Close Sales, Sales, Sales Tips | Jan 20, 2020
From their first conversation to the close, a strong salesperson should consistently ask their prospect client for small closes during the sales cycle.
Getting these small commitments from your prospect will help them to say “yes” and as well as show you how committed they are in the sales relationship. These tiny sales closes will help you achieve important milestones during the sales cycle and get to “yes” much quicker. I have found that waiting until the last stages of the sales process to make an ask can hurt your chances of winning and, ultimately, closing a sales opportunity.
I find that there are two fears that stop most salespeople from using a closing technique during the sales cycle: many salespeople are afraid of what will happen if their prospect says “no” and once they near the close they aren’t sure of what to ask for.
The fear of a “no” is very much alive and it stops many salespeople from moving forward! However, as counterintuitive as it seems, getting a “no” can be beneficial. Reacting with maturity and professionalism will make you seem assured and confident. One of the best ways to react when a buyer turns down your request is to simply say, “OK,” and move on to a different topic.
However, if the prospective client is interested and you are unsure of how to close here are five favourite closes for every stage of the sales process I’ve found helpful. I usually use these to close at the end of my first meaningful dialogue with a buyer (where your prospect is highly engaged and seems interested in moving forward).
Today people work from their mobile and so without their number you will have to build a relationship using email. Emails are a slower and more ineffective way to build a relationship. If you are speaking with a prospective client on their work phone, ask for their mobile number and their direct line (if they are at work). Sales cycles and opportunities will tend to move faster when you have these numbers.
Getting a prospective client’s contact number(s) shows you they are serious, and prepared, to build a relationship with you. Lastly, this request will usually remove prospects who are not interested in you or your products, solutions or services.
I also suggest asking prospects what sparked their interest now. Try to measure their interest by grading it in the following way:
“How willing are you to buy, where one is ‘Take me off your list and don’t call me again,’ to ten being ‘I want to buy right now?”
Extreme definitions are useful because they lead most prospects to respond with their own score. This is helpful because when people have self-identified as being moderately to seriously interested, they are usually more eager to work with you. This usually makes the whole process much easier.
The last close I’ll make during the exploratory process asks about the other potential decision-maker(s). Most buyers give vague answers when you ask, “Who else is involved in this buying decision?” They’ll reply without specifics: “My manager,” “The user,” “A panel,” – usually there are many people that make up the buying process.
Do not immediately ask for their names as you’re then chasing the stakeholders. Instead ask: “Does whomever you’re collaborating with know you’re talking to me right now?”
Buyers who say “yes” are seriously considering a purchase. Buyers who say “no” are usually just casual or curious and probably won’t go ahead anyway!
This really means: “Will you work as hard as (insert your own company) to find a place for (our service product or solution) as I’ll work to get you the best (price, best package or best option)? If it looks like our deal/opportunity gets stuck, will you unstick it for me?”
After you’ve spent time with your point of contact and established a strong relationship, consider asking them to be your champion. The first interaction you have with them is too soon as you haven’t yet had the chance to establish a relationship yet.
Another important thing to bear in mind is to define “champion” so you and your prospect have the same expectations. For the same reason, you should steer clear of meaningless, soft questions such as, “Will you be my go-to person on this account?”
Asking this question is your chance to be brave. Brave people get results because they ask difficult questions. When you want something from your buyer it is important to make sure that you use the appropriate/right language else you are likely to lose your opportunity at an early stage.
A good way to go about closing is getting your salespeople to ask all buyers to sign a contract within six days of sending it over. For the vast majority of the time, prospects will say that’s not enough time. Larger companies specifically are likely to undertake due diligence and potentially legal and purchasing also need to sign off everything. Don’t be fooled though, my experience has been that whenever they say it’s a rubber-stamping process – it usually never is.
If you find yourself in this predicament then you have a couple of options.
Firstly, you could change the request and secondly, you could change the deadline.
I would strongly suggest that you should always go for the latter.
This strategy ensures your prospect will make progress on getting the agreement signed within the near future, even though you won’t get the signature itself.
Here is an example of a typical engagement dialogue:
Adjusting the ask, rather than the finish line lets you maintain control of the opportunity.
The process works! It worked for me when I was starting out. Over the years I have adjusted and added to it to ensure it still works in the 21st century. You could do the same and subsequently find that getting to a “yes” with your buyer is much easier than you ever thought.