How to Speed Up the Sales Cycle - Speak to Mr. Corbett

By Bob Morrell on November 17, 2015

Jeremy Blake's first sales trainer, Adrian Webster, once said to him, 'In sales, make sure you are speaking to Mr Corbett.' What he meant was this, you can spend a great deal of time developing a sale through someone you believe is empowered to make the decision to buy, and then discover all along that you've been talking to Sooty!

Many organisations employ Sooty, or whole armies of puppets, to restrict access to the few Mr Corbetts that actually make decisions. The problem is that the individual doesn't realise that they are a Sooty, and this makes selling to them very difficult.

If you want to speed up your sales cycle, the very reason it has slowed is that you and your team are allowing the buying process to be managed by a series of 'gatekeepers'. If this typically stretches over weeks or months then you are almost certainly speaking to Sooty because as we all know, a decision is made in a heartbeat.

We were recently approached by a new client. We formed a relationship with a very positive chap who loved our approach, proposal, presentation and all looked ready to go. Then out of the blue we received a knock-back. We had not realised that we had been dealing with Sooty all along. We had been taken in to the point where we didn't even know who Mr Corbett actually was!

So, to speed up your Sales Cycle, here are some Top Tips for avoiding Sooty;

1) 'Where will you find internal resistance to this?' (i.e.. Who is likely to block this?)

2) 'You're delaying the decision by 2 weeks, I can understand that, so let's set a date and time now, for a meeting in two weeks time... and who else needs to be there?' (They can now invite potential blockers to the meeting)

3) 'Where do you think your boss will struggle to see the value?' (Which will tell you where THEY don't see the value too!)

4) 'If your boss doesn't see the value of this, how will you convince him? (Is Sooty able to convince Mr Corbett?)

5) 'How will you persuade your board that this is as big a priority as you think it is?' (Does this person have the power to sway an entire board?)

We don't want to undermine any authority Sooty does have. What we are politely doing is reminding them that if the final decision does not rest with them then involvement of Mr Corbett is essential.