Sales people typically want to know how to do three things better:
- See more people
- Manage their time
- Close more business
When we are working with sales professionals during our sales training workshops, closing is one of the last things we get to. Not because effective closing techniques aren't important to every sales process, but because it isn't as important as the sales steps leading to the close. However, I've decided that, as I was posting the 10 solutions for successful selling, I'd pop "8 Steps for More Effective Closing" in up front so that, with those deals you have in your pipeline today, you might have a slight edge in closing those deals with this information.
Years ago, I was taught that "the close" is an affirmation of the conversations you've already had with the prospect - or at least that's the theory. The theory runs aground, so to speak, if your qualifying steps weren't as strong as they needed to be and if your set up for the closing wasn't as strong as it needed to be. Let's do a quick recap of what should have happened prior to showing up for the close.
- A relationship, based on confidence and trust, should have been developed. (check out a brief Seth Godin Blog)
- You should have identified the motivation/compelling reason for your prospect to take action.
- The prospect should have told you that they wanted to fix a problem or they realize a currently unrealized benefit.
- You and the prospect should have agreed to an investment of time, money and resources.
- You and the prospect should have agreed to a decision making process that included:
- You would supply a solution that fits their specifications
- You would supply this solution within their budget
- You would be prepared to answer all of their questions
- They would be prepared to make a decision- yes or no
- You would have sent an "as we agreed to" letter
- You would have followed up the "as we agreed to" letter with a phone call confirming the contents of the letter.
If, in fact, you have done these 6 things, then your close should be an affirmation of everything that you've already agreed to. If you haven't executed on these 6 items, then... well, you are in trouble at time of close.
Here are 8 steps for more effective closing:
- Be prepared to be dazzling (10 presentation skills you MUST execute)
- You review why you are there to present
- There is a problem that needs to be solved
- There is an "agreed to" investment to solve the problem
- There will be a decision today to either solve the problem or not solve the problem (Tell you yes or no)
- You place your 3-page presentation in front of the prospect:
- Page 1 - cover sheet
- Page 2 - list of problems identified in closing process
- Page 3 - bulleted list of solutions to problems
- You ask the prospect which problem they want to discuss first
- You provide the solution and answer all of their questions
- You ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 meaning you love it and 1 you hate it, how do you feel about the solution I've just presented?" If it is 7 or better, you are in good shape, but the prospect does not have all of the information they need. You now have to ask them, "What information do you need to get to a 10?"
- You proceed through each solution the same way
- When you finish all of your solutions you ask the question, "What would you like to do now?"
If you have done all of your work the right way, you will get a decision. The challenge here is two-fold:
- Did you do all the right stuff?
- Are you okay with hearing, "No, I don't want to do business with you?"
Executing the right stuff and being okay with hearing "no" are two of the things that make selling so damn hard.