Sales Techniques That Will Close More Business!

In the previous article (The 5 Golden Rules For Goal-Setting), I discussed taking action in order to achieve your goals for the year.  Now that we have that established, hopefully, you have a list of items to attack in the new year, one of them being prospecting.  Prospecting is the heart and soul of all sales organizations.  If you rely on sales to make a living or grow your business, this article may be for you.  In the short time we have together, I’d like to give you some sales techniques that will help you qualify and disqualify better, go on worthwhile appointments only, and ultimately, sell more.

Sales technique #1:  If you are contacted by a prospect, or if you are reaching out to a prospect yourself, make sure there is a compelling reason to be speaking.  A compelling reason oftentimes means that they have an issue that needs to be solved.  No issue, no reason to meet.  Certainly, no reason to quote!  If you think about it, if an individual or company does not have an issue with who they are currently using, or about the reason they are speaking to you, to begin with, they are unqualified.  Ask questions to determine why they’re willing to speak.  Dig deeper to determine if the issue is large enough to invest money in it.  Being curious, showing interest, looking at it for budgetary reasons and even looking into it to compare you would not be compelling reasons.  Remember, no issues on their part means no quoting on yours.

Sales technique #2:  Asking the right questions on a sales call is critical.  If you agree that people will spend money when they have issues, and want to dig deeper, here are some actual questions to put into play.  You will notice that they are designed to get the prospect to tell you more about the issue, rather than asking questions about what they are “looking for”.

  • “How long have you wanted to do something about this? Why?”
  • “What is happening because of the issue? What if it continues?”
  • “What advice have you received about the project to this point? Do you agree with it?”
  • “What is your biggest concern related to fixing the issue?”

Now, make sure your tonality is one of caring, rather than rifling these questions off.  If you don’t sound genuine in your concern here, you will be looked at as manipulative.  These questions aren’t meant to be weapons.  They are tools in order to get the prospect to disclose more.

Sales technique #3:  Ask questions about their questions, rather than answering, initially.  If you look at what most salespeople do, they answer all questions asked of them by prospects.  Why?  Most will tell you that they think it builds credibility with the prospect.  After all, if they see how smart I am, they will, naturally, buy from me.  Right?  Wrong.  Our product knowledge, our expertise is only valuable in small doses.  If we answer a question, we run the risk of saying something they don’t like, don’t agree with or that someone else (right or wrong) has told them they don’t need.  And, if they do like the answer and it solves a problem, maybe they will take your information and either do it themselves or give it to your competitor who will do it for less than you.  Way too risky.  Instead, answer their question with a question.

  • Example 1: Them- “What can we do about the drainage issue on our property?” You- “Good question. Can I ask what you’ve been told about that to this point?” And, “Do you agree?”
  • Example 2: Them- “What’s the difference between your company and the other company we’re looking at?” You-“Not sure yet.  What’s important to you?”
  • Example 3: Them- “What do you recommend we do about (mentions an issue they want solved)?” You-“There’s actually a few things you could do about that.  Before I answer, what’s been the issue with that?”

With this technique, you dig deeper, finding out what is really going on and why they are asking you the question to begin with.  You will actually gain credibility by not answering!  The creative questions that you come up with will tell them you really know what you’re doing, realize you aren’t simply answering questions to look smart and you will better understand the real reasons for their interest.

In our training sessions, I like to ask groups, “when you don’t buy from someone, how often do they know the reasons why you didn’t pick them?” Most say, almost never.  I also like to ask, “how often is it because they either talked too much or didn’t ask enough of the right questions?”  Most say, almost always.  Answer questions with questions instead of answering them, initially.  Note:  it is ok to answer, then ask these questions, if you prefer.

Sales technique #4: 20/2/2. Based on information just given, we know that we have an epidemic in sales on our hands.  Salespeople talk too much.  It’s a big issue.  Many will ask how often should you be speaking on a sales call.  Most experts will agree that between 25-40% is accurate.  Certainly never more than 50%.  My preference is to have salespeople shoot for 30-40%.  That means that on a half hour call, you get 9-12 minutes only.

Did you know that most people don’t have an attention span of more than 40 seconds before they have another thought that has nothing to do with your conversation?  Therefore, the ‘20’ stands for how long you are allowed to speak without checking in with them.  Check in with statements like, “Do you know what I mean?” or, “Make sense?” or, “Do you need more on that?”

‘2’.  The first 2 in this formula represents how many seconds you should wait after the prospect has made a statement before you speak.  By waiting, we allow them to finish their thoughts and tell us more about their issues.  Many can’t do this, as the average person speaks about .4 seconds after someone finishes their sentence.  Remarkable.

The second ‘2’ represents the good practice of simply asking at least two questions after someone has made a statement.  It shows you are a good listener and conversationalist and more importantly, allows you to garner more information.  Of course, it also helps with you not speaking too much.

These are some very easy and hopefully, useful techniques that can help you qualify stronger and close more sales.  2018 promises to be another strong year.  The key will be to not simply get business, but to get the right type of business, in order to grow in a good economy.  Experiment with one or all of the techniques, see how they work and practice them endlessly so you can use them at will.  People will be impressed and you will become a better salesperson overnight.