They either come all at once; or there’s nothing for what feels like ages. This is very common. And when the going gets tough it’s likely a business will disregard all its best practice, to desperately close a sale, such as reducing prices and agreeing to outrageous terms.
This is because some companies do not have a defined sales process, which then leads to inconsistency and inability to seal the deal. In order to close a sale, companies need to put strategic and intelligently crafted plans in place to give their businesses and sales programmes a boost. Below are my top tips on how to help secure that sale.
Don’t give away free advice – firstly, no matter what your numbers look like, don’t be drawn into cost cutting or giving free advice. This is certain to lead to failure because it creates the impression that you don’t value your service. As yourself, how can a customer be persuaded to trust you if you don’t trust yourself? Clients do not want the cheapest, they want the best. If you start a process of free consulting then you start a cycle that will only get worse.
Listen – remember that people are most interested in themselves and the challenges they face. The amount of sales you make is proportional to the amount of information you gather, not the information you give. One of the greatest skills you need to master in a sales environment is to be an effective listener. By talking knowledgeably about your prospect’s problems, you will hold their attention and ultimately, enable them to engage with you and go the distance.
Be discerning – when we meet with prospects we want to hear a yes. That’s only natural. We also feel in difficult times, beggars can’t be choosers. But sometimes if you’re in front of ‘the prospect from hell’ you need to make a judgement call as to whether it would be beneficial to turn them into a client from hell – or simply walk away. Sometimes it pays to be discerning. In the business world there will always be time wasters; the trick is to spot them early and not let them waste your most valuable resource – your time.
Track your progress – how are you supposed to learn if you don’t track your progress and amend your processes? It’s important to have a basic structure in place so you can monitor your progress in contacting key prospective customers and how the sales process went. Moving forward, you can begin to craft an approach that really resonates with customers.
Enjoy it – sales meetings and calls do not have to be a gritty, hard-won, exhausting experience. You may need to be gutsy for a few seconds at a time, but learn to relax and bring some humour into things. If you enjoy what you doing, it comes across in your speech, body language and your whole presence.
Sales is a process, built on a series of skills that can be learnt, developed and grown over time. Appraising and improving your sales process can help ensure you no longer let that all important sale slip through your fingers and can help drive your targets moving forwards.
Shaun Thomson is CEO of Sandler Training
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