By Fran Goldstein | Monday June 26, 2012
How well do you close business? How would you describe your closing technique? How much could you increase your ROI if your closing ratio were to increase by 5 or 10%? Can you factor that?
Ok, so the market is tough. You’re getting beaten up, worn out and lowering your performance standards. You are working hard (hard or smart?) on your accounts compromising your fees, taking on any new business and grateful just to be busy. Right? Please rethink that answer.
Most sales people fall into one of two categories - Order Taker or Consultant. Order Takers generally react to business opportunities while consultants approach them proactively in every aspect. Consultants are excellent listeners. They can intuit what their client is really asking for and they partner with them by making recommendations and forming strategic alliances. Order Takers are like worker bees, always engaged in activity and producing far less business than they have potential to. Why? Closing. Order Takers don’t embrace the concept of closing business. Which one are you?
Closing business starts with communication. Communication is the key to closing business and solidifying future business. Here are six simple steps to take to develop your closing skills.
1. Prepare to overcome objections. Objections are a buying sign. Expect them. Order Takers fear objections, consultants embrace them. Make a list of the ten most common objections you face daily. Then create ten logical responses to them and write scripts to support those responses. Practice articulating them so when you are in dialogue with your client you can state your response to their objection with confidence and clarity.
2. Pre-close with each conversation. A pre-close is like a “heads up.” It is the delivery of the projected outcome throughout the sales process. Statements like “If I can ..then you will..” are pre-close statements to remind your buyer of the bottom line, or outcome. You pre-close every day in your personal life without realizing it when you tell yourself “If I get to the gym for one hour I can watch American Idol tonight!” You get the point.
3. Listen. Actively listen to each communication in the sales process with your client. Whether live, email or via phone, pay attention for any changes in attitude, timeframe or specs. Those changes are signs of a change in the outcome of your business deal. Order Takers deny the changes and ignore their signs; Consultants proactively address them to keep their deal on course.
4. Protect your product or service. If it is a candidate or product you are representing, stay very engaged with them to make sure you are aware of any changes in their status, availability or interest level. By denying shifts in what you committed to deliver you will compromise your ability to close on time.
5. Document details. There is no excuse with technology as sophisticated as it is today not to document your conversations with your client. You will have no recourse to clarify any miscommunication, like your fee, if you don’t have it well documented. Keep track of dates, times and details especially when it comes to financial obligations, guarantees and payment terms.
6. Reflect. Take time to think about your business. What did you do well that helped you close your last 3 deals? What could you have done differently? Invest in a Sales Journal and journal your sales cycles. You will be able to identify your patterns and learn when you typically compromise your closings. Is it when you are feeling desperate? Is it when you are intimidated by your client? You can actually train yourself and track the increased ROI as you gain insight into your sales closings.
By tracking these six steps you will develop more consistent and more frequent closings. “Work smarter not harder” is not just a cliché, it is a fact. Moving from Order Taker to Closer is not about what is happening AROUND YOU, it’s about what is happening INSIDE YOU! You can choose to become an excellent closer.