Close the Deal
All small business owners know that sales are the lifeblood of a business, and closing the deal is the most important part of the sales process. ‘Selling’ is something that has negative associations for many of us though, meaning it’s easy to be paralysed by the fear of ‘selling’ and that we waste the leads that we’ve worked so hard to gather!
The following tips may help you to close the deals you’ve been working on…
1. Take a personalised approach.
These days, customers have access to more data than ever via the internet. They tend not to want to be sold to.
Instead, you should focus on helping them to buy. This is called consultative selling and it works particularly well in a business-to-business (B2B) situation.
Try to understand the customer’s pain points:
- What keeps them awake at night?
- How does your proposed solution address those pain points?
If you can build a personalised approach for the prospective customer, you’ll also build trust.
2. Objection handling.
Preparation is half the battle! Over time you’ll come to know the types of objections that potential customers have with the product or service you’re offering.
From there you can prepare for each sales interaction and anticipate the objections they may raise. Every prospect is likely to have objections around things like pricing, availability, or how your product/service compares to that of another business.
Do your research and be prepared to discuss how your product/service offers something different to that of your competitors.
If you don’t have the opportunity to sit in front of your potential customers, these are the points to cover in your online content. Taking each objection in order, or grouped in various posts, you can show that you’ve considered them, that they may have merit, but can be overcome because of the points you’ve listed.
3. Know the decision maker.
To help close more sales, it’s important to know the decision maker if you can.
Are you talking to the right person? If not, how do you get to the right person?
To close more deals, you need to get the decision maker in the room/on the call. We’re back to the quality of your research with this one, to be sure that you’re speaking with the right person on each sales deal.
If you can’t sit in front of your prospect, or speak to them direct, you’ll need to be really clear about your customer avatar, and qualifying your leads along the way. Making your marketing message really clear about the starting prices for your product will reduce the number of your leads, for example, but your conversion rate should increase, and you’re likely to waste less time on calls with ‘tyre kickers’.
4. Know when to push.
If you feel that the prospect’s questions have been answered and they have an understanding of the solutions that you can provide, you should ask for the sale, and then stop. Let the customer speak next, without you needing to fill any pause.
This is a critical moment and it’s important to reiterate the solution that you’re offering in a knowledgeable and confident manner (but remain polite and ensure you don’t come across as pushy or arrogant).
5. Dot the I’s.
Once you’ve had the acceptance of your offer, finalise any paperwork and provide the customer with the information they need to accept the deal and make their payment arrangements as quickly as possible.
Keeping this straightforward and user-friendly will reduce the chances of ‘buyer’s remorse’ or any unnecessary friction slowing the process. The goal is to get your customer through the necessary paperwork / acceptance process as quickly and easily as possible.
Automating this process can be hugely benefical.
6. Keep them in the pipeline (if appropriate).
If you can’t close the deal at this stage, set up a follow-up meeting in a month or two so that you can keep nurturing the potential client.
However, if the prospect has made clear that they’re not interested, it may be time to walk away. Ask for an explanation for the decision not to proceed, and you can make an informed decision for next steps.
Keeping in touch with your ‘not-yet’ customers can transform your business. Just because they can’t proceed yet, doesn’t mean they never will. Over the years, we’ve kept in touch with lots of business owners who weren’t ready to proceed at that point but who have subsequently become clients when the time is right. By keeping in touch, you’re adding value, and reminding them that you can help them.
If you’re selling a product rather than a service, the process is no different. Keep in touch with regular emails, offers or similar and you’ll see a steady trickle of sales coming from your mailing list over time. This flow of sales is low cost, and gives you at least some return on the investment of time you’ve already made in these leads.
7. Tailor your approach.
Use different sales methods depending on the situation.
For example, if you’re approached by a potential customer who has been on your website, has been referred by a previous customer and knows exactly how you can help them, they’re really close to being ready to purchase from you. At this point you can quickly move through the sales process and finalise everything in order to get the deal across the line as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Likewise, if a prospect isn’t sure what they are looking for, you’ll need to spend more time in discussions and consultations before asking for the sale.
8. Get out of your own way!
If you’re reluctant to ask for the sale outright, it might be helpful to think about the question in terms of getting to the decision to help your customer, rather than being focused on getting the sale to help your cashflow. You know that they’ll benefit from your product or service, so consider it in those terms.
And if the phrase ‘close the deal’ puts you in mind of pushy double glazing salesmen, try thinking of one of the following instead, which may help!
- Reach a decision
- Wrap things up
- Lock in the agreement
- Confirm your purchase
- Move ahead together
- Get things moving
As ever, if there’s anything we can do to help with converting your prospects to sales, or helping you with the process, please get in touch.
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