Storytelling is a community act that involves sharing knowledge and values. It’s one of the most unifying elements of mankind, central to human existence, taking place in every known culture in the world. In the same way, presentations in all their many forms are never just about transferring information alone. We are emotional beings, like [...]
Do you inwardly cringe when your sales conversation is coming to an end and it’s time to ask that closing question? Do you often avoid asking for the business? If you’re like most sales people, the answer to both questions is “yes.”
Why is closing so hard to do?
Part of the problem probably lies in the type of conversation we have with our customers. Too many salespeople go through the process assuming acceptance on the part of customers but without actually asking for commitments from them.
There is a very good reason to ask for a commitment. You see, you don’t ask closing questions for your own benefit. You ask them for your customer’s benefit. Verbalising their active acceptance cements a customer’s commitment to the sales process and to the sale itself.
So how can you elicit more active commitments from your customer?
How to gain commitment
Time: The very first commitment you need from your dream client is the commitment of their time. Without gaining the commitment of time, you can’t create an opportunity. This is why prospecting is the critical activity for sales professionals; prospecting is where this commitment is first gained. As you go through your sales process and help your dream client with their journey, you are going to need to ask for and gain commitment of their time.
Change: If your potential client isn’t open to making a commitment to change, you don’t have an opportunity. Without the commitment to change, you don’t have a lead. It isn’t your dream client’s needs, it isn’t their spending, and it isn’t the value that you can create for them that makes an opportunity; it’s their willingness to commit to change that makes an opportunity real.
Create value: Great salespeople know how to create value for the client on every sales encounter. They leverage this ability to link the value they create to future value creation and to obtain the commitment to create together that future value. I see lots of entrepreneurs put out amazing content in the social media every week but they don’t give concrete solutions. They write thoughtful, useful newsletters and always give value. Yet they ask nothing in return. It’s okay to say – “Here’s some useful information, and if you want to take this further, here’s how you work with me…” You may have noticed that at the end of every article, I invite you to book a seat at one of Maurice Kerrigan Africa’s training courses – this is intentional.
Collaborate: Collaborative selling begins with a different mind-set: a commitment to the long-term. Today’s customers buy differently, so today’s salespeople must sell differently. Customers know there is no urgency to buy because good deals, good salespeople, and good companies come along every day. Price is less of an issue because buyers are not just interested in great deals, they want great relationships. Today’s customers are looking for measurable quality in the products and services they buy. Collaborative selling allows the buyer to feel that he has “bought” – not that he has been “sold.” Collaborative salespeople make it clear that they want to help, not just make a sale.
Gain consensus: All it takes is one dissenting stakeholder to sour the rest of your sale, and possibly negatively affect your product or service. With this in mind, salespeople need to ask their contact to involve all relevant parties in the buying process and help those stakeholders get on board. Unless you can get that group to reach consensus that they’re going to buy, and buy from you, there’s no way the deal is going to close.
Review: Get the buyer to agree to review your solution with you before deciding one way or the other. This gives you the opportunity to iterate if they’re not blown away by your initial proposal. This commitment requires that you present to all of the stakeholders involved in the decision, that you get their input, and that you have an opportunity to make adjustments.
Resolve concerns: Cold feet at the end of the process is natural, but good salespeople will help their buyers work through their concerns instead of fading into the background and allowing doubt to take over. You need the commitment to follow up your presentation and resolve any concerns your potential client may have. Those concerns may be resolved by providing proof, by walking through your implementation plan, or simply by spending time answering questions. If you don’t know what their concerns are, you can’t resolve them.
Closing: Great salespeople ask for the deal. Knowing that they have created value during every sales encounter, knowing they have worked to fully understand the prospect’s needs before proposing a solution, having revised their solution to meet the needs of all of the prospect’s stakeholders, the salesperson knows that they can naturally, comfortably ask for the commitment to move forward.
Great salespeople obtain commitments that move the deal through the sales and buying process.
How about a commitment from you? Are you committed to improving your sales skills? Are you committed to sales training as a way to become a better salesperson?
Maurice Kerrigan Africa offers a three-day Creative Sales Professional programme training course that will teach you how to release your AUTHENTIC power in a way that is difficult for clients to resist.
Book your seat at our upcoming course scheduled for 13 – 15 March, 2017 in Johannesburg.
Click here to look at Maurice Kerrigan Africa’s public course training schedule.