Be a Closer not a Salesperson
Sales is arguably the most important department in any business. Without a strong sales team, it becomes extremely difficult to bring in revenue. However, when people think of the word salesperson, thoughts of cold-calling, solicitors, and the classic example of a used car salesman comes to mind. Why does the word carry a negative connotation? Push tactics. Push tactics are low yield methods of selling without presenting clear value to the customer or understanding what a customer needs. A closer on the other hand uses pull tactics to seal the deal at the beginning of the engagement without coming off as needy or pushy.
How to be a Closer:
Fix a "Bleeding Neck" Problem: The best products and services are those in which the customer realizes the need rather than the want. The problem must be resolved quickly and without hesitation. A service example would be: Company X has been struggling with growing their business and increasing sales. They are a viable company, but need an effective solution to help them break the sales plateau or risk losing the business. Hiring a qualified consultant to improve sales training would be a potential solution to Company X's urgent problem. An example of a product would be a refrigerator. Mostly everyone in today's society relies on a refrigerator to keep their food fresh, and when it breaks down it must be replaced quickly. There are little to no substitutes to fix the problem, and the value of a refrigerator is quite obvious.
Pre-qualify Customers: It is essential to understand which customers would get value from your product or service. Do not waste your time or the customer's time if they would not receive any benefit from it. The graph below indicates general benchmark figures of potential customers in any specific industry. Notice that approximately 10% of potential customers are easy sales. They are either customers that are looking to purchase or already support the product. The remaining 90% of customers are broken down into thirds. The first third are those who are not thinking about the product or service. It does not mean they are uninterested, it just means that they are not in need of it at the moment. The second third are customers who do not think the product or service applies to them, but would actually be of great value. The final third of potential customer will never buy.
Add Value in Advance and Marketing: Understanding customer demographics will greatly improve marketing efforts. If 10% of customers were already planning on purchasing the product, do not advertise to them. Attempt to seize the other 60% of buyers in the market. The most effective way to do this is to add value ahead of time. When a business owner is willing to give away some of his or her product for free, it shows how confident they are in their product. It is the ultimate pull tactic, because customers will flock without having to say a word. The classic example of this is receiving a free food sample at the mall. The vendor can try to tell you how good the food tastes or you can just try a small piece for yourself and make up your own mind. Note, the vendor does not have to say a single word to bring in mass quantities of people. Potential customers simply see the free food sign and go straight to the vendor, because people are naturally drawn to value. In a more practical sense, if a customer has a problem that requires ten steps, give them the first few steps so they can see first-hand how amazing the product is without committing to all ten steps blindly. When customers realize how much benefit they are receiving from the first few steps, surely they will be hooked on purchasing the remaining seven.
Language: How does a closer control the conversation with his or her clients? Ask questions. The person who asks the questions controls the conversation. We see examples of this all the time. When someone goes into a job interview, the person seeking the job talks for about 80% of the time while the employer listens to his or her answers. People love to hear themselves talk. If a client does the majority of the talking, they will sell the product to themselves and feel as if they came up to the decision on their own. In reality, the closer just steered the client in the direction to the point of sale. The best closers talk at a slower pace with slightly lower tone. Needy is creepy.
Questions and Comments to Client:
How can I add value?: Most important. Great open-ended question that will require your client to elaborate. Starting with this question sets the tone for what you are trying to accomplish. The client will determine whether or not they are qualified for your product or service, and will speak the value into existence if asked the right questions. When it comes to negotiating price, remind them of the value.
Where do we go from here?: Transitioning question to close the sale. After the customer discusses how you would be of value, ask him or her what the next step is. Avoid delaying the sale. The more steps required to make the sale, the more opportunities there are for the client to decline.
Congratulate Client after Sale: After closing the sale, say "Congratulations, (client name). I'm looking forward to working with you." It sends the message that you are ready to fulfill your promise of adding value as well as leaving them with a positive feeling. Most importantly it reassures them that they made the right choice.
Questions and Comments to Avoid:
Is this a good time to talk?: You are providing them an out before you even started. First explain how you can be useful to them. If the client then says now is not a great time, ask when you should continue the conversation. Clients who decide when to reconnect take greater interest in the meeting time, and will prepare themselves for the conversation.
Should I give you some time to think about it?: This question gives your client a way out and delays the sale. If you feel that you need to ask this question, it's possible that you did not effectively inform the client how you will add value. If the value proposition was clear and the client still does not see the value, he or she is either not qualified for what you are offering or falls in the final category of qualified customers who will never buy.
Can I send you an email?: If you cannot close the sale face-to-face or over the phone, there's no way that you will be able to do it over an email. If it becomes evident that they are not going to buy, end the conversation on a high note and wish them luck in future endeavors.
If it hasn't been made clear by now, the key component of being a closer is to add value to the customer! A salesperson will try to get anyone to buy anything whether or not the client even needs it. A closer sells something worth purchasing, establishes a description of who would need the product or service, and finally brings the customer to the solution via marketing.
Value x Customer x Marketing = Sale
Written by: Jim Toth
Dan Lok: Successful business owner and speaker. Dan Lok is an inspirational business leader who produces outstanding and insightful content. You can find his bestselling book on his website called F.U. Money which bluntly dives deeper into how to manage your finances and take control of your life.