5 Steps to Closing More Sales

Having the ability to close is perhaps the most important aspect of being a successful salesperson. It is also the most difficult.

To help you get the best success from your sales calls, it can be useful to adopt a strategy proven to get results. Follow this five-step closing system and you will improve your ability to close more sales as well as your overall performance:

1. Strong Introduction

As any industry leading online sales trainer will tell you, the way you introduce your product or service to your prospect or customer can have a huge impact on your ability to close those sales. First, it is important to start with a strong introduction that captures the attention of your audience and engages them right away. As always, it is a good idea to begin by asking them a few questions to help you learn more about their wants and needs; it will also help set a more “interactive” tone for the rest of the conversation.

2. Detailed Preparation

Carrying on from the second point made in Step No. 1, it is critical you know what your prospect or customer wants or needs to move efficiently towards a close. Before you meet with them, create a list of questions that will help you accurately gauge where they are at. Don correctly, these questions will reveal their thoughts and feelings, problems and motivations. If you think you already know the answers to those questions, you should still go ahead and ask them anyway. You never know what could have changed in their lives since the last time you spoke or since you conducted your pre-call research. For example, perhaps their website needs an update?

3. Confident Presentation

The presentation is perhaps the most important part of the closing. It is your time to shine and showcase what your products or services can really do. During this step, make frequent eye contact for that personal connection (yes, that includes when you are on Zoom!) and do not spare any detail regarding how your products or services can benefit them. Make physical copies of your presentation and pass them out (or email them in advance) so everyone has something visual to refer to during the presentation.

4. Handle Objections

It is likely you will encounter potential customers who will turn down even the most useful services or products regardless of how appealing you offer is. It is up to you to anticipate these objections and have well-constructed arguments to counter to them. Obviously, you do not want to be argumentative with a prospect or a customer so, you must be sure to present these counterpoints in a calm, polite manner. You should also be ready for the unexpected. Many top sales coaches and virtual sales trainers recommend rehearsing with a mentor, friend or family member can help you identify any weak spots in your presentation or highlight any objections a prospective buyer may have.

5. Powerful Closing

Having nailed the first four steps, your close will need to be as impactful and powerful as the introduction. Remind your prospect or customer how your product or service will change their lives as well as what a great value it is. Be confident but not arrogant and make sure you follow up after the meeting to show your continued interest.

Closing a sale may seem hit or miss, but when you approach it with a strategy in mind, you can improve your chances of a successful outcome. These five steps will put you on the path to closing more sales and helping your company to grow.

Top 5 Traits of an Outstanding Salesperson

Top 5 Traits of an Outstanding Salesperson

Ask any top sales leadership coach or sales coaching coach and they’ll tell you, there are five essential traits that all sales professionals must have if they are to effective and successful. Let’s dive right in:

1) Personability: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, being personable means you are pleasant and likeable. That being the case, it is worth noting you won’t get anywhere is sales if you can’t strike up a conversation with another human being and gain their initial trust with a positive first impression. Whether it be in person, on the phone or on Zoom, the person who can grab attention, maintain a conversation, and make the other person feel like they are the focus of all your attention is a real salesperson. Your customer wants to know that they matter to someone else and if you are a smart and personable salesperson, they will be more likely to believe that person is you.

2) Skilled Communicator: You might only have two minutes to pitch your product or service to a potential customer so it is critical you have the ability to communicate your message clearly and concisely. Are you going to blow the sale rambling on about something that may or may not matter? As any outstanding salesperson or online sales trainer knows, if you can’t communicate clearly, chances are you’ve already lost your sale.

3) Honesty: Being able to communicate and being personable will never help you if you can’t keep your word and be trusted. If a customer comes to you with a complaint, they should feel reassured that you will handle the problem and that they can count on you to get the job done. Additionally, if you are selling a product or a service, you need to be able to sincerely stand behind that product or service. If you can’t, your ability to sell will suffer tremendously.

4) Persuasiveness: Great salespeople must be convincing. You must be able to show your customer why your product or service is superior to other products or services. Or, you have to show that your product or service is going to help them in some way and that they should not live without it. This motivates your customers to not only buy from you in the short-term, but to keep buying from you on an ongoing basis.

5) Knowledgeable and Informative: There should never be a question about your product or service that you don’t know the answer to. Think your job ends when your customer makes a purchase? Think again. As any virtual sales trainer worth their salt will tell you, you are now in a relationship with your customer and if they want to know where the part No. 11,342,051 was made, then you need to know exactly where that part was made and preferably the name of the worker who made it. Of course, this is an extreme example, but you’d be surprised to learn just how often outstanding salespeople know this level of detail.

Bottom line is being a likeable, slick talker will only get you so far. Eventually, your prospect or customer is going to want to know you have the honesty, integrity, and professionalism necessary to be an integral, successful and long-term partner for their company.

Researching Prospects Before the Sale

By the time a member of your sales team reaches out to a prospect, they should already know them inside and out. Not only this will help them feel confident and prepared, but it will also show the prospect that they have taken a specific interest in them and their needs.

Let’s face it, you are not the only company competing for their business and with so much competition out there, it can be difficult to build a relationship with a prospect and make a sale. That is where research of your prospect is critical. It is the one step that you can control as you try to win over your prospect and gain their trust.

Thoroughly researching your prospect will help you better understand their needs and interests and help you tailor a pitch specifically for them. According to many certified online sales coaches, tailored pitches are far more likely to be successful than anything scripted to appeal to a wide audience.

Where to start with research

The art of research should be an important part of your training. Topics should include both internal mechanisms such as your CRM which records past interactions with the prospect and external opportunities such as LinkedIn and other publicly available information.

Generally, the Internet is the best place to start as it offers easily accessible information about anyone including your prospects.

Google them, find them on Twitter or Facebook and glean as much information about them as you can, professional and otherwise. You can collect much useful data about their habits, interests and needs. You can also see what social groups and networks they follow or interact with. Also, by identifying mutual connections, you can easily spark a conversation with your prospect.

Speaking of mutual connections, many sales coaches say this is a very useful way to research your prospect. These ‘connected’ sources can be invaluable as they can give you a different perspective on your person of your interest. That said, you should be careful not to abuse your connection and ask for too much.

Doing industry research is also a great way to get valuable insight into the needs of your prospect and their company. Including some of this information while pitching to your prospects will show them that you are interested in them and you understand their specific needs. This will also help you to come with a unique offer that is tailored uniquely to them. In the end, this will help you to win that prospect over and close the sale.

Where to find your prospects

Starting the research process and gaining valuable information about your prospects is not hard if you know where to look. According to some of the world’s best sales trainers, here are some of the tools you should use:

LinkedIn: As the largest business network in the world, LinkedIn is the perfect place to network and start direct conversation with prospects

Company Websites: Start with the About Us to learn as much as you can about the company’s vision, its mission, its goals, values, location, employees and leadership

Crunchbase: A unique register for many companies of all sizes. Crunchbase is a great source of outreach tools and automation integrations. It can also provide a first step towards setting up a meeting with your new prospect

CRM: When planning a first contact with a prospect, be sure to go through your own CRM beforehand to make sure you’re not duplicating someone else’s efforts or giving them a lot of information they have already heard. If there has been a previous contact, hopefully your CRM will tell you what the outcome was so you can come up with a new strategy if necessary

Press Releases: To be as up to date as possible with any prospect, sign up for their newsletter, go to the Press Releases section on their website and follow them on social media. The more you know about them, the more likely it is you’ll find somthing no-one else has thought of when the time comes to make your pitch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natasa Tomic is a journalist and content producer who specializes in writing about business and sales.

How to Build Initial Rapport With Prospects

Building rapport with a prospect as quickly as you can is critical if you want them to be receptive to what you have to say.

Experienced professionals know that this early part of the pitch is an art rather than a science. This makes building initial rapport is an ideal topic for your next sales training as it helps both new and experienced sales professionals find areas of connection that open up prospects for a productive conversation.

Why do you need to build rapport after the sales call?

According to many sales coaches, people tend to buy – and buy more – from sales reps they know and trust. Skilled rapport building after the sales call will increase your chances of success if you can effectively build a connection with your prospect.

By building an initial rapport, you will also gain more influence over your prospect and it will also make them more comfortable sharing their plans and goals for the future with you.

Five Ways to Build a Rapport

To build rapport, certified sales trainers suggest you try these tricks:

Be yourself and be friendly

The chances of making a successful sale are always increased if you can remember to be you. Do not try and act like you are somebody else. Acting and pretending will only make you look uncomfortable and lose the trust of your prospect. Conversely, if you are confident and relaxed you will be able to make your client feel comfortable being in your company.

Ask the right questions

To understand your prospect and build a relationship, it is important you ask the right questions. Try starting with some of these:

  • How was your day/week/weekend?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • How did you end up working for these guys?
  • Ask something that demonstrates you have done your homework on the company. Try to be a little more specific with each subsequent question about the company

Adjust to the situation

Yes, you should be yourself and act naturally. But, many leading digital sales coaches believe you should also respect the culture of your client, especially if they are from another country or speak a different language. Simple gestures that show you respect their culture will go a long way to building rapport even if you are far from being an expert.

Another example would be respecting the dress code of the company you are pitching to. Or, if they have a specific way of communicating, adjust yourself to that even if it is not the best option for you.

Give compliments

Giving a compliment to your prospect is a good way to make them feel appreciated and it will help build a good foundation for making a sale, say many certified digital sales coaches.

Listen and understand their needs

All salespeople are good talkers. After all, that is why they do what they do. But, to sell something and – perhaps more importantly – build a relationship with a customer, talking is not always enough. You also need to listen to your client carefully.

Listening to them is very important because you will learn more about their wants and needs and how you or your company might be able to help them.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natasa Tomic is a journalist and content producer who specializes in writing about business and sales.

What To Do When a Prospect Pushes Back

Even for the best sales professionals, not all sales calls end well. Sometimes, they end with significant pushback from the person on the other end of the line. According to many leading sales coaches, losing prospects and sales is not an easy thing to deal with, but how you deal with that rejection may completely change your attitude and make you a better salesperson in the long run.

Sometimes, you encounter pushback because your prospect doesn’t see the value of your product or it doesn’t meet their needs or fit within their budget. While it is natural to down after this kind of rejection, great sales professionals actually condition themselves to embrace the word NO and use it as motivation to sharpen their axe and avoid running into similar difficulties in the future.

Let’s be clear, nobody likes hearing a NO, but in sales, it goes with the territory. You have to accept that it is going to happen no matter how many hours you spent preparing your presentation or how certain you were that the prospect was going to be excited about your product or service.

However, by learning to love hearing the word NO and by using the right techniques, you can easily reduce the numbers of times you actually hear the word NO. Recommended by top virtual sales trainers, here are seven ways you can overcome prospect pushback and come out the other end a better saleperson:

Keep calm

No matter how frustrated you feel or what you think about your prospect’s negativity, you must maintain an air of calmness, stay profressional and unaggressive. At this stage of the call, it is critical you remember a NO today doesn’t mean a NO forever. The last thing you want to do is burn that bridge!

They’ll be back

Many leading digital sales coaches teach that a NO might actually be your prospect’s way of asking for more information or more time to think about what you’ve told them without the pressure of scheduled follow-up calls. It could also mean they just don’t have a use for your product or service at that time. Who knows? They may already be considering doing business with you in the future.

Ask why

Regardless of how unprofessionally (or even aggressively) the NO was delivered, you should always try to maintain your composure and ask WHY? By doing this, you may learn where you went wrong with your pitch or even get another opportunity discuss the reasons for the rejection. It will certainly give you a chance to clarify things if your prospect misunderstood something in addition to helping you learn a valuable lesson.

Take heed

Instead of hanging up the phone and muttering (or yelling) words like ‘jerk’ and ‘idiot,’ make it a habit to go right back to the drawing board. Get out a piece of paper or open a Word doc and start going back over the call the a football coach watching game film. This practice is recommended by many industry-leading certified sales trainers as they believe it is a surefire way to eliminate weaknesses and improve your pitches.

Follow up

Just because they said NO this time doesn’t mean they’ll say NO forever. Give it a couple of months and follow up with them to see if their situation (or their mood) has changed. Keep an eye on how they are doing and you might just find the perfect reason to reach back out. Perhaps they’ve launched a new service or their business has grown to the point that your product or service makes more sense. Sign up for their newsletter or visit their website periodically. One good way back in is to send a congratulatory note if you notice they’ve been doing well. Persistence pays off!

Be prepared for pushbacks

Part of being well prepared for any sales call is considering everything that can go wrong during your that conversation. Expecting everything to go smoothly is naive and may end up costing you a sale if you start stuttering and stammering as soon as your prospect starts pushing back. Try prepping with someone on your team like a defense attorney getting a client ready for a hostile prosecutor. Get them to really hammer you so there is literally nothing your prospect can say that will get you flustered.

Forget about it

Getting rejected is not the end of the world and there has never been a salesperson who hasn’t it heard the word NO more than they’ve heard YES. Use the techniques listed above as a way to get over it quickly, learn from it and move on to future successes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Natasa Tomic is a journalist and content producer who specializes in writing about business and sales.