Close Sales Like A Wolf!
Sales Closing For Startups & Young Businesses
What This Course Is Not About
These days, prospects have become more savvy to cold approaches. Prospects have become too smart and to cynical to be sold at. The moment anyone gets the faintest idea that they're being cold approached to have their money taken away, the sales barrier immediate falls down between you and the prospect. Even the most seasoned salesmen would have the hardest time convincing the prospect to depart from their cash!
This course isn't about the hard sell. It's not about coldly approaching any Tom, Dick or Harry on a list say "buy my product/service!". We are not going to bombard prospects with lengthy information or bully them into buying like a secondhand car salesman!
It's also not going to be about just spending unnecessary hours that end up going to waste for the sake of "doing the hard work".
What This Course Is About
This course isn't just about hard work; it's more about "smart work". We are going to be smart and methodical in how we sell and close new deals and to have clients that love to work with you!
From this point forward, product/service = p/s
The Structure Of The Sales Close
This can be broken down into three simple broad elements:
- The Prospecting
- The Pitch
- The Close
You have to get rid from your mind everything you assume up to this point about selling, because if you're struggling with closing sales then you're wrong about your idea of selling.
You need to get it out of your head that you are selling something, you need to change it to become your prospecting buying something!
Because people hate to be sold to but they like to buy!
The selling begins way before you've even picked up that phone, sent that first email or stood in front of your prospect. The 2 keys here are "know your target" and "know your service"!
It's a waste of your time to try to sell a product/service to someone who doesn't know, care about or afford it. You're not going to sell sports coaching to someone who hates sports or a high performance sports coupe to someone making less than $30,000 a year, no matter how good you are at sales!
Also you ain't going to sell to anyone who has an "I can buy this at any time" mentality!
Know Your Product Or Service
Ask yourself the following:
- What is your business product or service offering?
- How much do you charge for this?
- How much does it cost you to produce?
- How much does time does it cost you to produce?
To give you a better idea here, let's take a recent client of mine, Claire. She's recently started up her boutique events management business that offers the organisation of events and parties for her corporate clients. As a startup, she charges between $2,000 to $10,000 for an event. It costs her between $500 to $2,500 to set up and between 1 to 3 weeks to organize.
The positive aspect is that she does already get clients from the back of her previous employment as a senior events manager at an established company and with that sometimes come referrals.
The negative aspect is that solely relying on an existing client base and unpredictable referrals is short-sighted and new clients and new projects can run out eventually without proactively seeking new clients.
Claire realizes that up until this point she has only relied up her existing client base and had not given any enough attention to seeking and closing new clients proactively.
Knowing Your Target
Ask yourself the following:
- Does my target need the product/service I am offering?
- How do I know this? Have other people in the same industry as my target already bought/invested in this product/service?
- How much does the target charge for their own product/service?
Using the same client above, Claire offers event management for corporate clients. Corporations are know to have events for Christmas, when celebrating a huge deal or for entertaining their own important clients. So there's already a know demand for this service. Her clients include accountants, software developers, office equipment manufacturers and engineers. These companies can typically charge $1,000 to $30,000 for their products and services.
They are more likely to afford the service that Claire offers, this means that these types of prospects are easier to sell to. If on the other hand, she was aiming towards companies that sell their products/services for $100, this would be a much harder sell.
If the above are satisfied then this means that prospects are likely to buy ... however this does not mean that they will buy from you!
Products/services are abundant which means that prospects have a huge pool to buy from. In order to have them buy from you instead of someone else, you need to provoke their sensitivity.
Provoking Their Sensitivity
Prospects are sensitive to the following:
- Bottom line
There will be a lot of companies that offer the same things as you but the one that taps into the above will win the business!
You need to ask yourself - can I affect any one of the above for the prospect?
Bottom line - does my p/s help the client increase profit or save money/time?
Time - is your p/s something he needs to use now or can he wait? If the prospect doesn't use my p/s now, does he risk losing something important, i.e. money, time, new clients/projects, family & friends, or health?
Ignorance - is your prospect aware what your p/s offers? People don't buy into things they don't know so you need to educate them to what your p/s applies to and why he needs to know this.
Value vs Features
You will close sales if you highlight the value rather than the features. Most people are ignorant of features and don't have the time or patience to know, they are interested in "how it helps me?" Of course there will be some technical geeks out there that love to know about features but for the most part, most people just care about value and outcome.
In early 2000's Mp3s were sold on the basis of their memory - 2GB, 4GB and 8GB so on. Apple sold their first iPod on the basis of being able to hold "5,000 songs"! Apple focused on what it could do rather than what features it had!
Once you know your target, it's time to cast your net out and prospect. Your p/s will dictate the methods you can prospect and there are far too many methods to cover so I will provide brief examples of my own clients:
This client has a startup management company that looks after properties for landlords. He seeks out new clients by going through properties for rent online and finding properties that have "to rent" signs outside.
This client focuses on Facebook prospecting. She asks all her friends if they have friends, family or colleagues that are getting married from 6 months onwards and asks to be recommended by them. She also goes on wedding dress company pages in her area and sees who liked and commented on wedding dress images and contacts them.
This client also uses Facebook in a similar way but also goes through the comments of fitness videos on YouTube and gets in touch with the commentors. He also visits gyms in his area and offers his coaching as part of their package.
This client was quite creative in that she contacted recruitment agencies to get her in touch with their clients that have interviews scheduled and offered to style their hair in preparation for their interview.
I would highly recommend you be creative in how you prospect. You can also use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest etc.
Sending A Notice
Most of the time it is good practice to send your prospect an email/message before making the call or approaching in person. A message gives them time to digest the information so that when you do eventually approach them, they won't be ambushed by you. Approaching them straightaway without notice feels like an ambush and your prospect is surprised. Usually when faced with a surprise attack, your instinct is to retreat, therefore don't be surprised if your prospect refuses to listen to you and hangs up the phone!
So when you send your notice beforehand, you're not approaching your prospect cold.
The first communication you have with your prospect should never be "buy this!" or "let me show you this amazing p/s!".
Forget the old-school 2nd secondhand car salesman hard-sell!
Never go into a pitch with a "take" mentality, you're not here to "take" their money in a sale, you're here to help them but giving them your value.
Your job is to identify:
- Do they have a need/problem? And
- Can you fulfill it?
Get the first one done very early because if they don't have a need or problem, you ain't going sell! So stop wasting time and move on!
The second part should be easier, once you have identified your target and p/s, this should already be satisfied.
Be aware that just like everything in life, you could be doing all the right things and still not get that sale. A prospect may fit your target, has a need/problem, can afford it and still not buy - that's just life! The trick is to refine your own sales closing technique, let things play out and move on without wasting time!
Always try to arrange to speak with the prospect ideally in person or on the phone/Skype. Try to avoid email is possible, and definitely avoid text messages for conducting your meetings.
Your first conversation is always about information discovery, never about p/s!
Your aim is to find out their need and if this prospect fits your own criteria. At this point, you need to think about the type of prospect you want to work with.
Here's my own criteria:
- An established company (operating over 5 years)
- Sells p/s for over $5,000
- Likely to make repeated purchases
- Already proven to have purchased similar p/s in the past
- Offers a hassle-free working relationship
The last part is very important. I operate my business on long-standing working relationships and cohesion; I don't work with clients purely for profit! Even if a prospect is a good fit but is someone that likes to take control of conversations, likes to micro manage the service I offer and is calling me with minor problems that unnecessarily take my focus away from other projects, then I will not work with this prospect.
Make your own criteria because before you waste any time trying to explain your p/s, make sure you know about them and if they fit you first!
If a prospect asks you about your p/s, by all means answer them, but keep it brief and steer the conversation back to them. Control and lead the conversation, don't let them do it!
Once you have gathered your information, arrange to speak again at a later date, this second meeting is for talking about the solution.
1 Call Close vs Relationship Close
Ideally we'd all like to close a sale from the first call, this is old-school hard-selling stuff. However in the modern world, this is no longer ideal! Just as you wouldn't propose marriage on the first date, you shouldn't ask them to buy on the first meeting.
The reality is that prospect on average can take 2-8 meetings before the closing, depending on the p/s, the size of the deal and if you do it right!
Prospects don't just buy value, they also buy relationships! Even with a successful 1 call close, the new client might get a sense of regret after the meeting and some may just change their mind, wasting the effort you put in!
Prospect don't go from cold to hot in one meeting and stay there. You need to warm them over time!
So you need to build a structure where you guide your prospect through several interactions before the sale. The sales that close based on a relationship are much more stable. If the deal is smaller than you should close within 1-3 meetings, bigger ones will need more.
Of course you may wonder "I don't think the prospect is prepared to go through several meetings". This is also part of the vetting process. The best prospects are the ones that recognize your value to their need and will follow your lead. If prospects aren't prepared to follow your lead then already you know they will become bad clients later because if they can't follow simple instructions then they will be worse once you start working for them. You need to get rid of bad prospects before you find good ones.
Phase Two: Their Needs
Once they are a good fit, you need to find out in detail what their needs are in detail. You can cover this brief in the first meeting but I recommend you do this in the second meeting. Everybody has a need or sense of urgency and you need to tap into that. You may need to do this over several meetings depending on the size of their need and your p/s.
At this point, you would have fully understood their needs and are confident you can fulfill those needs. You now need to schedule a meeting to close the sale!
Allow plenty of time to prepare for the close. Before you go for the close, it is important you show your prospect something visual but visuals are more compelling than words and they need to convey their urgency and that you are able to address their needs. This can be your existing portfolio, testimonials, research, graphs/charts etc.
For example, my property management client had spoken to a landlord that wanted to make residual income on a property he owned without having to deal with tenants, housekeeping and engineers. Prior to signing up with my client, he was making $8,000 per month on the property but he was spending far too much time each month dealing with housekeepers, engineering and maintenance and bills, and sometimes finding new tenants. This gave him a lot of stress and affected his time with family. My client presented him a simple spreadsheet of the $8,000 he made per month and the hours he spends each month vs $6,800 ($8,000 - $1,200 management fee) how much time he could save by allowing him to manage it for him so he could focus on his job and his family. The landlord quickly signed up and so he was able to close the deal!
Of course visual aids aren't always applicable to every p/s.
Now this is your opportunity to close the deal and sign a new client!
You need to do the following in order to successfully close:
- Recount and address their need
- Explain and show why you can fulfill their need
- Make them aware why they need to have it now
Recount And Address Their Need
This part is extremely easy. All you're doing is summarizing and repeating back the needs they told you in the previous meetings. This shows that you have been listening carefully and taken their needs into consideration, and not just jumped straight into the sell! You're also reinforcing their need and bringing it into the forefront in preparation of the close.
Why You Can Fulfill Their Need
If a landlord's need is to continue making monthly residual income on his property and free up his time for his job and family, explain that you have the experience and resources to do this and that you have done this before. This should be aided by visuals and a portfolio (if any).
If a prospect is in urgent need for a custom wedding dress in a particular design and needs it urgently, explain that you are able to provide this within the required time frame. Show a portfolio if you have it.
They Need To Have It Now
For property management, you would make the landlord aware that if he leaves it later then he would continue to spend too much time managing the property himself and continue to lose more time with his job and family, leading to further stress! So if he moves forward now, he can begin to take that stress and headache away today!
For the wedding dress, if she moves forward now then we can get started in making the dress this week and make sure she gets the wedding dress she's dreamed of in time for the wedding!
If you're followed these steps carefully and if everything goes well then you have successfully closed a sale!
The Back Aways
Sometimes things don't go smoothly but that doesn't mean the sales process is over. Here are some of the things that might happen and how to deal with them.
Price is too high
Don't negotiate price just yet!
When a prospect is concerned about price, this doesn't mean that he is not interested, simply means he has not yet matched your value with the price, so your job is to bridge that gap. In some cases, prospects are much more concerned about more pressing things such as time, quality and design. If you explain that you are able to deliver everything he needs and remove all his headaches/stresses then that p/s tends to carry a price that reflects that. Explain that you wouldn't be to offer high quality p/s at a cheap price!
Other times, prospects genuinely don't have the funds to afford your p/s. If that's the case and if you want to work with them, price negotiation is fine but ensure that you retain control and don't let him dictate it!
"Let me think about"
Ideally you want to close this deal today! Ask your prospect what he is unsure of and be prepared to answer it. Ensure that the prospect has everything he needs to know. If he needs to speak to someone beforehand, ask if he is around so you can speak to him now and answer any questions. Sometimes the prospect genuinely needs to think over a hard decision, in which case allow him to do so and be sure to arrange the next meeting!
Important Things To Remember
Sales closing is tough - very tough! There are so many factors involved and some outside your control that you can do everything right and still not close the sale!
You need to have an incredible amount of willpower and thick skin! If a prospect rejects you, it's not personal!
Always make notes on every successful and failed close. Identify why some were successful and failures. Learn and build from them.
Always move forward - don't let failed closes stop you from trying!
Always be aware that you will make mistakes, because you will eventually! Learn from them!
If you are asked a question and you don't know the answer, say you don't know but will find out and get back to them shortly. There's nothing worse that ruins a sales close than making up an answer!
Learn from more successful sales closers than you - see below.
Congratulations! You Are Now One Step Closer To Being A Master Sales Closer!
- Do you know who is the right person to talk to and not simply waste your time with the wrong person?
- Do you know what words to say to get them listening to you?
- Do you want battle-tested simple sales closing scripts that's proven to convert No's and Maybe's into Yes?
Click the button below to find my advanced Smarter Sales Closing Strategies For Getting "Yes" that includes my simple battle-tested sales closing scripts!
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