Your marketing and sales team spends a lot of time generating and nurturing leads, speaking with prospects and trying to land new business. After dedicating so many resources to this process, it’s critical that you’re able to close the deal. After all, driving sales is one of the most important things a business can do to sustain its growth.
It takes more than just being in communication with your prospect to persuade them to spend their money with you, though. Closing the deal requires sales professionals to be proactive and adopt strategies that work. This guide offers useful tactics that every sales professional should know.
Before you can close a deal, you need to acquire leads and develop them into prospects by building a relationship through marketing materials and sales calls. Once a lead enters your sales funnel, everything a salesperson does is in hopes of eventually closing a deal. But that doesn’t mean coming right out of the gates with a hard sell. The following steps are important when nurturing leads.
To be successful, you need to understand your prospect’s needs and how your products and services can help solve their problems. Make sure you are well-versed on your company’s offerings and the value they can provide your prospect. You also want to know which of your products or services are best suited to your prospect. You don’t want to end up pitching the wrong product and losing that person altogether. You can learn what the best fits for your prospects are by getting to know them.
While the point of contact is a good place to start, you should do more research. Look at what their company does and how it compares to its competitors. Identify opportunities or challenges facing the organization and consider whether your products and services can help them maximize value. Even if your prospect reached out to learn about a specific product or service, doing your research can help you identify upselling or cross-selling opportunities.
You can improve the amount of information available to your marketing and sales teams by combining your sales funnel with customer relationship management (CRM) software. To learn more about how these solutions could benefit your business, check out our picks for the best CRM software for small businesses.
For this step, you want to understand your prospect’s business budgets and timelines. This should be done before providing prospects with a demo of the product or service. This will give you an idea of whether they are ready to buy now or somewhere down the line. If they are ready to buy, then it makes sense to invest time now. If they’re not, then you can revisit when they’re ready.
Don’t sell your products and services. Instead, offer solutions. Showing prospects what you can do for them can do more in the long run because your conversation will be tailored to their specific needs. This helps them envision how your products and services will fit their needs better.
Potential clients will likely have concerns or objections. Not only should you have an idea of how you will address these, but you should also make sure you don’t brush off their concerns. Show them you understand where they’re coming from. This can help them feel more connected to you. Look back at past objections that either you or a colleague has received. This will prepare you to have the right answers.
If you feel the prospect’s questions are answered and they have an understanding of the solutions you provide, you should ask for the sale. You want to have a powerful statement and reiterate what solution you are offering them. It’s important to sound knowledgeable and confident, ensuring you don’t veer into arrogance.
Whether you make the sale or not, you should set up some next steps. If you succeed, finalize the paperwork and provide the customer with the information they need to properly use your products and services. Once your products have been delivered or your services rendered, you should check in to see if the client has had any issues or problems.
If you failed to close the deal, you should set up a follow-up meeting to keep nurturing your lead. However, if the prospect made clear they were not interested at this time, it might be better to give them some space. You can make note of the past conversation and follow up in the future when they may need your products or services. Alternatively, you can keep them on marketing lists so your marketing campaigns continue to reach them, even though they aren’t yet ready to buy.
Doing your research, offering solutions and handling objections will put you on track to close the deal.
When it’s time to try and make the sale, there is a wide range of tactics salespeople can use. The following 10 are among the most popular and effective.
With a summary close, you provide potential customers a synopsis of your service or products, as well as any previously agreed-upon features. This is a good way to reiterate what they will get, but also remind them of any key points they may have forgotten about or missed.
You might say: “With [product], you get free delivery and installation as well as a comprehensive guarantee.”
Assumptive selling is when you address the prospect as though you have closed the deal. For some, this can be off-putting, so it’s a technique you should reserve for when you know your target isn’t on the fence.
With this technique, you should also be cautious that you’re not seen as aggressive. The key is to not be too overt. [Read related article: Why Analyzing Data is Important for Small Businesses]
For example, “Do you want to go with [Option 1] or [Option 2]?” might be better received than “Send me your financial information, and I’ll prepare the paperwork now.” With the first, you are giving the prospect an option; with the second one, it might feel like you are trying to ambush them.
Not all assumptive phrases are created equally, so you have to gauge what will and won’t work with a potential customer.
Here are a few other examples of assumptive selling:
Creating a sense of urgency is an effective technique. Proposing an enticing offer can push a prospect to act in the moment, instead of having them spend more time thinking it over. A good strategy is to use the now or never close on customers who are interested in your products or services but have yet to commit.
A few examples include:
Asking the right question can help you close the sale. Question closes are a good way to address their objections and reassure them that your product or service will work for them.
You can ask:
As the name suggests, a soft close is not aggressive. You can use a soft close to ease a prospect to take the next step. Start by listing a benefit and then close it out with a low-impact question. This can help them lower their guard because they won’t feel as though they need to make a decision today.
You can use this method if you feel the prospect needs more time, which will also give you additional time to understand them so you can improve your approach.
Examples of a soft close include:
Some people are more visually oriented. So, if you find yourself talking to a prospect who is reluctant, especially because they can’t fully grasp the product, you can offer them a demo of the product or service. This will allow them to see exactly how your service or product works and help them visualize how it might fit into their business needs.
Unlike other techniques, this one hinges on your customer. If they are interested and want to purchase your product or service, they may ask for a discount or add-on. This is your opportunity to act quickly. If you agree with their proposal, you should ask for something in exchange.
This may impress your prospect, who may expect pushback to their request.
This technique shares similarities with the summary close. In both, you are summarizing the product’s features and benefits. But for the 1-2-3 close, you want to highlight what makes the product great in sets of three.
It’s not as conspicuous as other methods, but it does rely on the fact that listing items in threes can make for a powerful statement. You can either choose to focus on three similar points to emphasize a feature’s importance or to list out three separate ones to show the wide range of coverage.
With this strategy, you may say something like:
Sometimes closing the deal comes down merely to cost. Particularly, if you quote someone a yearly price, it might seem as though the price is too high. But if you break down the cost per week or by day, then you can compare it to an everyday purchase.
For example, you may say that the price of a service is equivalent to buying a cup of coffee a day. From there, it’s easy to make the point that you are providing an incredibly valuable service to them for just a few dollars a day.
There’s a reason that businesses list testimonials on their websites; they are incredibly persuasive and give potential customers an idea of what to expect if they purchase your product or service. A testimonial close relies on a customer’s positive comments to help you land a prospect.
In this case, you may say, “Since you’re interested in growing your business’s traffic, I want to send you a message from one of our customers who explains how our tool helped them grow their traffic by 45 percent in the course of a few months.”
Each of these sales tactics can be highly effective when deployed in the right situation to persuade the right prospect. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re all useful all the time. Consider your circumstances and the type of person you’re communicating with — something that should be familiar after you nurture your leads properly — before deploying a particular tactic. If you choose the right one, though, your chances of sealing the deal will increase very quickly.