A sales cycle is simply how long it takes for a prospect to buy once they have been introduced to the product you’re selling. The more expensive the product the longer the sales cycle. How does a sales cycle correlate to a weight loss program you may ask? The more weight you need to lose the longer it is going to take. Can you see the similarities between the two? There are a lot of variables to each and you and I will discuss here.
Over the course of my career I have had the opportunity to sell products that have a low price point – $8.00 to a high price point – $85,000 and I can elaborate on the sales cycle of each.
I sold a product to eye doctors that cleaned and disinfected contact lenses which retailed for about $8.00. There were 3 other competitors that I was competing against. A big key here is that my product was different than the other 3, performed better, but required an additional step. These are the facts and I am not pumping my product’s tires as is often the case in sales. This is coming straight from the horse’s mouth – my customers. In this instance I was trying to get 100% of the business in this account which had 3 locations and 4 doctors. All told they probably saw approximately 15,000 patients per year between each doctor and all of the locations. That’s a ton of patients. So you can imagine my persistence in trying to make this happen as that is a crap load of revenue for my company and a fat commission check for me!
I did not have a long standing relationship with these doctors prior to us meeting and talking about my product for the first time. I knew I had a superior product to my competition and all I needed was a meeting or two to close the deal. I know what you’re thinking. Well how long was the sales cycle here? The sales cycle to close this deal and get 100% of the business was 30 days (1 month). I have to tell you that it does not always work out that way when selling anything, but generally the sales cycle for a product priced $8.00 is not that long.
How a sales cycle relates to your weight loss regimen.
Let’s say you have been running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Your boss is up your keyster with all these last minute projects, your kids have been sick, and any little bit of free time you have you’re working on your business. Needless to say it’s chaos. I know how you feel. As is often the case in situations like this what goes by the way side? More than likely you stop eating healthy and exercising. You’re not superman so something has to give when you have all of this going on and it’s usually your diet and exercise routine. As a result your pants are a little tighter than normal so you step on the scale. The scale says you have gained 5 pounds. So you decide you want to rectify this situation and make the commitment to clean up your diet and pick up where you left off in your exercise routine. A month goes by your pants feel a little looser, you step on the scale and wouldn’t you know it the 5 pounds are gone!
Can you see the comparison? If the product you are selling is rather inexpensive than it will take less time to sell it. Same can be said for your weight loss regimen. If you only need to lose 5 pounds it will not take you as long as it would to lose 20 pounds.
The most important take away here so far is that even though the sales cycle is relatively short it will still take time and effort to sell your product. I don’t care what anyone tells you it’s hard to sell any product, which is why everyone and their brother is not in sales. If it were easy then everyone would do it. You have to stay the course and exercise a little patience. If you start exercising like a maniac, eating super clean and after a week you step on the scale and it says you haven’t lost a pound. Do you freak out and say no matter what I do I can’t lose this weight? No. Take a deep breath. Relax. Even though you are only trying to lose 5 pounds, not 20 it is going to take some time. So cool your jets hot rod you’ll get there.
You ready? Here we go. Now let’s discuss a new scenario where the buying cycle is longer.
When you go to an eye doctor he performs an eye exam to determine whether you need glasses or not. After your exam if you need glasses he brings you out front and hands your prescription to a person who will help you pick out the right glasses for you. There are two parts to your glasses.
- The frame that holds the lenses
- The lenses that you need in order to see
The doctor buys the frames from one company and the lenses from a different company. There are different manufactures for each.
I worked for one of the frame manufacturers and sold frames to the eye doctor. The frame industry is a lot like the fashion industry as there are a crap load of brands and the collections change like the wind. The wholesale price to the doctor for a frame ranges from $30 to $200. A bit more expensive than the product we talked about previously. Keep in mind there are differences between each of the frame manufacturers, but most often it is all about the style that sells rather than the quality. The quality of the product I was selling was higher than what was out there. I had an initial meeting with a doctor at a fairly new practice. The practice had only been open for a month. I went through my collection of frames with the doctor and he liked what he saw, and wanted to bring in a collection of frames. Unfortunately, he could not do so right then as he just spent a ton of money on other products for the practice and needed to wait a few months. Reason being is he wanted to buy 30 frames at $125 a piece which works out to $3,750. Before I left we made an appointment for 3 months down the road. Those 3 months had passed and at that next appointment he ordered the 30 frames for $3,750.
The sales cycle for this scenario was four months.
Let’s switch gears here and turn to your weight loss regimen. It’s after the holidays and you know you have been having trouble buttoning those pants. Reluctantly you step on the scale to find out you had gained 15 pounds over the holidays. Now it’s time to get down to business and get the weight off. Time to shed those 15 pounds varies from person-to-person. So you start working out and eating a clean, balanced diet. So how long do you realistically think it will take you to lose 15 pounds? For the sake of this argument it takes you 4 months (16 weeks) losing 0.93 pounds per week. Less than 1 pound per week.
The more expensive the product the longer it takes to sell it. Conversely the more weight you have to lose the longer it is going to take to reach your goal.
Alright let’s wrap it up with one last portrayal of a sales cycle.
I was selling a medical device that took an image of the back of your eye within a quarter of a second. This test was non-invasive and very effective for assessing the structural health of the back of the eye. As you can imagine this instrument is not cheap and takes up quite a bit of space in an office. I had a relationship with a doctor going back 7 years after doing business with him while at a prior company. I had an initial meeting with this doctor to discuss this device. The price of this device was $49,000. He was interested in the device, but still had payments remaining on another piece of equipment for the next year. He had asked me to stop by every 6 months or so to check in with him. I followed up every 6 months per his request. After the 1-year mark he had paid off that other piece of equipment, but did not want to spend any money at that time. So I continued to follow-up every 6 months. Now 2 years had passed and it had been 3 years since our first meeting about the instrument. Once again I followed up and it has now been 3 ½ years since that initial meeting. And wouldn’t you know it he finally decided to pull the trigger and buy the device.
This was a longer sales cycle due to the financial commitment required to purchase.
Okay, so when life happens and time flies by you are often left a little overweight and unhealthy. Now you step on the scale and you’re a whopping 60 pounds overweight. Holy smokes, how did that happen? Remember it takes longer for you to lose the weight than it does to pack it on. You start the slow process of getting where you want to be. This involves blood, sweat, and tears. How long is this going to take you to lose the weight and keep it off? I am no weight loss expert, but chances are it will probably take years to lose that much weight. Certainly you can try to take shortcuts starving yourself, working out to the extreme, taking all kinds of weight loss supplements, but do you really think that will help you over the long haul?
As you can see there are a lot of parallels you can draw between a weight loss regimen and a sales cycle. More than likely you are familiar with how long it takes you to lose weight, rather than how long it takes to sell something. Both of them require blood, sweat, tears, patience, and persistence.