Saturday, April 13, 2013

Probably The Most Important Sales Skill of All

Here is a 4-step process to help you hone your ability to sell successfully.


It doesn't matter how good your service, product, idea or vision is. It doesn't matter how smart you think you can be with your marketing. It doesn't matter how 'funtastically' charismatic and knowledgeable you are. If you can't close the deal, your business, your marketing and sales effort is just a waste of time and energy. 

The best way to learn essential sales skill is to understand how the good sales people prepare and close deals. Here is a four step process that a driven and hungry sales professional can follow:


1.  Start with the end in mind by "thinking like a closer."


The "great closers" of the sales world share these three characteristics:
  1. They're prompt. When closers get a hot sales lead, they're on it immediately. If they sense the time is right, they close the deal, right then and there.
  2. They're persistent. When closers know that they've got something the Prospect need, they keep working with that Prospect until the Prospect sees the need, too. It's also about painting a new reality for the Prospect.
  3. They're focused. Closers are constantly improving their skills at engaging in dialog and questioning the Prospect and do all the extra mental work to build their own confidence and ability. They constantly ask better questions.

If you want to be good at closing deals, never pass up an opportunity to cultivate those personal characteristics in yourself. Play the "porcupine game" of answering a question with another question. 

Example:

Question: How are you today?
Answer: I am great and how are you today?

Question: How should I proceed?
Answer: If you have the perfect answer, how would you proceed?

Question: How do I solve this issue?
Answer: If you have a magic wand to solve it, how would the solution look like?



2.  Set an objective for every meeting.


Great Closers approach every meeting with a Prospect with an objective that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T.). 

While you are at it, make it appropriately aggressive too. 


Examples:

  • Today, I will Prospect 15 Leads, reach at least 7 of them and close 1 appointment.
  • Today, I will Qualify my Prospects and build my sales pipeline. 
  • Today, I will obtain a working description of the Prospect's problem.
  • Today, I will get my Prospect procurement process & decision-makers.
  • Today, I will get a copy of the competitor's proposal without their company details.
  • Today, I will get first access to my Prospect's boss contact.
  • Today, I will ask for the business.

Closers never have vague goals like "get closer to the customer" or "explore customer needs." In business, vagueness is the enemy of success. These specific goals help closers visualize the sales process as series of smaller closes that lead towards the final close. 

If you are one of my business mentees or The Science of Sales graduates, you have already learnt the 9-Step Sales Process. Apply it diligently, apply it with hunger, keep on building and tightening your sales questions.



3.  Check to see if the Prospect is ready to Buy.


Great Closers look for feedback from prospective customers about whether it's the right time to close. This allows them to make closing a natural extension of the "sales conversation".

At convenient points during the customer meeting, closers ask questions that reveal the Prospect's state of mind relative to the progress of the sale.


Examples:

  • How does that sound?
  • How would that work?
  • What do you think about...?
  • What do you see after the implementation......

Such questions help closers see the "green lights" that will increase the closer's confidence that asking for the next step (or for the business) is the right thing to do.

Note that the questions above are open-ended. Asking yes/no questions like "Does that make sense to you?" or "Do you agree?" just cause customers to nod along, without providing the closer any useful information.



4.  Close with Confidence.


If you follow the previous three rules, there's a good chance that your prospective customer will close for you and saying something like "So, when do we start? or "What do I do next?"

If this does not happen, you do the following:  

  1. Summarise. Make a concise, powerful summary that reiterates the benefits of your offerings and its appropriateness for the prospect.
  2. Make a final check. Example: "I think we've pretty much concluded that our solution will solve your problem, save you time and money with increased of productivity in the following areas........... how does that meet your objective?" The final check gives the customer the opportunity to surface any final objections that might interfere with the close. Handle it and manage it.
  3. Ask for the business. If the final check gives a "green light," be direct and ask for the business--confidently and clearly.  Example: "Will you give us the go-ahead?"

It's really that simple. 

If you got value from this post, imagine what you will be learning during "The Science of Sales" 2-day program and how differently and easily you will start closing when you learn all the 9-Steps of Sales


For more details about "The Science of Sales" click here.



Stay driven!

Moonshi Mohsenruddin
Sales Mentor | The Science of Sales

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