When it comes to sales, closing deals is the name of the game. And the faster you can close those deals, the quicker your pipeline moves and the less time your sales team has to spend going back and forth with prospects.
One of the biggest time-sucks that slows down deals? Getting sales contracts signed.
Almost every salesperson is familiar with this scenario:
You’ve gone over all the specs of your product, and the prospect loves it. They agree to sign on as a customer, so you let them know the last thing they need to do is sign a contract to lock in the deal. Then radio silence.
You send multiple emails following up with the prospect, call them and leave voicemails, and still not a response. This could go on for weeks until eventually the prospect finally responds and signs the contract or unfortunately, backs out.
So, what makes the process of getting sales contracts signed so difficult? Why do prospects end up going ghost at the last minute? And most importantly, what can you do to get sales contracts signed faster?
Why Prospects Ignore Your Sales Contract
Before we get into the solutions, it’s important to understand why your sales contracts aren’t getting signed in the first place. Here are some of the most common reasons your deals are getting delayed:
The Prospect is Having Second Thoughts
Buyer’s remorse is all too real. And if you're selling high priced products and services, there’s a strong chance the prospects will get all the way to the finish line and then start to contemplate whether or not they’re making the right decision.
The Prospect is Creating a Bidding War
There’s a reason companies like Best Buy and Amazon offer price matching deals. They know that consumers like to shop around and compare prices. As a result, they’re willing to compete by matching or even beating the price of their competitors.
The same thing could be happening to you, and it’s stopping your sales contracts from being signed. You see, once you prepare a sales contract for a prospect, you’re outlining the exact price you’re charging them and what they’re getting. Now they can take that contract to your competitors and ask if they can beat what you’re offering.
While they’re price shopping, you’re just sitting and waiting to hear back. Not good.
You’re Not a Priority
It’s hard to hear, but the truth is your sales contract just might not be a priority for your prospect. While getting the deal closed quickly is important for you (your business wants to get paid after all), remember that your prospect is likely juggling a million other things at the moment.
So your emails might get overlooked and your phone calls can go unanswered. The good thing about this scenario is that it doesn’t necessarily mean the prospect isn’t interested in what you’re selling. It’s just that you’ve been moved to the bottom of their list of things to do. It’s up to you to move back up to the top of the list.
There’s Too Much Friction
The more steps involved to get a sales contract signed, the less likely a prospect will be to sign it. Think about it. Every step a prospect has to take in order to sign is an opportunity for them to back out or rethink their decision.
Not to mention, it makes the signing process longer than necessary. Just like with e-commerce companies, the faster your “check out” process, the less likely prospects will be to abandon their shopping cart. Your job is to make the process of signing your sales contracts as painless as possible.
Now that we’ve gone over the biggest issues, let’s dive into how to overcome them and get your sales contracts signed faster.
How to Get Sales Contracts Signed Quickly
Follow these tips to stop delays in getting your sales documents signed.
1. Use Electronic Documents
Without a doubt, the #1 thing you can do to get your sales documents signed faster is to stop using paper contracts!
It’s not the 90’s anymore. The process of printing out paper documents and faxing them, or even scanning and emailing is dead. Not only do fewer people have fax machines, but the whole process is cumbersome and unnecessarily long.
Instead, opt for a tool like eversign that lets you create templates for your sales contracts, then email them to prospects to sign digitally. No printing or faxing involved.
Using digital documents will cut out the bulk of the issues that stop sales contracts from being signed in a timely manner. Plus, if the contract needs to be reviewed by several people, you can easily include the approval process in your document workflow.
And lastly, all your signed contracts will be stored in eversign so you don’t have to use old school filing cabinets that are a hassle to sort through.
2. Create a Sense of Urgency
If your prospect isn’t making you a priority or is price shopping your contract against competitors, lighting a fire under them by creating a sense of urgency is a good move.
Often times, salespeople will send over contracts with no due dates or timeline. You just assume the prospect will sign it over the next couple of days. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Create a sense of urgency to compel them to sign your contract ASAP. Here are a few ways to do is:
- Set an expiration date: Specify that the price you’re offering is only good for a specific time period (7-10 days). After that, the contract is void and you can’t guarantee the same price. People are more likely to take action if they know they have a deadline.
- Offer a deal: Similiar to the previous tip, you can offer some type of deal or added value if the prospect signs the contract within a certain timeframe. It could be additional users (for software), a slight discount or an added feature.
- Ask: As simple as it sounds, you can just stress the importance of getting your sales contract signed quickly. When you send over the contract, include a note/call to action such as “We’re really looking forward to getting you onboard. The faster you can sign the contract, the sooner we can start producing results.”
If you don’t push your prospects to take action, they’ll sign your contract on their own time, which might not be as fast as you’d like. Create a sense of urgency and you’ll get your sales contracts signed much quicker.
After you send your sales contracts, do you just sit and wait to hear back? Or do you take the initiative to regularly follow-up to make sure the contract gets signed?
Again, sitting and waiting idly for the prospect to sign your contract puts your revenue and pipeline in their hands. If you want to get paid faster, you need to follow-up. And we’re not talking about waiting two weeks. You should be following up within days of sending the contract if they haven’t signed it yet.
If you’re using electronic signature software, you’ll likely have a built-in feature that sends reminders to your prospects to sign the contract.
Another good way to follow-up with prospects that haven’t signed yet is to ask if they need anything else.
We’re really looking forward to working together. Did you have any questions about the contract we sent over earlier this week?”
It’s simple, reminds the prospect the contract still needs to be signed and offers to provide them any information in case the delay is due to a question they have.
If the prospect hasn’t filled out the contract after you’ve sent several reminders, consider following up with a phone call and a voicemail.
4. Cross Your t’s and Dot Your i’s
As we mentioned, some prospects will get cold feet at the last minute and back out. It’s your job to keep them focused and make sure everything is ready to go as soon as you send out the contract.
- Everything you agreed to should be in the contract
- You’ve fully explained what you’re offering and how they’ll benefit
- You’ve sent the contract to all the necessary stakeholder/signers
- You’ve responded to all their emails and questions
You don’t want to give your prospects any doubt about their decision. If you’re worried about them price shopping, a good tactic to use is to do the research for them by showing you how you stack up against competitors.
The social media management tool Edgar has a page that compares its software against its top competitors. They can simply send the link over to any prospects to prevent them from going to the competition.
Be thorough and detailed so your contract signing process will have fewer hiccups and delays.
Get Your Sales Contracts Signed… Today
Follow the tips in this article to get your sales contracts signed quickly so your pipeline can keep moving and your revenue can keep increasing (plus if you’re a sales rep, you’ll get your commissions faster!)