Closing requires clarity. Too often, we think we have agreement, only to discover that the right actions have not been taken, or what you thought was an understanding as to how to go forward is very different from the customer’s understanding.
The sales process is a series of agreements crafted with the customer, moving along the path toward contract. And at that critical junction, it’s essential that sales teams have the skills, tools and strategies on hand to keep the sale on course and moving forward as planned. At Global Performance Group (GPG), we call this “Closing for Action.”
Here are 4 tips to help keep your close on track:
- Ensure that there are no unresolved issues that may block the sale.
At GPG, we train sales teams to address customer questions, objections, and concerns thoroughly and effectively, with an emphasis on timing to avoid eroding your value. Skilled buyers will surface a series of objections to gain a series of concessions from you. Each concession may seem small, innocuous, but put them all together and you’ve given away a lot, often getting little or nothing in return.
At this point, the customer has seized control of the sales process and directed the conversation in the direction he/she wants to go, which is often a lower price.
The “Park & Sort” method helps you to avoid “premature problem-solving” i.e. delivering the response too soon. Instead, it allows you to surface, acknowledge and work through every question, objection or concern the customer may have at the right time so that he/she can say yes to the new sale, renewal, cross-sell or upsell opportunity.
- Clarify the action you want your customer to take.
Buyers want to feel good about whom they’re buying from, and they want to walk away feeling good about the deal they’ve just made. Clarity in the final steps of the sales process is essential to that.
Be specific in what you need from them and transparent in what action you’ll be taking at the close. Creating and meeting these expectations helps build trust, which will help make it easier for decision makers to take that final step as well as leave the door open for future upsell opportunities.
- Clearly express when each action needs to be taken.
At the end of your meeting, you should have an understanding about what needs to happen next. If there are multiple steps that need to be taken on their side or yours, set out clear deadlines and expectations for each one so they know when to expect a follow up from you.
If there are multiple steps that happen at different points in time, include all deadlines so that accountability is present throughout the process and corrective actions can be taken swiftly in case the sales process needs to be brought back on track.
- Avoid mitigated speech.
An example of “mitigated speech” would be, “Do you think you might be able to…?” Instead be clear, direct, and confident. When it comes to Closing for Action, there are three “Don’ts.”
Don’t justify the request for action. All questions should have been dealt with by this point.
Don’t apologize – other people will only be as confident in what you say as you appear to be.
Don’t ask for permission, state logical next steps.
Closing is one of the most challenging parts of sales. It requires clarity, attention to detail and managing expectations on both sides. As you’re moving through the sales process it’s essential that your customers have a clear understanding not only of what they are buying but also when each action needs to be taken in order for them to get their product or service delivered. The key to success is having new approaches so that there are no unresolved issues blocking a sale – ensuring that all parties understand who will do what, by when and how much money should change hands at each step along the way.
So if closing has been an issue for your sales organization, make sure to link up with one of our coaches and we can provide you with some additional tools, skills and approaches to help you close more deals faster.