Customer Experience News & Trends

Getting to ‘Yes’ without having to lower prices

To most people not in sales, a closer is a salesperson who won’t take no for an answer, a pushy individual who applies pressure to get prospects to buy.

The reality is, salespeople who still try to use high-pressure techniques to close a sale probably aren’t be aware of these major changes in closing:

  • Trust is more essential than ever to close the sale.
  • The marketplace has become more crowded, mature and competitive.
  • Purchasing has become consensus-oriented and based on relationships far less than ever before.
  • The capacity to sell value rather than price has become more critical for every salesperson.
  • Buyers are looking for advisors and business experts who deliver results that exceed basic expectations.
  • Buying decisions are being made at higher and higher levels due to the strategic importance of purchases.
  • Good closers develop strong relationships with prospects who want relationships, deliver effective solutions to those prospects who are seeking solutions, deliver greater value to those prospects who seek value, and offer a speedy transaction to those who seek a quick solution.

Keys to successful closing

The five biggest keys to closing — the most vital rules and, coincidentally, the rules that are most often broken in sales:

  1. Sell the difference. People buy for two reasons — you and what your product can do for them. Both are equally important. As the salesperson you are the embodiment of your product or service. Do you set yourself apart from the competition? If so, how? Why are you better than the next salesperson who’ll walk through the door? Can you provide service? Trust? Urgency? Dependability? Credibility? These are the questions prospects are asking themselves about you and your company that make doing business with one salesperson different than dealing with another.
  2. Time your selling. In every industry, there times that are better for prospecting and scheduling appointments than others. Each salesperson should know when these times are. You may want to write out a schedule that dictates when you’ll be making prospecting calls or stopping at businesses. Set priorities. Follow the schedule to the letter whenever possible. Nobody sells them all, but you’re guaranteed to lose 100% of the prospects you don’t call at the right time.
  3. Sell the benefits. Make a list of the most common selling points for each product or service you offer. Break each one down as being either a feature or a benefit. Prospects are more interested in benefits than in features. Here’s a great way of reinforcing that: Call some of your most loyal customers and ask them to tell you why they continue doing business with you. They’ll talk about benefits. Plus, you’ll get some great responses you can use to your advantage when speaking to new prospects. It’s not about what your company can do, it’s about how your customers can benefit.
  4. Sell relationships. Customers need to feel comfortable doing business with you. Your ability to make them feel that way could result in a constant stream of repeat business, requiring less work and tremendous payback. What do you do to sell relationships as opposed to service? Do you provide company updates? Intermittent calls or emails are a good way to stay in touch. What do the customers get from you that keeps them from looking elsewhere? It could be a phone call where you asked to provide help in areas that have nothing to do with what you sell. It could be a tip you provide to a customer that may prove helpful. Think of it this way: If your competitor put a competitive offer on the table, would doing business with you be a good enough reason to keep your customer from leaving?
  5. Sell the right contacts. Some salespeople just can’t figure why their presentations don’t get people to sign on the dotted line. Perhaps the problem isn’t in the presentation — or the price. Maybe it’s because they’re not prospecting for the right people. You can’t lose by doing as much research as possible before the call. Who are the power players at each company? Forget who you want to speak to. Who do you need to speak to? You can schedule 10 meetings with the wrong people, and it’s not worth one scheduled with the right person.

Adapted from the book “Competitive Selling, Out-Plan, Out-Think, Out-Sell to Win Every Time,” by Landy Chase, a sales trainer and consultant.

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