There’s probably no greater compliment in sales than being so successful at generating revenue you get a nickname like “The Closer.” For most sales pros, though, even a small improvement in the ratio of deals they close compared with those they lose would be a huge boost.
Fortunately, there are lots of tools available to sales teams to help them close more deals faster. Although a recent story on Yahoo News indicates the phone is still one of the most popular ways for sales agents to close, they should also be looking at CRM, marketing automation and analytics as a way to make the most of the data on customers they might already have.
Of course, when you’re at the closing stage, it’s all about how you interact with people. In many cases these could be face-to-face situations. Don’t let any preconceptions about how these scenarios should play out fool you, however. Especially these three:
Sometimes, You Have To Make The Hard Sell
In this age of content marketing, many organizations have realized they have to be careful about how they present information about products and services so as not to alienate customers. In blog posts, or when speaking at conferences, for instance, it’s vital that people who expect to have an educational experience suddenly feel backed into a corner to make a purchasing decision. That doesn’t mean sales professionals no longer have any opportunities to be direct about the opportunity clients have – or the competitive challenge they could face by not making a smart investment.
“There are some sales tactics today that emphasize not putting any pressure on the buyer, because it can seem rude or unprofessional,” a recent post on Entrepreneur magazine said. Don’t forget that pressure is necessary to closing. It can still be professional-seeming pressure, but if you don’t provide any pressure at all, you won’t be able to close the sale.”
Try this: instead of seeming desperate, use the same approach to pitching a client as setting a SMART goal – specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented and time-bound. In other words, close the deal by being blunt about what making the purchase could bring to a customer if they do so in the short-term.
Don’t Keep Anything Up Your Sleeve
We all know how the psychology of most presentations work: You outline what’s happening the market, talk about your customer vis-à-vis their competition, highlight major challenges and then – ta-da! – you reveal your products and services and the pricing.
Given how busy many businesses professionals have become, however, no one has time for for a lot of suspense. They want to know what you’re selling, what it costs and what the catch might be. The Centre For Sales Strategy calls this the “No surprise” proposal and recommends more sales reps use it.
“Talk through every detail with your client as you are developing and fine-tuning the proposal, and you will never hear them say, “Oh, wait. I did not know that was going to be in there,” the organization said recently. Remember that sales is something you do with a client or prospect not to a client or prospect.”
If you take that approach, the only surprise customers might have is that you’re treating them with more respect, like a peer rather than another deal you’re trying to close.
Price Does Not Have To Be A Barrier To Closing
If you’ve managed to get in the door more than once with a prospect, one of the trickier parts of closing might be figuring out how long you can put off discussing the hard costs. According to the experts, however, it might be better not to put it off at all.
In “How To Shift The Focus From Price While Closing The Deal,” a blogger for consulting firm Salesfuel suggests that advanced preparation on a customer’s needs – which CRM can help you do – should ensure the first couple of meetings are about establishing the value of a potential purchase.
“To close the deal, remember to counter any objections by reminding your prospect of the benefits she’ll be getting once she makes the purchase,” the post suggested.
Every time you close a deal, the situation might be a little bit different, but being upfront about the fine print, focusing on what customers really want and creating a sense of urgency are some of the things that will probably remain consistent no matter who you’re pitching.
For ideas on how to close more of your deals this year, download Salesforce’s new eBook: