13 Years and 12 Proposals for the Same Product Sale

Today my firm closed a sale that took us 13 years and 12 proposals to close.  It was the same CRM product the entire time.  The prospect ultimately purchased the same product that I first proposed in 2004, 13 years ago.   Along the way, I demonstrated the same product 4 times, had 7 other appointments, made 78 phone calls, and had hundreds of emails back & forth.

You might assume that it must have been a huge deal worth many thousands in profits.  Nope.  Net profit on the sale was under one thousand dollars.

What’s the point?  At any point along the way the sale could have closed.  They could have purchased after half the effort I put in, or even a quarter.   One of the things we as sales people do have control over is when we choose to give up. Polite and reasonable persistence, not high pressure, is a tremendous way to eliminate your competition.  The herd of competition will thin itself out.  As each of your competitors give up, there’s one less.

Being the “last one standing” may not be the most desirable way to get a deal, but it should not be overlooked.  As long as you are not asked to “stop” and as long as your prospect is still qualified, and your products/services are still relevant to the needs that your prospect has, there is a value in your persistence.

Here are FIVE benefits’ to consider:

  1. Build name awareness and familiarity.
  2. Gain confidence in the fact that you’ll be around to service them in the future.
  3. Increase the odds of being there when the time actually comes for the prospect to make a purchase.
  4. Develop a greater understanding your prospects situation and needs.
  5. Established a stronger relationship and loyalty to you as a vendor.

When my customer made their order after 13 years, they recognized all the time & effort that my firm had to put in to get the sale.  They actually apologized and thanked us for the opportunity to place the order with us.

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