By Barbara Bix - For many professional service firms, the single largest expense is the cost of sales. That’s because while your firm’s most senior personnel are prospecting for new business—or convincing decision-makers to buy—these highly-compensated professionals are neither available to close other opportunities, or to deliver billable services.
To make matters worse, attracting—and ultimately closing new business--can take anywhere between several months and several years. In fact, sales people, at any organization that sell services, or products, that prospective buyers perceive as a major commitment, find themselves in much the same situation.
Several factors contribute to elongating the sales cycle. Most prospective clients will only buy from those that they know and trust--and winning trust takes time. Many already have satisfactory relationships with others. While some will give new firms a chance, most end up waiting until a major problem develops before they seriously consider switching providers. Even then, sales cycles often stretch out as decision-makers, and every one of the individuals they choose to involve in their buying process, perform due diligence to minimize risk.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to accelerate this process. Next week, we’ll discuss where to start.