You’ve heard it before. ABC. Always Be Closing.
But honestly, how do you close deals without pestering people to death? Without screwing up the sale or coming across as desperate? A big part of it is being confident in yourself and the product or service you are selling. Without that confidence, it’s really going to be a tough sell. If you don’t believe in what you’re offering, why would anyone else?
But what if you are already confident and you firmly believe in what you’re selling, but you are still struggling with closing deals? These eight essential tips will get your prospects to “a place of yes.”
It doesn’t matter if you are on the phone or talking face-to-face with someone—a genuine smile will help you sell. Believe or not, people can “hear” your smile through the phone. Smiling sets your client at ease, and it’s a great way to start a pleasant conversation. (Caveat: Think gentle, genuine smiles. Not Joker grins. Forced, false cheer can have the opposite effect and actually turn off your prospect.)
74% of 200 purchasers surveyed at companies across America said they would be “much more likely” to buy from a salesperson if they would just simply listen to the buyer. It’s so easy to talk and talk endlessly about the absolute awesomeness of your wares, but it’s often best to simply shut up and listen to what your potential client has to say. Always avoid cutting them off mid-sentence. Let them speak and hear them out, all the way through to completion. You never know what valuable gems you can pick up to help you close the deal. Take notes so you can reiterate them later.
Do you really know the customer’s pain points, or are you just making assumptions? Never, ever assume. Ask for specifics about what the client needs help with. For instance, during one recent meeting, one of our sales managers asked her team to sell her the pen she was holding.
Each rep held the pen and crowed about different benefits. One told her how smoothly the pen wrote. How it was easy to use. How comfy it was to hold for writing. Every one of them assumed that the pen was to be used for writing. No one asked her what she actually wanted to use the pen for.
When the pen made its way back to the manager, she told her team that she didn’t want to buy the pen from ANY of them because no one asked her what she wanted to use the pen for. Her intent was to use the pen to prop open a window. Her team got a good laugh (and lesson) out of the exercise, and you should too. Find out the needs, then sell directly to them.
Be a storyteller
Did you like the story I just told about the pen? I told it to sell you on the importance of qualifying needs. True stories can be much more remarkable and memorable than boring facts and figures. In fact, after any given presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories and only 5% remember statistics. Stories can spark emotions and deeper conversations. Where it makes sense, tell stories involving your products and services. Be sure to focus on how your client’s business was conducted before using your product, then how it was positively affected during and after using it.
Look for buying signals. Buying signals include showing great interest in your product, asking questions about it, and giving scenarios as if the client already owned it. Once you start seeing some strong buying signals, it is time to…
Ask for the business
Did you know that 48% of sales calls end without an attempt to close the sale? That’s a scary stat. Asking for the sale doesn’t have to be daunting. Start a soft close with these easy questions:
- We are ready to move forward, how about you?
- Are you ready for next steps?
- Shall I go ahead and get this processed for you?
If client agrees to buy, then shut up! Do NOT continue selling. They’ve already agreed to buy. Overselling encourages second-guessing and you may lose the deal as a result. When you lose a sale like that, it’s the worst. It’s soul-crushing enough to make you cry like a baby, so avoid overselling.
No deal yet? That’s OK. Follow up with the potential client on a certain day and time that you both agree on. Then simply reach out—on that specific day and time. Keep following up until you get a concrete result. It usually takes about five follow-ups before you get the sale. It may take more, so be consistent and persistent.
In all your interactions, strive to be friendly and helpful. Over time you’ll build trust and integrity and boost your sales as a result. The bonus? Whether you get the sale or not, you’ll continue to expand your professional network, which has the potential to bring even more business in the future. You win either way.
About the author:
Jayne Leigh Hallock – Content & Social Media Manager
Born and raised in upstate New York, Jayne’s always been a ‘word nerd’, having spent a large part of her childhood high up in a tree, reading book after book. Her college years brought her to her favorite city, Toronto, Ontario and her ‘adult’ life has been spent writing, editing and launching magazines. She found her passion for content strategy at Home Depot, where she spent years running the Garden Club and the How To Community. Now she’s thrilled to interact with and help entrepreneurs build their businesses at Sage One.