You connected with a potential prospect and got on their radar. Congratulations!
This could be a brokerage assignment, an engineering engagement, a construction project, a facility management contract, other other opportunities in the real estate field.
The opportunity is great. It’s a good company with a meaningful requirement that will result in a nice payday.
You are excited and chomping at the bit to close the deal, but, as you know, initial positive contact with a potential need is only a first step to actually securing an assignment.
Unless their pain is excruciating and needs to be addressed immediately, chances are your pursuit efforts may take some time. Why is this?
It could be your prospect is busy as can often be the case. He/she may have other fires that are a higher priority and may need to involve other other stakeholders, which takes time.
While these are all excuses, the fact is, cycle times get elongated because you, as a principal of your firm or salesperson, haven’t done enough to make them act sooner and eliminate the excuses.
So, what can you do to reduce the cycle time and make things happen?
1. Be Proactive
Most people won’t anticipate what a prospect needs to make a decision and act sooner.
As a result, if you can address this proactively, you will be in a better position to get a faster, more favorable decision.
As an example, one of my clients connected with the CEO of company at a social engagement. When they engaged in small talk, my client shared he was a real estate broker. The CEO responded that his company had recently acquired another business and there was some duplication in facilities. My client asked me “What should I do?”
Option 1 was hoping the conversation and exchange of business cards would make the phone ring when the CEO was ready to act.
Option 2, which was my recommendation, was to complete some due diligence and proactively provide an analysis of the consolidation opportunity. Send it without being asked. Demonstrate action and competence that can add value.
By pursuing Option 2, my client secured the business.
2. Demonstrate Impact of Not Acting
When evaluating any task, it is important to prioritize based on feasibility and benefit. Tasks that are easiest to implement and achieve a material impact should always be addressed first. An example regarding managing sales teams is below.
When a decision-maker is “putting out fires”, they may lose sight of the feasibility and benefit for the project you are pursuing. As a result, it is imperative you communicate how they will be losing out by not acting sooner.
Is it millions of dollars in new business? Savings to be achieved? Costs to be reduced? Products/services to get to market sooner? Whatever it is, you can influence a decision-maker by making this clear to him/her.
3. Provide a Discovery Offer
Sometimes, for political, budget or other reasons, even if you have taken all the right actions to draw a prospect to a decision, they just may not be ready to move forward.
One way to overcome this is to provide an initial Discovery Offer. This gives you an opportunity to get in and start doing work with an opportunity to prove up and expand the scope of services. By getting engaged, even if you aren’t yet adding all the value you were seeking and making all the revenue you hoped, you have gotten started and increased your odds for ultimate success.
For example, if you want to work and help a developer market all their properties in a specific geography, maybe you take a listing on one or two of the buildings and grow from there.
4. Lean Forward
Honesty is always important. Don’t ever sell what you and your team can’t deliver because your credibility will be irreparably harmed.
But, leaning forward a bit works well. This is because no two assignments are exactly the same. After all, you are paid to help leverage your experience to solve problems.
For prospects who may not be responding, I will frequently send them a proposal. It may not contain all the information to address all their needs with 100% accuracy (given they haven’t provided it to you yet), but that’s not the point. The point is you are demonstrating the thinking and process you use to add value. If it delivers value and demonstrates impactful results, you will hopefully create a conversation that can then lead to an opportunity.
Earlier in my career, as a Principal at a company called USI (now part of CBRE), we initially weren’t well-known, so we worked diligently and creatively to gain attention. We sent to proposals to selected prospects we had met, but then couldn’t get additional traction in a reasonable time frame. This created several opportunities. It works.
Finally, everyone knows that good and persistent follow-up is a good habit, but not everyone does it. Usually, it is because other tasks are taking precedence or they don’t like doing it, so they don’t.
Keeping top of mind makes a big difference, so following-up is so important.
I try to carve out a tight schedule each day that includes new outreach, follow-up and delivery of work. If scheduled, it becomes easier to make sure you accomplish this task and others on a consistent basis.
If you wish to win more business and reduce your cycle times where you can become a more value-added partner and create more sustainable and consistent sales, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-633-2260.