When companies strategize sales with their teams and Sales Associates, they often talk about a lot of things but not always about the right things. Sometimes there are so many factors that go into building a successful sales strategy that we get a little lost in the process and stagger just before the goal line: closed deals. We’ve all experienced the client who shows interest and is initially engaged in the process but suddenly goes quiet right before the big moment. What happened? How can you turn this relationship into a closed deal? How can you as a Sales Associate, or those on your team make it happen?
Your not alone in your questions on how to close deals. Entreprenuer.com has an entire section of their website dedicated to “Closing the Sale” for Sales Associates. Don’t feel bad for asking the question, rather be encouraged that you are seeking to find the answer. These situations can be salvaged to create long term client relationships if you handle them the right way.
Here are five ways you can rescue a deal in peril:
1. Be Real
Too often the sales conversation feels forced and fake. If that’s how it seems to you, it most certainly feels that way to your client. Dancing around the issue only makes everyone more uncomfortable. So get it out and be real about it. The first few minutes of your call or meeting you need to ask what’s going on. If you are managing a sales team, encourage your Sales Associate to be open and honest.
Address the issue using concrete terms and put it out there. It’s OK to let your client know that they appear to be stalling. Ask why and do it directly. You’ll likely find that they have run into some type of roadblock in closing the deal. Now you have something you can work on together to get the deal done.
2. Create Urgency the Right Way
This is a staple sales tool which is often employed using the “breaking news” routine. While the approach of creating urgency can be successful, the “this just in” method has been well used and is fairly transparent. There are other ways to create urgency, and often that’s most easily accomplished by taking something away.
First, briefly recap your deal with the client to reinforce the value that you’ve offered them. Then yank it away. Let them know that they don’t appear ready to commit and you have pull the deal. Serious clients will resist this idea. This gives you an opportunity to set new goals or timelines for getting it done. Clients who take the opportunity as a way out have already made up their minds. It’s better for you or your Sales Associates to know now and move on to more productive endeavours.
3. Differentiate Yourself
It’s important that your client views you or the team of Sales Associates you are leading as different from the throngs of salespeople calling the office. Make sure you have done your research, try and know something about your client’s business or industry that no other salesperson would bother to mention. Use this information to solidify your value as a partner and move them to close. Show enthusiasm that you actually enjoy being a sales associate and you are excited to bring them a solution that can actually provide value.
4. Bring Your Notes
During the relationship building phase of the sales cycle be sure to take careful notes. Remember that the most important notes are the ones that most other sales associates don’t bother to write down. You should have as many notes of small talk as from discussion of business. These notes are the ammunition that you’ve collected for this one call to close a deal. This is the call where you use the information you’ve gathered to make your client understand that you know their business and more importantly you know them as people.
5. Build The Relationship Early
Your clients understand the tangible result of saying “no thank you.” But it’s harder to quantify the relationship you have built with them through tidbits of industry information you’ve offered or the value of your personal expertise as a partner and trusted Sales Associate. If you have built these foundations in your client’s value perception, you have a lot more to work with when they are faced with the decision of keeping you around. Throughout the sales cycle you should be constantly demonstrating attention to detail, zeal for your clients’ business and insights that other salespeople don’t offer. When it’s time for the client to make a “yes/no” decision there will be factors driving them far beyond the terms in the contract.