all, if you’re trying to slow down the sale to gain some advantage in the negotiation or get the upper hand or any of that sort of persuasion stuff — that’s not cool. That’s not what we need to do as professionals. We always need to be of service. In fact, intent counts more than technique.
Stopping for Orange Lights
What we’re looking for here is a condition, a time to move forward, where we have a no-brainer business case for our clients and for us. And that’s the moment. Unless we have that, we really shouldn’t move forward.
Now, unfortunately, bad habits happen. We pick them up here and there; we collect them like birds create nests.
But here’s the thing: Sometimes it’s because a client has been buying product A, and when they move across to your category, all of a sudden, they’re using some of the same buying patterns — it’s not wrong, but it’s not just right for your service.
Other times, because of the hectic pace of the world, they want to speed up and skip steps. Sometimes we as consultants think that we are serving them by skipping some of these certain steps — but in reality, we’re not.
Intent Counts More than Technique
So what’s the secret?
1. Intent counts more than technique. If you’re doing it for the right reason, if you have your client’s best interest at heart — then they will be led, and they will go through a process with you to get to a better place.
Remember, you’re the expert, and you’ve got their interest at heart. So they should — if you’re doing things right — want to go along for the ride.
2. Expectations management. Observe the places in the sale where things are needlessly being sped up, where we’re missing those criteria. It might happen on the client side or ours, but once we observe them, we can say, “Well, how can I set expectations in advance of those moments so I don’t have to say no, but I can lead someone to why we’re doing that with the justification that makes it worth their time and ours?”
It’s about aligning needs.
Interested in sales? Check out this 2-minute video on the Killer 3 in B2B Sales.
Jeff Cooper is Step Change’s Founding Partner. Jeff learnt his most valuable lessons in strategic thinking by spending his own money. His entrepreneurial pursuits began back in 2004 when he started his first business, designing exhibition spaces and running events, eventually giving birth to an interactive event concept later adopted by the likes of Big Day Out and other major festival organisers. A decade later, in 2014–2015, startups Jeff was involved in raised over $1m in investment, and Step Change — which he co-founded — became a multimillion-dollar strategy consultancy, serving clients across five continents. He’s a true generalist, with ownership and Board interests in businesses from retail solar to beauty and beyond, at life stages from startup to over $150m revenue annually.