How to Close More Deals

18 Dec

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The one question that I’m asked most often is simply “How can I close more deals?“. It’s a loaded question, but if I had only one response it would be that you have a specific sales process which gives you control throughout the entire sale.

Sales is completely different than customer service. In customer service, you bend over backwards to take care of the customer. You react to their needs.

In sales, you only bend over backwards if there is a high probability of closing a deal. As the salesperson, you drive the deal and the prospect reacts. You still want to help people but only if you get something in return. If this sounds selfish than you probably aren’t wired for sales.

1. Call the decision maker(s). If you can send over some more information, I can ask my manager…” How many times have you heard this? You are calling the wrong person and need to be talking to that manager directly.

2. Don’t waste time on maybe’s. Sometimes it is hard to tell if people are seriously interested. It’s your job to always ask questions that identify the following:

  • Am I speaking to the right person?
  • Do they need my product or service?
  • Do they understand my offering?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Do they have the budget for my product or service? (see below)

3. You have a series of questions prepared for every phone call or meeting. That means having a series of questions prepared for every phone call or meeting. I repeat – have a series of questions prepared for every phone call or meeting. This requires preparation. Are you putting the work into it?

4. There is always momentum. From the first phone call to inking the deal, there is always a next step. Whether it’s a phone call, meeting or a simple answer, it’s on the calendar and both parties are in agreement on those deadlines. You are continually dictating or asking for the next step. This weekly or daily momentum is where a salesperson is essential.

5. Every meeting has a preset agenda. It’s your job to make it a good one. Do you know everyone involved in making the decision on their end? Figure out who should be there and don’t hold the meeting until everyone can be present. Prior to the meeting, speak to every person involved and simply ask them directly what they’d like on the agenda.

6. At the meeting, use a version of this script.

  • Meeting Opener: “I’m not sure if I’m visiting at the right time, but what I’d like to do is just ask you a number of questions about your business. I’d also like to answer any and all of your questions. I can take whatever time you need today or in the future to go as deep as you wish. If it looks like there is no value, we will probably both realize that at the same time and we can end the discussion and get on with our days. Are you comfortable with that approach?”
  • Pain Probing Questions: “I’m never sure which is more important, but usually when I’m talking to a CEO, they’re often dealing with X issues and it’s usually one of two things:” (next should be a money and time problem that is related to your product or service’s solution).
  • A Catch-All Question: Is there anything else keeping you up at night in regards to X?”
  • Summary: “In regards to evaluating X, what were you planning to do next?” OR summarize issues and ask “What would you like to discuss first?

7. At the meeting, discuss the budget. 

  • What do these issues cost you per month“?” They won’t know. “How could we find out?” What do you think that problem is costing you every year?” They answer and you respond “Interesting. Where did that come from?” (their best guess or an actual number). “On a scale of 1-10, 1 not being a problem, 10 being a must change, what number would you give your intention to fix the problem?”
  • What is your process for making a decision on this in the present quarter?” Somewhere in here you should find out their process for vendor decisions. If there are a lot of steps and decision makers, ask “How long can you wait through this process while it’s costing your business even more?
  • Assuming we came back with a solution that (1) fixed the problem(s) (2) stayed within your budget and (3) includes answers to all of your questions – What action would you take?” If you don’t get a commitment, say “Tell me more about that” or “I’m not sure I understand.Shut up and work through an often uncomfortable moment. Let them think and elaborate a complete response.

8. The Proposal. It should include unique solutions catering to a prospect’s needs. It’s your “canned” proposal with specific answers to their business so that it doesn’t look like your competitors’ template. By the time you are pulling this together, the deal should already be 90% closed and this is only the window dressing.

This process has worked well for me for a number of years even though my prospect doesn’t always like it. You aren’t in sales to make prospects happy, you are selling to close deals and make clients happy.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

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drew@blueoctopusllc.com

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