It was the end of another business meeting. It has taken me 3 months to organise it. First targeting the company that we wanted to do business with. Criteria: there were a major oil company and had money. No more thought or filter went into it.Then I called them up, sent them emails, ambushed them in conferences.I detailed economic benefits they will get by using our software.I was very young so I had a lot of energy and pursued this meeting hard.Eventually they gave in.The VP of Operations, VP of Technical Excellence and VP of Quality were in the room.As it was customary a Powerpoint presentation was given.We did not forget to try and engage with them. We asked them questions about their needs, trying to find “their pain” as we have been told in “Solution Selling” Training course.We achieved some communication and they did admit having a pain that we could solve with our software.My manager was salivating.They started looking at their watch after 20 min of Powerpoint and finally the torture was over and we all proceeded to the good byes,They asked us for a document-proposal highlighting features and promised to read it.
In the car back to the hotel my boss was making the typical comments: "They admitted their pain. They are in the bag. You need to prepare a killer proposal. Put it in the CRM at 20% and we will try “to close them” by the end of the quarter. We need to close 1.5 MM USD this quarter."
It was another day in the sales profession.But then the usual happened.I wrote the proposal and sent it.Then started calling and asking them: “have you read the proposal?” so many times that I cringed when I remember that sentence.And then the excuses came, and the calls were never returned, the emails never opened.And as hard as I tried 6 months later that was still “in the pipeline” and had not moved.Then there was the meeting with my boss, his boss and the company´s owner. the 2 hours meeting about what to do next, talk about how the competition “might be in there”, long discussions about another email to send “to get back in the game”.
And of course someone said the sentence: “It´s a long sales cycle”.
There was only a problem. There never was a sales cycle. It never really started.
This story is fictional but it was taken from different scenes of my business development career with different companies in the oil and gas sector.
The reason that the sale cycle had never started is that there was never Attraction between the 2 parties. There was only 1 party “targeting” the other party. And the second party was not that into you..But for many years I never experienced any other way to operate. Sometimes we won the deals. The customers will “give in “ and buy after a lot of pressure and manipulation.
There was only in 2012 when I first had an experience of “customer attraction”.And the flow and ease of that experience have changed how I now consider business and how I run my company.My clients appear, my perfect collaborators and team members just show up in my life at the right time.Of course I take actions. I don't just “think” about it and they magically manifest.
But it all starts with clarity: what do I want to provide to the world? or in more dramatic terms, how do I want to change the world? What is my unique contribution?
Get clear on that and start talking about it, in articles, audio and video. In conferences and in your children´s birthday parties.And watch out for what my mentors Jan Stringer and Alan Hickman from www.perfectcustomers.com call “the sparks of strategic syncronicity”.
You need to stand in the conviction that what you bring to the world is needed. In fact, that your perfect customer is waiting for you to show up.
And things will happen to you that will defy your logic. You will marvel, you will be in awe.But when you encounter that space of flow and ease in your business you will not want to come back to the previous scenario.I will be explaining more about how to foster this zone of flow and ease in your business.
Just in case you are curious, my unique contribution is to bring a new way of doing business to the oil and gas sector, which feels struggle-free, fun and connected with your employees, providers and customers. In this space there will be less stress for people, which will improve their quality of life, while at the same time the “go-to-market” approaches will be a lot more efficient, reducing dramatically the sales cycle.