In the world of sales, you often hear people talk about improving the ability to close deals. But what is it that makes someone better able to close deals than another? Is it a better personality? Is it a higher level of intensity and aggressiveness? In the old school world of sales, the answers to those questions would be yes. In today’s day and age of delivering sales effectiveness through technique and process, the answers to those questions could be yes or no as there are some very key things you can do to improve your close rate and those are below.
Improving your ability to effectively qualify opportunities will have an immediate impact on your close rate. This is an approach to weed out the deals that are not real to eliminate time that could potentially be wasted and then refocus that time on finding other opportunities.
When qualifying opportunities, work to get the prospect to answer three questions: 1) why do something, 2) why purchase from you, and 3) why do something now. Based on the answers to those questions, you will be able to determine whether you should spend time on the opportunity and this will impact your close rate.
2. Compelling event
During your discovery with a prospect, try to identify a compelling event connected to their purchase. Examples of this could be that the system they are using is being discontinued or unsupported, they have a contract that expiring, there is an organizational change, etc. When you identify this event and can associate the purchase of your product with it, you can then improve your control over the sales cycle and this can help to improve your close rate.
There will be many occasions where there is not a clear compelling event and it is more a case of the sooner the better, but no defined date. In this case, you can manufacture a compelling event by building in a discount that is scheduled to expire on a very specific date.
3. Evaluation plan
Once you have identified a compelling event and get the prospect to agree to working to get the purchase done by then, you can then build out an evaluation plan which will be a list of all the major steps that will need to be completed during the sales cycle. Each step will have an owner and data associated and essentially be a step-by-step list of what needs to be done to complete the purchase. By explaining and building the evaluation plan with the prospect and then sharing the updates throughout the sales cycle, you can improve your sales close rate.
It can be very common that we qualify real opportunities and invest time in them and then somewhere down the line they stall out and it seems like there is nothing we can do to close them. When this is the case, it can be a good technique to disqualify the opportunity by questioning the prospect if it makes sense to continue forward.
By doing this, you are likely to create two different events. If it is a real deal, the prospect will begin to sell you on why it makes sense and this could help to get momentum moving. Or, there is a chance that this pushes the prospect away and kills the deal, but if that happens it was likely not a qualified opportunity anyways and you might have just saved both you and the prospect time. Either way, this tactic can help to improve the close rate.
Launch Pad Solutions provides sales consutling helping companies to drive sales performance.
|This article was published on Saturday 04 December, 2010.|
|Back to main topic: Closing Prospects
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Use an Evaluation Plan to Improve the Close Rate
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