Sales & Sales Management Expertise

8 Steps for More Effective Closing - Sales Solution #10

Tags: Selling, qualifying prospects, sales presentations, sales improvement, sales development, successful selling, close more sales

Sales people typically want to know how to do three things better:

  1. See more people
  2. Manage their time
  3. 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.

  1. A relationship, based on confidence and trust, should have been developed.  (check out a brief Seth Godin Blog)
  2. You should have identified the motivation/compelling reason for your prospect to take action.
  3. The prospect should have told you that they wanted to fix a problem or they realize a currently unrealized benefit.
  4. You and the prospect should have agreed to an investment of time, money and resources.
  5. 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
  6. You would have sent an "as we agreed to" letter
  7. 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:

  1. Be prepared to be dazzling (10 presentation skills you MUST execute)
  2. 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)
  3. 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
  4. You ask the prospect which problem they want to discuss first
  5. You provide the solution and answer all of their questions
  6. 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?"
  7. You proceed through each solution the same way
  8. 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:

  1. Did you do all the right stuff?
  2. 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.

DOWNLOAD our FREE eBOOK -   Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?

7 More Sales Core Competencies

Tags: sales competencies, improve sales, OMG assessment, sales improvement

In 2008, I posted two blogs covering 14 of the 21 core competencies identified by the Objective Management Group Sales Person Assessment.  Between then and now, much has taken place that I've written about, and as I fly from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon, I have some time to write about the remaining 7 core competencies.  I know that you've been waiting with baited breath.

1.  Establishes early bonding and rapport:  The ability to quickly establish confidence and trust in the first meeting, rather than taking several meetings to develop a strong relationship.

2.  Uncovers actual budgets:  The skill and the consistency in knowing what the investment parameters are going to be so that you eliminate money, time or resource objections at time of presentation.

3.  Discovers why prospects will buy:  As elementary as this sounds, most sales people do not find out exactly "why" a prospect will buy. They know what is important, they have an idea of what a prospect will consider or look at, but that is entirely different than knowing exactly why someone will buy.  You know that you have this competency when you get decisions instead of "think it overs".

4.    Qualifies proposals and quotes.  Those that have this competency and execute it consistently will make sure that they will get a decision or, at a minimum, a very clear future once they present.  Those with this competency only make proposals and quotes when they know that the prospect is committed to buying.

5.  Gets commitments and decisions:  This competency manifests itself prior to making presentations.  It needs to happen once you have uncovered the compelling reasons someone will buy, you have their commitment to buy, you know the budget issues and you know that you are talking to the decision maker(s).  Once these items have been covered, a great sales person simply asks the prospect to make a decision, yes or no, when the presentation is completed.  More importantly, they make the commitment to decide stick.

6.  Possesses a strong desire for success in selling:  this is defined as being passionate about your success.  It is someone that enjoys selling.  Someone with the appropriate desire is someone that looks forward to generating new relationships and is passionate about pursuing and achieving their goals and the goals of the company.  They don't just set goals; they achieve them.

7.  Commits to succeed in selling:  I have identified three types of commitment:  1) WIT: Whatever it Takes.  2) WITALAIITU:  Whatever it Takes as Long as it Isn't Too Uncomfortable.  3) Coast to Coast: When they are just going through the motions and coast from the beginning of the day to the end of the day.  However, there is only one level of commitment that contributes to extraordinary success:  WIT.

Think about these 7 core competencies and how they relate to your ability to execute an effective sales process.  These 7, along with the other 14, should be considered the "root causes" of your sales issues.  If you are to continue your improvement in sales, then you might consider working at the correct end of your problems:  Theses 21 core competencies of selling.

DOWNLOAD our FREE eBOOK -   Why is Selling So #%&@ Hard?