2019 Goal: Close More Sales

As we enter into 2019 I look back at what happened in 2018.  Lots of sales for most, lots of quotes for many and opportunities that are even overlapping into the new year.  Many organizations have shared with me over the last several weeks that they really never felt a slow-down entering the holiday and even into the new year.  From a sales perspective, some experts believe that we will have another successful year with purchases maintaining levels experienced in 2018.  I tend to agree.  All signs I’ve seen point to an abundance of opportunities.  Thus, the theme we are bringing into our training sessions are concentrating more on “closing” than they are with prospecting.  Most of our clients will tell you that they have plenty of opportunities, they simply need to close more.  This brief article will give you some tips in order to do just that.

Open stronger:  I just returned from a customer visit where we worked on sales process.  One area we spent a considerable amount of time on is what we call the “intro”.  That is, after you share pleasantries (i.e., “How was your New Year’s eve?” or “You have a nice place”) what it is that you say to begin the meeting.  Why do we spend so much time on it?  Because, how you set up your meetings at the beginning will dictate what will happen at the end.  As example, if it is the final meeting with your prospect, suggest that you ask each other questions so that at the end they might feel comfortable making a decision.  Without this suggestion, they may simply decide it is easier to do nothing.

If you plan on visiting with them for an hour and you’d like to go over a design and determine next steps, suggest that.  Whatever you want to happen at the end, suggest shooting for that as a goal for the meeting.  Be careful not to tell them what you’d like for them to do.  We said, “suggest”.  If they feel like they are being sold, it may be over.  Also remember, it’s not “what” you say, it’s “how you say it”.  One of my favorite sayings for this part is simply, “You know what might make some sense here…?”, then suggest the outcome you would like to see at the end.

Ask sales questions throughout the call, not just logistical questions:  what is a sales question?  What is a logistical question?  Easy to explain.  A logistical question is a question about the project or the process they are going through.  As example, “How many widgets are you looking for?”  “What are you looking to have done?” “Have you decided where you would like these to ship?”  These are important questions in order to put the quote together or even do the installation, but they are not sales questions.  Sales questions pertain to the issues, concerns or worry that they may have about the project itself or the competitor.  “How long have you been thinking about doing this project?” “Why are you looking to do the project now?” and “What concerns do you have about this job?” are all leading sales questions that deserve further explanation and that need to be asked.  Relating to a competitor you can ask questions such as, “When you say they didn’t communicate, what do you mean?”, “How long have you had issues with them?” or even, “Why do you think they didn’t tell you they would need more money?”

Once you get an answer to some of these questions, dig a little deeper.  If you ask them, “When you say you have had issues with your current supplier, what types of issues have you had?”, follow it with, “When you told them you weren’t happy with what happened, what did they say?”  “Oh, they said they would do better?”  “Did they?” “Maybe you could tell them again?”  “Oh, you did and they didn’t listen?”  Do you see how digging deeper will allow the prospect to explore what actually happened, while reliving the problem as if it happened all over again.  This is an important step in getting a prospect to leave a competitor.

At ¾ of the way through the final appointment, ask them, “Do you feel I understand the issues you’ve been sharing with me?”  This is one of my favorite questions to ask.  Unfortunately, I’ve never actually had a salesperson that I am considering buying from ask me this question.  Wouldn’t it be great to hear that from a salesperson after you’ve spent time explaining your issue and they have asked good questions?  It’s a great way to build credibility and grow in your bond with the prospect.  Ultimately, it may be the most important question a salesperson can ask.  Clearly, it is of the utmost importance for the prospect to believe that you understand what they are telling you.  Why not ask?  The good news:  If they answer, “yes”, you could be moments away from closing the deal.

These are only three quick tips that will help you close.  Remember though, the magic isn’t at the end where you deliver some “silver-tongued wizard” statement and they buy from you.  It doesn’t happen that way.  Start off the call as strong as you can, laying out your intro with care.  Use specific sales questions that you prepare before your meetings and ask them in your meetings.  Done properly, and you will close more in 2019, without spinning your wheels with unqualified prospects.  Start off the year strong by closing the leads you have.  Go back through your prospects who contacted you in December and give them a call.  It is likely that you have enough opportunities to make 2019 a strong year.  Go out and make it happen!



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