There’s a misconception that a lot of business leaders are under that in this modern, digitally driven age we don’t have to actually ask for the order anymore. Our experience is that closing skills are as important today as they ever were!
At Reach Revenue we have found that the greatest disparity in sales skills is usually in a salesperson’s ability to actually win business. And although we need a range of skills to win lots of businesses, closing is surely the most important.
The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Does that rule apply to your sales team? Research by the CRM vendor Propeller found that on average 80% of sales came from just 8% of the sales team.
In theory, learning how to close a sale is very straightforward: turn up prepared, present with confidence and competence, respond effectively to your prospect’s objections, ask for the order, and if needed, follow up with a firmly charming demeanor.
We find that a lot of the salespeople we work with are uncomfortable asking for the order. They see closing as a confrontational practice. Often by actively avoiding confrontation, we feel good in the moment but ignore the future. So, the conclusion we draw is that we should be more confrontational? To some extent that is the answer, certainly to be assertive.
In truth, closing is easiest when all the prospect’s questions have been answered, when your option is the best fit and most importantly when you are the most trusted partner.
In the 1992 film of David Mamet’s seminal play ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ Alec Baldwins character tells his sales team “ABC – Always Be Closing” and he’s not wrong. You’re more likely to do business with a prospect if you’ve developed a relationship and if in so doing you have become a trusted adviser and are therefore the architect of the prospect’s chosen solution.
So, here are the things you should be considering along the way:
Closing as a part of an introductory meeting:
You may not be talking to the decision maker but nonetheless the tone of the conversation confirms that the prospect has a requirement.
Your contact agrees to introduce you to the decision maker.
Another meeting gets booked to move things forward.
Financial Impact and Financial investment
The prospect acknowledges the financial impact of the problem.
You get to know who the stakeholders are.
You get the chance to present to the stakeholders.
You are introduced to the economic decision maker and other key influencers.
You seek verification from the economic decision maker, i.e., the executive sponsor.
The decision maker indicates that budget will be available.
The Buyers Knuckle Down
The buyer indicates that your solution is favoured – perhaps they ask you for a detailed proposal.
The buyers accept your solution – alternative suppliers are considered.
A key decision maker allows you to present your solution to a larger group of stakeholders who must be brought on board in order to move the deal forward.
You ask for the order.
Order Confirmation and signature
The decision makers select your proposal (the actual close).
You continue to close through price negotiation to order confirmation.
Closing is such an important part of selling that at Reach Revenue all of the sales training we deliver includes a section on closing – be it general sales skills, outbound calling or account management.
So in summary
while a well-executed digital marketing and lead generation strategy will deliver more warm leads, you still have to to sell to these people. Best practice closing starts at the very first contact with a prospect and continues along the journey until the prospect becomes a customer for the customer becomes a repeating customer.
At Reach Revenue we help our clients to implement innovative and effective plans that deliver sales growth…….
For more information about our sales process development and deployment methodology call us on 0203 858 8030 or email John.firstname.lastname@example.org