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Are You Stuck in a Vicious Sales Cycle?

3 min readJune 22, 2021

Most everyone is familiar with the concept of a vicious cycle.

It’s a repeating series of connected events in which each cycle reinforces the negative outcomes of the previous one.)

Unfortunately, I often see salespeople who are stuck in a variation of a vicious cycle, that I call a Vicious Sales Cycle.

A Vicious Sales Cycle stems from bad sales habits which lead to consistently sub-par results. Combined with an inability, or unwillingness, to change, salespeople can get stuck in a closed loop, self-reinforcing cycle of unacceptable sales performance.

It’s like stepping into a revolving door from which there is no exit. Other than finding a new job.

What are some key behaviors that open the door to a vicious sales cycle?

1. Poor call planning and preparation.

Lackadaisical planning and preparation lead to unproductive sales touches. By definition, every sales interaction should deliver value to the buyer that enables them to move closer to making a decision. Absent that, you’re just wasting their time. And yours.

2. Lack of a sense of urgency.

Buyers have access to more information than ever about the products and services they want to buy before they speak with a seller. When they decide to invest their time with a salesperson the seller has to respond as if the buyer’s need for information to continue their buying process is urgent. Sellers who don’t prioritize responsiveness to customers often find themselves on a slippery slope of irrelevance.

3. Insufficient product knowledge, industry experience and business acumen.

Complacent sales reps who don’t continually push themselves to learn more about their products, how to sell them and how their customers use them will lag behind their peers in performance. Prospects rely on salespeople to provide the necessary information to help them make an informed purchase decision and they’re reluctant to invest their time and attention in sellers who can’t provide value.

There’s an alternative to a Vicious Sales Cycle. I call it the Virtuous Sales Cycle.

A virtuous cycle is defined as a “Self-propagating advantageous situation in which a successful solution leads to more of a desired result or another success which generates still more desired results or successes in a chain.”

A Virtuous Sales Cycle is what occurs when sales best practices are consistently applied to produce above- average results, which in turn creates a repeating series of positive sales outcomes that feed off of each other to produce consistently good performance.

Here are a few of the sales behaviors you can use to create and perpetuate your Virtuous Sales Cycle.

1. Maximize the value you deliver with every sales touch.

Every sales interaction with a buyer, no matter how large or small, requires planning and preparation in order to deliver the value the buyer requires and to achieve the outcomes you desire. Maximize the value you deliver to your prospects with the least possible investment of their time and attention and they’ll invest more time to let you sell to them. This results in orders.

2. Be absolutely responsive to the buyer.

The buying experience is one of the most critical factors in a buyer’s purchase decision. Being responsive to the buyer (which means to deliver necessary value in the shortest time possible) is one of the primary ways the buyer will experience what it is like to work with your company. Being responsive is one of the easiest, and most memorable, ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. It is under the control of the seller.

3. Continuously invest in your own sales education

Nothing stays the same. Products change. Customers’ requirements change. Technology changes how your buyers buy and how you sell your product. Consistently good sellers learn how to adapt and evolve to keep pace with these changes. They invest their own time, and sometimes money, in their continuing education.

Embrace your Virtuous Sales cycle to confidently deliver value, sell with maximum impact and empower your buyer to make informed purchase decisions with a smaller investment of their time. This will help you win more orders.

As important, it will also create more selling time for you to sell to additional prospects.

Success begets success.

Follow Andy on LinkedIn.