At the start of a recent workshop, I asked the group, “What do you want to get out of your investment of time and energy today?”
One by one they responded. At least 50% mentioned a desire to close more sales.
Not a surprise for people in a sales workshop, I’m sure. What was interesting is that the leaders had chosen the topic of course: Building confidence in selling their product.
What the reps and leaders didn’t realize that morning was how much the two go hand in hand.
Without confidence to close, sellers don’t ask for the buying decision and exit their sales conversations with assumptions, loose commitments, and a long road ahead of them filled with “follow ups” and “check-ins”. The seller doesn’t get the sale and neither does the company.
Worse still is that the buyer leaves the sales conversation without a solution to their problem, opportunity, want, or need.
No one wins – not the company, the seller, and definitely not the buyer. It’s the opposite of Win3 it’s a Lose3 (lose-cubed).
How do we stop this pattern of losing? How do we build confidence and closing rates? How do we, the sales pros, lead, guide, or help buyers make confident buying decisions that shorten the sales cycle?
Answer: By making every part of the sales conversation productive! No groans here; it may sound easy, but it isn’t!
To make every part of the sales conversation valuable for you and the buyer takes preparation, patience, and, of course, the right product and price points.
Let’s focus on the two we have control over: preparation and patience.
Preparation Promotes Powerful Performance
Preparation. Preparation is so easy. Yet, most sellers stop preparing and start to really believe they are just as good in their sales activities without making preparation for their valuable time with the buyer. I can tell you that is not the case 99% of the time.
Without preparation, sellers lose track of the objective; the questions that must be asked; connecting the solution and value to that prospect specifically; and don’t listen or focus as well throughout the conversation. What’s does all this mean? They don’t get the close easily or in the time frame they could.
Our control studies show sellers who are prepared close 17-25% more than those that don’t. What would you do with a conversion increase of 17%?
Two quick preparation tips:
- Know the objective of the conversation. Is the “close” for this conversation a next meeting, an introduction to others, an investigation to understand their problems, opportunities, wants or needs, a demo, or securing the actual purchase decision. You can’t close on the right action or decision if you don’t know what it is you seek.
- Mentally focus. Immediately prior to contact, break your pre-occupation. Mentally focus on who you are going to talk with, think about it from their perspective – what will make this time together valuable for them? You won’t be able to make the most of your first moments if you aren’t ready to help them break their pre-occupation once you are in conversation.
Patience Isn’t Just a Virtue, It’s a Smart Sales Practice
Patience. Hard working sales pros aren’t often considered patient people, yet patience is key to winning sales.
Too many sales are rushed. This rushing is seen:
- In pace of speech. We use the “I must say this quickly or they won’t listen” approach and don’t allow the prospective buyer(s) to participate in the conversation. These are people we are talking with and they want to be a part of the process.
- The process is rushed — the seller’s sales process trumps the buyer’s buying or decision process. The buyer doesn’t like being pushed so fast or cutting corners (in their opinion), so they don’t feel comfortable and don’t say “yes.”
While we may have our ideal sales process and timeframe, and we can help buyers make quicker decisions, we need to match our sales process with their buying process.
- The questions asked by the seller to identify problems, opportunities, wants, and needs are not followed with patient listening. The buyer then can’t or won’t share the necessary information.
- Demos and proposals are offered before the buyer is qualified or has shown the right buying signals.
All easy fixes if we are patient enough. Here’s a few patience tips:
- Starting the conversation. While some “sales” relationships can be built in seconds, others need minutes of conversation or multiple conversations. You can’t rush the connection for some people.
- Learning enough information. A sales conversation is one big information exchange- with the buyer sharing what we need to know to connect our solution to what’s important for them and the buyer sharing the information and compelling reasons for needing or wanting to do something different.
- Working through objections as problem solvers. A quick back-and-forth with price cuts or more details on what they should be doing instead, and such, does not work through the objection.
- Asking for the desired action or decision. There are proven ways of building into the “ask” — rushing the ask before they’ve made a decision adds pressure and pushes buyers away.
Seems easy enough doesn’t it? But what gets in the way? Lack of confidence, pressure, fear, and so many other emotions.
A productive sale is paced, not rushed by you; and each interaction is productive, moving to the next step in their decision making.
Prep and Patience
These two mindsets of preparation and patience increase the probability of a closed sale because your confidence increases when you are prepared and so does theirs when you are patient and paying attention to their buying process.
If you are focused on increasing your close rate, conversion rate, up selling, or referrals, focus on all the actions leading to the final “ask”.
This stops the losing streak and Lose3. Instead, it sets up the close of the sale quicker with a decision made more confidently.
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