Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford

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Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome - August 1, 2015

Client: Kevin, we need to meet with you as soon as possible, it is very important that we get started on our new engagement.

 

Me: OK, I can be there on Thursday (today is Monday) at 1:30.

 

Client: That doesn’t work for us, how about in 2 ½ weeks, that might be better.

 

Client: Thank you for your proposal, this looks just like what we need, and your estimate is right on budget.

 

Me: Sounds great, when would you like to get started on your project?

 

Client: Let me read over the proposal one more time and you’ll have the signed contract by the end of the week.

 

Me at the end of the week: Sir, please send me the signed contract, and I will schedule your project to begin.

 

Client three weeks later: Sorry, we have not made a decision yet.

Here are two examples of the famously known Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome. You know, the situations that present themselves as great opportunities, only to be stalled out by the client’s indecisiveness.  What can you do to avoid these scenarios? Is it your fault this happens? How can you move the client along in conversation toward a final decision?

 

In the first example, the stall by the client to meet is certainly not your fault, or in your control, but by a lack of understanding by the client on what is and is not considered urgent. When a client states that they need to meet immediately, that something is urgent, you should qualify by pushing the date slightly out. Give the client an option for meeting later in the week or the following week. Their reply will indicate how serious they are and just how urgent the need might really be.

 

In the second example, this falls more on the upfront selling process with the client, which you control, versus the client being entirely at fault for stalling. When you are in the sales process, you should explain how you are going to work with them all the way to the contract stage, and upfront gain a commitment on their actions. Try stating: “Mr. Smith, if we get to the point of reviewing a written contract together, and the contract meets or exceeds all of your requirements, and it is within the budget scope, will we have a deal? Will you be in a position to sign the contract at that time? What, if anything, will you need further in order to finalize the agreement, sign it, and move forward?” Such an upfront sales process will give you the leverage needed or the upfront commitment by the client to fall back on and remind them of their own process. Such an approach will increase the likelihood of closing the deal without facing the Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome.

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