Everyone has the ability to close a sale in them. If you are in charge of selling and know that you need to improve your closing success, these seven pointers will help you.
Here’s a bit of background:
I’m not a natural salesperson – and hated the idea of selling for years. When I finally clicked into the idea that sales is a service, and by not giving the person you were in front of, the best possible solution for them you were essentially letting THEM down, it revolutionised my thinking.
Instead of worrying about whether I was going to close the deal, or thinking about my targets, or commission, I started to think about how I could serve the person in front of me
Now I have my own business, I make sure I remind myself I’m there to serve, and add value, before every sales meeting.
A big part of that was shifting my mindset and understanding the value of what we do.
Here’s my seven tips:
Believe in the value of what you are selling
This is most the most valuable piece of advice you can take from this blog. For years I said I wasn’t a coach. It wasn’t in me. So even if someone came to me and asked me to be their coach, I’d talk them out of it!
I would push them to other coaches, because I thought anyone else would be better than me. Then, I’d get frustrated when they’d tell me what advice or strategies they’d be given. It wasn’t the coaches’ weren’t good, it was more that I knew sometimes the advice was generic, and not suited to that person and their goals.
I had to learn to own that what I had to offer is a valid solution for those clients (not every client mind – we all need different things, and what those other coaches had suited lots of people!)
When I started to really believe in what I did, and took my first few clients, it honestly felt like I’d come home.
But more importantly, it changed how I sold what I do.
Because I now believe it’s valuable and worthwhile, I can now speak about it confidently.
Am I the best in the world? Not at all. But am I the best for some of the people I talk to – for them right now, where they are, yes – I am.
I believe in what I’m selling.
You need to believe in what you sell. If you don’t, people will see right through you and they won’t trust you, or you’ll talk them out of it.
Show them you care, right from the start.
When you first talk to someone about what you can offer, start with connecting with them as a person, not as a sales prospect. In old sales terms, we call this building rapport.
It’s not small talk, it’s connecting.
Some people need quite a bit of it, and you’ll wonder if it’s ever going to end
And others can cut to the chase quite quickly.
Whatever the pace they set, follow it.
If you don’t, it’s going to feel very clinical and they won’t feel you actually care.
I’m learned through many mistakes to allow people to take their own pace – often they’ll jump right into “this is what I want from you” themselves if you don’t rush this time.
Find the Gaps
You need to know what they need. Sometimes they know. And more often, they know part of it but not the whole story.
You need to take time to ask the questions to find the gaps. What do they REALLY need?
Finding the gaps often comes hand in hand with sharing value. You might need to give them free advice or guidance and explain some steps of some of the solutions. And yes – they might take that and use it with another person, but its part of your desire to ensure any time with you is valuable, and helps them start solving the reasons why they booked a time with you in the first place!
Being a gap finder shows you’re looking for the best solution for them
Yesterday someone approached us about doing google AdWords.
After asking her questions, and finding the gaps, we quickly determined that wasn’t the best fit for her right now. I might have lost a sale for AdWords yesterday, but I gained trust and an opportunity to do some different work with her first. And that’s invaluable to her as a client, and to me being able to sell with integrity.
Don’t be afraid to share your own mistakes
Being open about what you’ve learned from your own mistakes takes away any self-consciousness about them having their own needs exposed. It stops you coming across as a know it all too!
One of the mistakes I used to share all the time was how I lost my very first client, six weeks after starting Identify. It’s a story about me trying to do a part of the business I’m not suited to, and how I then realised I needed help.
I have MANY stories about my own failings.
We don’t tend to buy from people who are teflonly perfect (yup, I made that word up). We buy from people we connect with because there’s a bit of “oh I’m like that too” and it makes us more relatable, more trustworthy, and honest.
(Which you are if you tell these tales)
Allow for uncomfortable pauses
You need to give people time to think, and time to process, and time to commit. I remember the first time I was taught this. I learned it and then we did a role play practice of me trying to keep my mouth shut. TOTAL FAIL.
However, learning to let people take the time is respectful. It helps them know you’ll not rush them or push them into a decision
Anyone can learn tips to close a sale using manipulation.
But the salesperson who has lasting clients learns to take it at the speed of the person in front of them, directing them where they can’ but respecting their need to get their thoughts straight.
If you’re feeling desperate about sales, postpone the sales meeting. That whiff of desperation is a very unattractive thing!
Identify the End Game
If we know where we are headed, it’s easier to plot the right path to get there. Once you know what the big goal is, you can weave into the meeting how your solution can help them get there faster or cheaper or smarter. (Or a combination of some of these).
Get them to tell you what’s the overarching motivation behind what they are doing now.
This is also important for working out what solution they need. The solution for someone wanting to book one job a week is very different from someone wanting to book three clients a day.
Let them tell you what they need
When all is done, summarise the conversation a little, and then thank them for their time. If you’re not big on asking for the sale, (I’m ok with it now but there was a time where I wasn’t) let it get a little awkward and just wrap the meeting up. If they want to buy from you, they’ll get worried that you’re going to walk away, and ask you to sell to them.
If that freaks you out, a simpler solution is to just list the needs they presented in the meeting, and ask them if you missed anything, and then say you’ve got some solutions to those needs, and would they like to hear them.
That gives you the opportunity to give them an offer to solve their most pressing needs, and not get sidetracked by what you thought they needed.
Learning about selling is a lifelong process for anyone in charge of sales for their business. There is so much to learn and so many skills to develop. But for those of you who are reluctant at selling, these seven tips can help you feel more confident and will increase your ability to close a sale
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