Before you can expect to close a sale, you must first earn the right to ask for the sale. You do this by delivering on your promises and by following up on customer requests. You earn the right by showing up for appointments on time, prepared and eager to serve the customer. Focus each call on how you can help the customer instead of what you can get from the customer, and you will eventually earn the right to ask for the sale.
After any customer call (whether face to face or over the phone) ask the customer what needs to happen next. If they are unsure, make suggestions that move you closer to the desired outcome. Remember that the next step could be to close the sale.
Each step you take in a sales cycle should be leading you towards partnering with your customer. In every communication with the customer remind yourself of where you want to go and focus your efforts on moving in that direction. Without knowing where you are going, you may find yourself taking steps that lead you away from closing the sale. Keep focused on your purpose during each step in the sales process.
How to close more sales
In most sales cycles, your customers will ask for something. Whether they ask for information, a lower price, product demonstrations or customer referrals, expect that you will be giving a lot during the sales cycle. A good rule to remember is that you should always ask for something after you give something. For example, if the customer asks for a demonstration, ask for their commitment to move forward to the next steps if the demonstration proves that your product or service will fulfil their need. This is known as a pre-close. The customer having no option other than to place an order if your product does everything he says it needed to do.
In a price-sensitive market, the winner is the one who is able to show more value than the asked for price. Value is determined not by the market but by your customer. Show them that your product or service has more intrinsic value than the price, and the sale is yours.
A mistake that many inexperienced sales professionals make is to promise something that they cannot deliver. For example, if you are selling a product that requires the item be shipped, tell the customer when to expect the item and never suggest that you can get it to them sooner than what is realistic. It is better to tell them that delivery will take longer than what it probably will.
How to close more sales
If you follow the last tip you will have ample opportunity to over deliver. Delivering an item earlier than expected will be seen by most customers as you going out of your way to help them. However, if you’ve over promised, you’ve probably set yourself up to under deliver. This creates a diminished sense of value in the customer’s mind, making it more challenging for you to close the sale.
You will have competition in every sale. Competition can come in the form of another company or from the potential of your customer making no decision. If you put down your competition, you immediately put the customer on the defensive. Doing so may cost you the sale. Instead, praise the competition where they are strong and point out where your company outshines everyone else.