Jan 18, 2008

4 Ways To Close More Sales

Whenever someone is struggling in sales, managers often try to solve their problem by analyzing every situation and cramming more and more ways to deal with objections, close, problem-solution, needs analysis, prospecting, and on and on and on.

Is this what you do with your salespeople?

If you're a salesperson who is struggling to hit numbers, I'm sure the last thing you want is for your manager to over-analyze your selling process. Am I right?

Many salespeople will moan about the problems with customers, but not realize that the keys to closing more sales actually lie in one place: their own self. That's right, most sales are lost because of poor attitude or lack of belief than any other reason. What are the other reasons why sales are lost? Read on and I'll share more...

Now, if you'd like to learn how to quickly close more sales, without huge investments in time in training, prospecting, creating proposals, or meeting with clients, you might find it interesting to know that you CAN close anywhere from 10% - 500% more business than you are closing right now simply by changing a few steps in your selling process and adjusting your outlook.

4 Ways to Close More Sales:

1. Poor attitude - reversing bad attitudes creates an attitude of a winner.
2. Resolve the "It's Too Good To Be True" syndrome with little negatives.
3. The power of a story is critical to success. The best story is always from a customer who has experienced a similar situation or need where your solution solved their problem.
4. Understanding your prospect's emotional triggers for buying and getting their problem defined correctly.

1. Attitude. The first way to close more sales is to improve your attitude. If you BELIEVE everyone will buy from you, and I mean TRULY believe everyone will buy from you, you will act in a way that condones buying behavior. You will attract people buying from you because it is what you expect. You don't get wigged when they don't but they usually do buy because of your attitude.

Improving your attitude is the single best way to improve your sales. Tape record your conversation with a co-worker or manager. Ask them to question you about why you get deals and why you miss deals. Then listen to your voice, the words you use, and try to see how many times what you say is either (a) an excuse, or (b) a negative.

Here's the way you improve and counteract this problem:
For each excuse you make, write it on a sheet of paper. Do the same with every negative.
Now, for each negative or excuse, write the opposite or a way that is positive that enables you to deal with the situation or concern. Once you complete this process, you will likely realize that pretty much all excuses and negative thoughts are only self-defeating and do nothing to help you sell more. Therefore: eliminate those thoughts and replace them with the empowered belief system of a winner: someone who owns their process and owns their success!

2. Resolve the "It's Too Good To Be True" syndrome with little negatives.

Have you ever walked out of a sales presentation, auto lot, or salesperson who told you everything the product or solution could do, in intimate detail, with so much polish that you exclaimed "I think he's full of b.s.! It's just too good to be true"?

I have. And, guess what. So have many of your customers. If you leave your customers thinking your product is so great that no other product compares, they might tell you "no" simply because they don't believe anything could be that perfect.

So, rather than let this happen, sprinkle a few "little negatives" or "baby negatives" into your presentation. Baby negatives is a term I learned in the timeshare industry. They use baby negatives to demonstrate that their product can't meet ALL needs. For example, they might say "well, if you're trying to book Las Vegas for New Year's Eve on December 31st, good luck!" But, our owners are knowledgeable and know that they can book this time, or many other times, with proper planning. See, in this example, I told you a way that the product wouldn't work in a very small, narrow case that most likely will not kill the deal. Then, I gave it back to you and let you know you could do pretty much anything else. Now, if I'd just said "you can book any time you want" you'd have thought: "AH! Too good to be true." And, frankly, you'd be right.

So, use a baby negative. Look for ways to throw a slight negative into your presentation, proposal, or pitch, and see if your sales closing percentage doesn't go up.

3. The power of the story is the most powerful way to convince someone to buy anything. Think about the best salespeople you ever knew. Did they really have "the gift of gab" or did they just know how to tell a good story? My guess is the best salespeople are great storytellers. So, if you're struggling with sales or struggling to close a high percentage of sales, take the load off of your back and put it on the other people who've bought from you.

That's right: put the load of your success on your customers. Now, this can be taken two different ways. First, you might consider asking your customers for referrals, as a warm lead is always better than a cold lead, right? This is probably the most powerful way you can increase your cold-calling success, if you make outbound sales calls. Use the story of the referral, drop the name, share a solution and how you helped someone in a similar situation.

Second, you might consider the stories that customers have told you about how they used or benefited from your product or service solution.

It is especially this last method of the power of the story where you can almost remove yourself from the picture and still sell more. Try it: next time you're pitching your product or service, drop two or three names of people in similar situations. Tell the customers story, in as few words as needed to convey the full meaning of the solution, and then hook it back to the client or prospect's need. When you utilize this technique, I can guarantee you that your sales closing WILL go up.

4. Get the third level (emotional benefit) question/response and properly define the problem.

Digging deep enough to understand your prospect's emotional triggers will help you close a much higher percentage of sales. What does this mean, to most salespeople? Actually, nothing. Most salespeople do not understand what I mean when I say to dig deeper. So, I will elaborate.

Say, for example, that you are selling signs. The first set of questions you might ask a prospect is: "What type of sign do you need?" "How large?" "What color?" and so on.

Those types of questions will illicit simple, closed-end responses. That's fine, but the smart salesperson quickly moved into deeper probing questions, such as "why do you need a sign that big?" "What is important about those colors?" and so on.

Do you notice that this second set of questions is more open-ended, and allows both fact and feeling to be conveyed by the prospect? I would continue this line of questioning with something like:

"How come that is important to you?"
"Please tell me more... (about) Why does this matter?"
"Who else does this impact?"

You'll get a deeper-level answer related to the solution. Then you need to go 3rd level deep and go for their feeling about the solution they're asking from you. There are several ways to do this:

1. Ask it directly, starting with negative questions. "What problems are you having now?" "How does that FEEL?" "How does this matter to them?" "What do you think they'd tell me, in terms of how it makes them feel?" and so on.

2. Ask it directly, but have them tell you the positives they want: "If you had the ideal solution that could deliver the solution you're looking for, what would it be like?" "How would that feel to you?"

3. Ask them what emotional benefits they will derive from the solution they are describing to you.

Then, tailor your solution to match the needs they just gave you. When you're presenting the solution, make sure you mention this and tie it back to the deepest level emotional need and benefit they will receive.

When you take these additional steps in questioning and presenting you will find that your closing percentage will increase dramatically.

This is the first of two parts on this series. I'll write more tips on closing next week, so SUBSCRIBE to our feed at the ARRiiVE Blog to keep informed.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2008 by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Scott,

    Great recommendations. Like most things, success comes from within, not from without.