You have built a network of leads, cultivated relationships with prospects, and extolled the virtues of your product or service. However, you know that all of your efforts will be for naught if a wavering would-be buyer decides against following through with the sale at any time. Many salespeople believe that sealing the deal is the most difficult step in the sales process. While there is no single technique that will succeed with all prospects, several strategies may be used throughout the process to help pave the way for a smooth closing:
- Remember your ABCs. “Always Be Closing” is a common sales adage that serves as a reminder to focus on the closing from the outset of contact with potential clients. This means that you should treat all leads as possible buyers, even if they proffer excuses and seem uninterested or unlikely to follow through with a sale. However, it is important to be subtle as you zero in on a prospect, as most buyers will be deterred if they sense a hard sell. Instead of applying high-pressure techniques, focus your early efforts on building a rapport and gleaning information about the prospect and his or her needs.
- Respond to leads promptly and be prepared to answer any questions effectively. Studies indicate that you are nine times more likely to convert a lead if you respond to their emails within five minutes. To begin building a relationship with prospects, personalize your communications with them. It may help to research the prospect and his business through channels such as social media and the business’s website in order to begin anticipating their needs and gather details to mention in your correspondence.
- Meet in person with prospects when possible. Face-to-face meetings are important for developing trust and allow you to present visual or physical aids to which potential buyers are more likely to respond.
- Identify the prospect’s pain points by asking a lot of questions. When they hesitate about the decision to make a purchase, use the information you have gleaned to convince them that your product or service will fulfill their needs.
- Write down important details about your proposal. Potential buyers may be more inclined to believe in what you are offering if they see it in writing. This also helps you to remember the terms that you have discussed. Therefore, you should always have a pen and paper handy when meeting with prospects.
- Have the courage to ask for a sale. This requires confidence in yourself and your product or service, but may help you to seal the deal with an uncertain client. If the response is negative, deploy your creative thinking skills to find a new, less direct way to ask for the business. This method is most likely to succeed after you have built trust and rapport with your prospect.
- Allow the prospect sufficient time to consider your offer, but follow up with them regularly. Even after you have closed a deal, subsequent communication lays the foundation for a lasting relationship and subsequent sales.