Too many salespeople think closing the deal is the final effort. In reality, you begin closing the deal at the beginning of your sales effort. Opening your call well is more important than how you close it; you have only a few minutes to establish yourself as a credible resource.
Customers now know much more about the sales process than customers of 10 or 15 years ago. When you walk in their door they have a pretty good idea what they want to buy, who sells it and approximately how much they should spend. Google and LinkedIn also bring them all the information they need to make an informed decision about you and your company. During that first meeting, you must start building your credibility. The best way to do that is to demonstrate that you have their best interests in mind. Ask a few probing questions, and listen more than you talk (30%).
Your sales process should be a series of small closings. Confirming that you understand your prospect’s problems and asking to move the process along to the next step or meeting are both “closes.” Closing the deal should not be a big event but rather the culmination of a series of smaller events that lead to a longer commitment. Signing the order, inking the contract, closing the deal are all natural extensions of your sales process. It is not the final action that you force upon the prospect. To use a football analogy: you move the ball a few yards at a time. The 85-yard pass play will not work every time you throw it.
Think about it: the concept of closing the deal makes the process sound all about you, the salesperson, and implies reaching closure on your sales process. Instead, closing should be the continuation of a longer commitment and completing your customer’s buying process.
When you’re focused on committing to the relationship, the way to “close the deal” is to:
- Build credibility and gain your prospect’s trust by showing that you have their interest in mind.
- Always think in terms of “mini-closes” as you move from stage to stage of your process.
- Seek the commitment, not the close.
Finally, have your prospect agree to a picture of success as you move through your process. Describe that point in the future when your prospect enjoys the results of employing your solution.
This way, you confirm that you and your prospect are in sync on what the long-term result should be, giving you a road map you can refer to frequently as you stay on track.
… zackly, Mark!
Great capture, Mark! Agree, the key is to listen to understand their world and become their preferred problem-solver.