Keys to Keeping Momentum in the Sales Process

You’ve gained a new client. Congrats! You’ve had a few meetings, and it’s quite promising, but the sales journey is far from over. While you shouldn’t rush a client into decision-making, it is vital to move the sales narrative along at a reasonable pace.

The responsibility for maintaining this momentum lies on both sides of the agreement. You should be keeping a decent cadence while making sure the deal is moving along, and the client should hold you accountable and provide you with the information that you need to best assist them.

Like any group project, sometimes progress is stalled. Maybe one of you isn’t upholding your end of the deal well, or maybe you’ve both fallen behind in the process. Perhaps you neglected a few important steps. Regardless of why the momentum has slowed, there are steps you can take to get it back, or (even better) make sure it doesn’t stall in the first place.

More than Closing

In sales you often hear the phrase “Always Be Closing,” but no one can seem to agree on what that means. Often, reps get so focused on ultimately making the sale, that they forget the significance of all of the milestones that come beforehand.

Sales is a process, and while it’s important to have goals, it’s also important to remain focused on the tasks at hand. Emily Meyer at SalesHacker invites reps to see the “ABC” of sales a bit differently, to “always be closing on the next step in the sales process.”

Essentially, don’t become so focused on the long-term outcome of a sale that you neglect short-term goals.

Recommend Next Steps

You’ll find it easier to move the sales process along if, in each encounter with the prospect, you’re recommending or referencing the next steps. This does not mean continually pushing for a final sale, but rather to focus on getting to the next meeting or call along the way.

Nick Cane writes for Janek Performance group, explaining that involving the prospect in each step of the sales process requires “establishing action items for both parties.” This creates joint accountability to ensure that those action items are completed in a timely manner.

Be Specific

Not only should you establish action items, but you should also be specific about those action items. We’ve all been guilty of the “we should hang out sometime” response, or the “I’ll do that sometime soon” mentality. Hopefully, that vagueness doesn’t overflow into our business practices.

If we are intentional about specifically describing where, when, or how we will accomplish a task, we’re much more likely to do it, and our clients are more likely to successfully hold us accountable.

Make sure that when you describe these action items, it comes across as a natural part of the progression of the sale rather than a demand. This means being confident in your request, but also tactful so that you don’t make the prospect feel uncomfortable or belittled.

That’s why it’s extremely important that every action item for the prospect is accompanied by an action item for yourself, as in “while you are doing X, I will take care of Y.” This way, progress is a team effort as you reach for a common goal.

Be Patient and Don’t Panic

Don’t be discouraged if and when the sales process is taking longer than you would like. Each step provides ample opportunity to get to know your prospect.

Aldonna R. Amber, also known as The Growth Strategist, warns “whatever techniques you try to use to accelerate the sales cycle,” its important to keep your long-term relationship with the prospect in mind. Just as a “not yet” shouldn’t be translated as a “no,” a longer sales cycle doesn’t mean failure is imminent.

In fact, while a prospect may take their time to consider you, they’ve given you more time to build credibility and rapport. Amber notes that even when you’re discussing priorities not directly related to the prospective sale, customers may reveal information that could be important or relevant, such as their priorities or the ways that they stay organized.

This doesn’t mean every moment should be spent trying to squeeze information out of the prospect, but rather that every moment is valuable, so there’s no reason to panic over a lull in progress.

Celebrate the Little Victories

Finally, don’t be discouraged if and when the sales process is taking longer than you would like. Each step is important and deserves attention and commitment.

Celebrate each small victory. Let the momentum of each victory propel you and your client together through the sales process, which may not always be smooth-sailing, but keeps moving forward, inch by inch.