9 Proven Habits Every Sales Closer Needs To Develop
From walking prospects through a demo to addressing their concerns. Salespeople spend a lot of time trying to close a deal. It all looks easy on paper: you do your homework, show up, give your pitch, answer the prospect’s questions, and ask for a sale.
If you do it right, you get a positive answer. In practice, however, not all sale closers are made the same.
While the formula is the same, it’s these nine habits that separate closers from losers.
Don’t focus on the close
Like many sales pups, when I began selling, I gave a lot of thought to which tactics to use to seal a deal. What to say at the end? Should I discreetly slide the contract across the desk or ask straight-up,
“Do we have a deal?”
All along, I failed to realize that my actions at the close were not as important as the actual things I did that led up to the close.
The thing is if you start off the negotiations strong, you’ll be providing a lot of value upfront. When you demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s pain points better than anyone else, the prospect has every reason to think,
“This is someone I can work with.”
Whatever you’re doing at the time of the close, all that matters is what you did at the start of the interaction. If you covered all the issues at the beginning, you won’t have to apply some fancy tactics at the close itself.
If you want to close sales one after the other, stop focusing on the close and instead invest your energy into what happened before.
At Better Proposals, we always put our money where our mouth is. This is why we’ve adopted the same strategy in writing our sales proposal that won over $38,000,000 of business for our customers in 2021.
We start strong with a stunning cover that you can fully customize to appeal to your prospects. The cover page is followed by an impressive introduction and services section.
In the steps that follow, you explain your process and timescale, introduce your team, and present the client’s investment. Finally, you present a pre-written contract and offer the prospect to sign it electronically right there in the proposal.
Stop sounding desperate
Have you ever witnessed a situation where you got the sense that the salesperson needs to clear the deal to pay their rent, mortgage, or just to live another day? There’s nothing worse than prospects catching this air of desperation on your side.
In sales circles, this is known as “sales breath”. Once they smell it, your potential clients will most likely shrink away and plan to do nothing about your offer.
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being desperate to close a sale, but you can never let your prospects see it.
Being desperate during a sales meeting or a call is just as corrosive as being desperate on a date. When you’re on a first date with someone and get the sense that they’re really into you from the beginning, you naturally pull back a bit.
That’s just how your prospects feel when we make it obvious that we need to close the sale to prevent the financial ruin of our business.
In other words, to master the art of sales closing, you need to learn to present yourself as a confident, financially independent individual with disposable income, and above all not desperate to close the deal at hand.
With practice, you’ll be able to turn this mindset into your most formidable sales closing tool.
Don’t push it – talk them into it.
Find your IPPs
IPP stands for the Ideal Prospect Profile. The idea is to focus the bulk of your sales resources and energy on selling exclusively to a smaller group of prospects who are your ideal prospects – people who have the budget, the money, and problems that your products or services solve.
These are the types of prospects that can grow into returning clients. Selling to these people can be an excellent way for you to learn the art of closing the sale.
The key to selling to your IPPs is to accurately define your ideal customers. These are the people you can have effortless communication with, without having to prove anything. Your product is a perfect salve to their wounds.
That considering, you also need to determine who you don’t want to sell to. Not even the greatest salespeople can constantly deal with people who are less-than-ideal fit for what they sell.
Abandon the pitch
The word “pitch” is still in use by many sales managers and CEOs. You can hear things like,
“Our team needs to have a better pitch to close more sales next month”.
And I always think to myself – That’s so untrue.
Their job is not to think of brilliant client presentations that convince people to buy something like something Don Draper and Peggy pull in an episode of Mad Men.
When you pitch, you assume that your ideal prospects are stupid and they need you to stage some kind of play to convince them to buy from you.
Your prospects are more likely smart and well-informed so they don’t need a sales pitch at all.
Research shows that 57% of people think buyers are less dependent on salespeople than two to three years ago.
They need you to lead a conversation from which they can conclude whether your business is a strong fit. That’s where disqualification comes in. Drop the old-school pitch. You’re not a door-to-door fur salesman.
Once you master it, disqualification might as well become your biggest passion around closing the sale.
Among most salespeople, I’ve been thought to somehow persuade and convince potential clients to do business with you. The truth is you don’t have to convince anyone to do anything.
You simply need to determine whether the prospect in front of you is a fit for what you offer.
This process is called disqualification.
So how do you achieve it?
Start asking questions to determine if there’s a good fit. When you do it right, prospects can see the underlying value in your offer.
If they’re a good fit for you, you’re likely a good fit for them.
In this day and age, prospects have already gone through your marketing material. Most likely on multiple channels. They have access to enough information to decide whether they’re interested in your product or service.
This considering, it’s not your job to persuade them, but rather decide if they’re a qualified fit for you.
The last thing you want is to waste time on tire-kickers.
Answer questions with questions
Prospects ask a lot of questions, and classically-trained salespeople respond to those questions with a variation of a pitch:
“That’s a very good question! Let me tell you why our software is the best for …”
I guess that made sense back in the day.
However, today’s professional salespeople seek to understand why the prospect is asking the question in the first place. It’s not about evading the answer – but about determining what’s the most important to the prospect.
So instead of eagerly answering your prospect’s questions, gear it down and find out why they want to know it in the first place.
For example, if a prospect asks something like,
“Can you people offer more service with this software?”
Most salespeople would say something like,
“You bet we can. And we can offer even better service than our competitors because we have developed a custom…”
But why did the prospect ask the question in the first place?
Instead, consider responding with something like,
“That’s a good question. Can you help me understand what made you ask that in the first place?
Now the prospect is more inclined to tell you why they’re interested in more service.
Maybe the last time they bought a tool the service that went with it was disastrous. Maybe there wasn’t any service at all, or they’re interested in a particular part of the service they don’t understand.
Learning about those specifics is more important than answering their question with an unsolicited monologue about how great your service is.
More often than not, a prospect’s question is like an iceberg – with salespeople never discovering what’s beneath the surface. You need to close the sale by looking at what’s underneath.
Insist on the Next Steps
If you really want to learn how to close the sale, you need to understand the importance of “next steps”.
You may hear salespeople complaining about how the sales cycle is too long, it goes one on one with prospects taking weeks or even months to close.
What are those closers missing? You give up? Next steps.
Whenever I hear something like that, I cannot but ask myself,
“Do you even offer next steps, bro?”
In reality, most salespeople put themselves in the position of having to follow up with prospects later on. This is a death wish when it comes to closing deals.
You should always schedule your next step with a prospect. As you stand in front of them there and then.
It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting at the same table, talking on the phone, or on a Meet call with a prospect. Always schedule the next step before you end the conversation.
Do this one simple thing and you’ll never have to follow up on a prospect again.
Now, if a prospect is not willing to schedule the next step during the meeting, it’s probably a signal that the sale has gone wrong. This way scheduling the next steps is both a great indicator of where you stand with the prospect and a means of holding the sale together.
Instead of presenting or pitching, you should focus on solving. Your sole purpose in a client’s meeting should be to demonstrate that your products or services can solve the prospect’s problems.
If you’ve done the disqualification right, you’ve already taken insight into what’s going on in their world. When you learn about their challenges, you’re discovering what they really need. Finally, you can show them how to solve the issues they mentioned.
Think of it as helping the prospects cross a wide river. The middle of the river is where the rapids are the strongest. That’s what they want to avoid at all costs. But since your prospects are on one bank and what to get to the other, they need a bridge to get them across.
Your offering is that bridge.
Since they can’t get there on their own, show them how you can provide a safe bridge to get them from one bank to another.
Keep getting better
When it comes to closing the sale, the biggest problem you face is actually in your head. You’re hard on yourself when you don’t close the deal. You blame yourself when the deal goes bad and take this mental and emotional baggage to the next conversation.
If you really want to become a master of sales, you need to learn to let that burden go. When a sale doesn’t happen, you need to say to yourself,
“Not all things are meant to be. There are a hundred reasons why this sale has gone south.”
At the same time, you need to learn from every sales opportunity. Especially the ones that don’t go the way you plan them to. Any sale you don’t close is a great chance to learn from. Take a moment to think about what you can do better next time, and then move on. Learn to forgive yourself and take the best lessons for the next opportunity.
In many ways, closing a sale is like proposing to your future spouse. If you’re worried about the answer, you’re probably doing it too early in the relationship.
If you’re not sure if the client will buy, it’s too early to close the sale. You need to do more work from the beginning.
Remember, it’s not about the close itself but everything you do that leads up to the close.
And when the prospect is ready, you better be too.
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