Millions of pages have been written on closing deals, as sales can be extremely challenging, and nuanced. Still, many salespeople get burnt out wasting valuable efforts on leads that just don’t seem to close. If your deals aren’t progressing, there is most likely something wrong with your approach.
Below are five common reasons why sales people are not closing as many deals as they should:
You can only work with the hand you are given. It’s not about receiving tons of leads. Quality is most important. No matter how good of a salesperson you are, leads must be qualified. Many companies spend so many resources in developing lead sources, but fail to consider quality. Not all leads are created equally. Some factors to consider are: Are they in your “sweet spot” – right size company, correct demographic? Are they the correct level of contact in the organization? Do they meet your specific requirements?
Before you start taking the prospect through your sales process, first you need to find out if they are a fit. As an example, we work with a scholarship application program. Before even finding out the prospect's pain points, we ask questions such as: How many applicants do you receive? How much money is awarded annually? How many awards are given out? A Fortune 100 company might seem like a good fit on paper, but if they are only awarding 50-thousand in scholarships, spending 50-housand on your solution might not be worthwhile for them.
Establishing trust with your prospects is critical to closing a deal and if you haven’t laid that groundwork, you will not have success. Make sure you don’t rush into the sales process or send the message that you are desperate to sell. Instead, send the message that you want what is best for your clients. Put their needs at the top of the priority list and make sure that the products and services you are offering make sense for them. Even cynical prospects can be converted into clients if you are trustworthy and can pair the right product or service to their needs and price point. Be patient. Don’t rush the game.
We can’t listen well when we are in a rush to close a deal. Slow down and make sure you are listening carefully to your customer’s needs and objectives and all the nuances involved. Maybe your prospect really needs a mobile application for their team, but might live in a region where connectivity is spotty. Listen to the problem so you can form the right solution. Or, maybe it’s not pressure that’s making you rush; maybe you are legitimately excited about what you’re offering because you know it’s a good fit for the client. Slow down enough so that you can articulate why it’s a great fit. Learn how to harness your energy and make it work for you instead of against you.
Overselling can cause prospects to back away because they feel overwhelmed and pressured to make a purchase. Many salespeople write up proposals that offer more than the client needs, hoping they’ll choose more options than they originally had in mind. This tactic will work against you because your prospect will feel that you weren’t listening. You will break trust with this strategy. If your prospect is looking for a new logo, don’t write a proposal for a new logo, a new website, and all new collateral.
Adding on to a proposal sends the wrong message and can cause you to break trust with your prospects. It’s better to start small, build the relationship over time, and once you are a trusted vendor, look to expand the relationship, and the services you can provide.
Nobody likes to be pressured into anything. Take cues from the prospect on the speed they want to go at. Don't forget, there often is a lot of politics behind the scenes, including budgets, other decision makers, other projects in the works, and other departments involved. If you try and speed up the process, you will lose the deal. Again, this comes back to listening. We find that when we qualify leads for our clients, combine the right mix of qualifiers, and identify pain points, 50% turn into leads for our clients. That doesn’t mean the appointment is set a week later, sometimes it can take six months of nurturing just to get a the appointment. But once we do, we know that prospect will enter the pipeline in a solid place.
If your numbers are shrinking, take this advice to heart and institute some changes that could support your bottom line. Don’t let these common mistakes keep you from closing deals. Focus on the relationship, on your customer’s needs, and the sales will all fall into place.
About the author
Gregg Schwartz is the Vice President of Sales at Strategic Sales & Marketing, one of the industry-founding lead generation companies specializing in B2B major account sales lead generation, sales consulting, and sales training.
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