When Will They Make Their Decision

The following post is a guest blog from Jim Martin of Ultimate Selling Solutions. For 40+ years, Jim  has been gathering the experience and wisdom to become the Ultimate Seller. He has held every position, from sales rep to president, in successful organizations that built national, and international, reputations for success.

How many times have you presented your proposal to discover that there is no commitment to actually make that final decision, win or lose?  Unfortunately, it happens too often and you find yourself scrambling to make something happen or hoping for an outcome while it sits in your ‘in perpetuity’ sales forecast.

Your job, aligned with them is to establish, if they have not, a timeline for the decision process. If it’s informal, your task is to formalize them: discuss it fully, establish intermediate goals, get it on the calendar and document it.

The absolute best question? Ask when your product or service is required for delivery or needs to be operational. If they haven’t  established hard timelines for fulfillment, then you can bet they will be successful at not making one. If thats the case, work together and establish a decision date and timelines for completing the sales and acquisition process and executing any purchase agreements.

Here is a simple rule, regardless of what you think or they say,  they ARE NOT in the acquisition process. They could be in the acquisition of knowledge, wanting to determine if there is value they should pursue or wanting to keep someone honest. But NOT, I REPEAT, NOT in the acquisition/buying stage.

They are at best a good suspect, not yet a prospect and for sure, not a qualified prospect. So your pursuit plans should be built on where they are and where you can take them. And remember, they don’t belong in a forecast, just your pipeline of suspects and unqualified prospects.

If you want the opportunity in your sales forecast, then determine when they will make their decision.