If you sell anything for a living, you need to figure out what your sales cycle looks like.
This includes most of us who are doing business on the internet.
What is a Sales Cycle?
The sales cycle is the process that companies undergo when selling a product to a customer. It encompasses all activities associated with closing sale. Many companies have different steps and activities in their sales cycle, depending on how they define it. (Source: https://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/sales-cycle/)
You can think of the sales cycle as the length of time it takes for you to introduce your solution (product or service) to a customer to the time when the customer purchases from you.
During this time, you may be educating the customer, having back and forth emails, and a whole bunch of other interactions with the prospect.
So, why is this important?
Knowing whether you have a long or short sales cycle allows you to understand what kinds of efforts you can expect before getting a sale.
Some products have intrinsically lengthy sales cycle.
Think products and services that you might be selling to governments. It would likely involve multiple rounds of bidding between competitors and further negotiations.
Compare that to selling groceries where consumers purchase food on a fairly regular schedule.
So do I have a long or short sales cycle?
Different businesses have different sales cycle.
Lengthier sales cycle tend to involve higher purchase prices. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense.
If you were purchasing a car, it’s likely you will spend several weeks researching. You’ll compare cars in the same price range. You’ll browse reviews online and in Consumer Reports. You’ll also likely head to the dealership to do a few test drives… sometimes more than once.
If you’re a seasoned car salesperson, you’ll already understand that when a customer comes in that a sale might not happen just yet.
Much of whether the customer is ready to buy depends on what stage of the sales cycle she is in.
The later the stage of the sales cycle, the higher likelihood a purchase will be made.
The Importance of Follow Up
Following up with customers is a tedious task, but it’s also one where it can return a high yield on the time invested.
As a customer heads further and further down the sales cycle (or funnel, as some might call it), she becomes increasingly ready to buy.
You certainly don’t want to be losing your customer to a competitor at this point.
The salesperson who understands this will send the right emails to nudge the customer to return.
Making The Purchase Easy
When the customer returns to you, it’s imperative that you make the purchase as easy as possible.
Again, returning to the car purchasing example, once the salesperson has gotten you to say “Yes, I’ll buy”, you’re sent off to a dedicated contract person to quickly review and have you sign the contract.
Selling online is not so different.
You want to be able to get your customers to efficiently move through your sales cycle process and land on where they will inevitably enter their credit card.
Do You Sell Services Online?
Whether you’re a freelancer, a consultant, or just someone who provides casual services (in real life or online), you can create a FREE order page and checkout so your customers can complete their purchases.
Don’t let your customers wait for you to send them an invoice. People are used to paying with a checkout process online as it provides the convenience they need.
Take a look at https://app.workorder.io and create your own order and checkout page.