Playing hide and seek?

Ugh! Don't you hate it when people don't reply to your messages, quotes and requests for additional information?

Unfortunately playing hard to get is part of the process for most buyers. While they may not like getting multiple messages from us, I think they do enjoy holding us off for as long as possible.

Selling is not for the timid. You need to remember that the time you spend playing hide and seek is keeping you from generating other lucrative opportunities. Time is an asset you have but it comes in limited supply; protect it.

Here are six things you might do to get people moving.

Shorten the amount of time the offer is available.

Take a cue from car dealers who sell more cars at the end of the month than the beginning. It's best to set this expectation upfront, so include offer end dates on all proposals. Do not be afraid. Do not fool yourself. When decisions keep getting pushed back it's less likely that they'll purchase.

Get their agreement beforehand that they will give you feedback.

Before you send the proposal ask the buyer to agree that they will extend you the professional courtesy of a response and updates. Once someone verbally states they will do something they are 95% more likely to actually do it. Ask for this.

Limit the quantity available.

The quantity they may purchase. The quantity of time your team will devote to the project. The number of other sellers who are reaching out to their clients with the same offer - 'I expect these to be sold out by the end of the week'. Somehow people are able to make quick decisions when they know there's a limited supply of something they want. Amazing!

Announce a pending price increase.

If you are truly planning to increase your prices, give clients ample notice. If possible, 90 days at least is what I recommend so they feel fairly warned. When communicated correctly, this can be an effective way to lay in long-term business as you 'grandfather' in their current rates.

Extend flexible purchasing options.

Clients who are intimidated by large price tags or projects requiring multiple touches and decisions, appreciate 'bite-sized' purchase options, i.e., splitting a project up over several months or having extended payment terms. Be strategic. Consider how many additional touches your team will have on projects that are drawn out, charge accordingly. Remember the sale isn't over until the client's check clears your bank. Know how much of your inventory you can afford to hold on to while you wait for payment. Limit the quantity of these offers.

Move on.

Be realistic. Decide how many times and for how long you will follow-up on proposals. Know when to walk away then walk away. The worst person you can fool is yourself. The second worst is your sales manager.

2016 is coming to a close. No more games. It's time to get serious.

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