Article #85, September, 2009
Close More Sales by Being LESS Brainy
Sales is a lot of fun, and can be pretty easy. Don’t believe me? I think I know what your problem is:
You’re too smart for your own good!
There are a few keys to a successful sales meeting. You need to be prepared, run the meeting well and ask for the sale. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Have a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish during your sales meeting. This may not be what you think – if your only goal for the meeting is to close the deal, this may be your problem. You’re putting so much pressure on yourself in every meeting!
Try this on – your goal should be to find out if your product/service can solve the prospect’s problem. Therefore, you need to devise a plan to find out what their problem is by asking the right questions. Create a meeting agenda so you will not forget to ask any of your important questions.
Include in your agenda time for you to demonstrate how your product solves their problem, and ask for the sale. This agenda will keep you on track and give you a professional air. Include a lot of questions on your agenda with the understanding that you will not ask every prospect every question.
To take this to another level, you can explore all the reasons why a prospect might say no – these are the objections. Instead of just waiting for the prospect to bring up these possible objections, you can prevent them by addressing them during the sales meeting. Be sure to include all this information in your agenda. The most common objective is cost. Emphasize the value of your product during the meeting so this objection never surfaces. (Also remember – affordability is not the same as value. If the prospect can’t afford it, that does not mean it is not worth the price.)
Run the Meeting Well:
Of course, you will need a copy of your sales meeting agenda. Following it will provide you a framework for your meeting, keeping you on track and allowing enough time to ask for the sale before the other person has to leave.
With some prospects you will need to ask a lot of questions, and with others you will struggle with getting a word in! Spend a lot of time listening. Your prospect will probably tell you exactly what they need, what their problem is and therefore how to close them. If you are in a consulting role, they will be interested in hearing what you have to say, also. The key here is to tell them what will solve their problem, but not how to do it themselves.
This establishes your expertise and credibility, but does not give them the false feeling they can easily fix it themselves. This false feeling does not serve the prospect well.
Ask for the Sale:
Many business owners fear this step, but it is really quite easy. Waiting for the answer is not so easy, but asking is a piece of cake. Try this – when you know the meeting is over and it’s time to ask for the sale, be yourself! Here are some ways to do that and still close:
“I would really like to work with you. Would you like to work with me?”
“So, what do you think?”
“How would you like to move forward?” (this one is my all-time favorite)
After asking, the key to success is waiting. Keep your mouth shut and wait for them to answer. Some people just need a few minutes to think, and you might even run into people who will try to psych you out, but the rule is, “the first person to speak, loses.”
OK, I mentioned that you might be too smart for your own good. Here’s what I mean by that.
Once you discover a system that works, you need to do it exactly like that for every single sales meeting. Don’t change up the order or the questions or the way you phrase things – exactly the same. The more intelligent you are, the more difficult this becomes. You want it to be interesting.
The problem with this is that it is already interesting, to the prospect! They have not heard it before. It does not matter if it is interesting to you. If it works, you do it that way every time. Your closing percentage will go down if you change it. Find a way to make it interesting for yourself by being really involved in what the prospect is doing and saying.