Imagine if you could close the deal at the beginning of your sales funnel and your prospects would sign a deal with you on the get-go.
Seems too good to be true, right?
Because it is! Closing a deal is nothing short of arduous. And it is that moment that will decide whether the efforts that you put until this point would amount into success or not.
Capturing the prospect into your sales funnel doesn’t guarantee you the final sale.
And the process of closing a deal can go on for weeks and weeks, sometimes for extended months.
According to research, it takes about 97 days for referred leads to close, 75 days to close the website leads and 40 days to close the leads coming from social media.
So, what can you do in order to effectively close a sales deal without waiting for a long period of time?
Read on to find out!
1. Does the customer fit your ideal customer profile?
Closing a sales deal is a whole lot of work, but what goes on before it is even more cumbersome. The pivotal point is your preliminary research and the early conversations that you have had with your prospect.
For starters, you have to create an ideal customer profile that will help you identify whether the prospect is worth investing more time. Moreover, the ideal customer profile will help you qualify whether the customer requires your solution or not.
If it turns out that the customer is not even the right fit then there’s no point in chasing after them anymore. You are better queueing up with emails to qualified prospects.
Let’s have a look at some of the most crucial questions that will help you qualify your customer.
- What’s the size of their company?
- Which domain is their industry in?
- Where is the company located?
- Do they stand a chance of getting benefits from your product?
If you think that the answer to these questions turn out to be in your favour, then go ahead and try to close the deal. You are likely to close the sales deal sooner rather than later.
2. Identify the decision-maker
Most salespeople fail to identify the decision-maker and waste their time with the wrong person.
How do you suppose you will the right information if you are seeking answers from the wrong person.
Let’s examine this by walking through this example.
If you are selling something for a marketer, and your experience tells you that the final decision to procure a tool like yours is likely to be taken by the head of marketing of a company, then there’s no point in talking to another member in the company.
So, in this case, I would start by reaching the head of marketing of a particular organization.
However, it still doesn’t guarantee whether I will reach the right decision-maker or not. But it’s a more reasonable option — and that’s enough at this stage.
Open up a conversation with the decision-maker and get on with your sales pitch.
3. Keep following up with relevant questions
This doesn’t give you a free pass at pestering your potential customers.
The key is to keep following up with questions without annoying your prospects.
How difficult it can be to seek some answers from your prospects without being told off for behaving like a typical annoying salesperson?
Not that difficult!
Okay, let’s imagine a scenario.
Let’s say you are done with your sales pitch. Now, follow up with a question like this:
“Dear (your prospect), now that we have touched upon the features of our product and you know how it can benefit you, it seems that we are a perfect fit. What further steps should we take to help finalise this deal?”
Now, if your prospect says something along the lines of:
“Well, I’m not too sure…” Or “Well, too bad but we wouldn’t be able to buy right now since we are bound by another contract at the moment…”
You know you are in serious trouble! Now, unfortunately, there’s no follow-up question that can change your prospect’s mind. So, in this case, it’s better to cut your losses now.
I know, it rankles that you have kind of wasted so much time and efforts on the wrong person but it’s time to let go and move on to profitable prospects
But what if the conversation pans out differently?
After all, you can’t always be unlucky in sales. What if the sun is shining down on you and the prospect replies with something like:
“Well, I would proceed this after showing it to my colleague (or boss) and then get back to you.”
Grab this chance and go for it by following up with a conversation like:
You: Great. How do you typically get the feedback? How should we proceed if your colleague (or boss) likes the deal?
Prospect: Then we would schedule a meeting or a follow-up call with you.
You: Fair enough! So, if everything works out fine, how would we move forward?
Prospect: Well, we would proceed with the legal agreements after that/
You have almost arrived at the virtual close.
But don’t leave it off at this moment. Keep asking until you are completely satisfied.
Ask your prospect whether they have purchased a similar product before. Don’t hold back and ask them about their typical buying process and more.
All these questions would demonstrate your interest in the deal and would help you get a better insight into your customer’s sales process.
After you have acquired all the necessary information, start preparing the steps and get prepared for the culmination of the final sales deal.
4. Face their objections head-on
You are not going to be handed over a sales deal without putting your 100% in it. You are going to face objections of all sorts. Some of them would be impossible to address, but you can still get your way around a few of them.
Here are some common objections that you might have to go up against:
- We lack the time
- I don’t have the budget for this
- Your product is very expensive
And so on and so forth…
And you will have to be prepared because trust me, prospects will throw these volley of questions at you for sure.
Be prepared with your answers beforehand.
For example, to derail that price objection you can say things like:
“I understand your limitations, but we actually had similar customers recently who was a bit sceptical of the prices. But they found that…”
Also, ask them why they think the product is too expensive and be ready with the answers to defend your prices.
5. Add-on and price reductions
Prospects tend to gravitate towards this question eventually – “Would it be possible to get a discounted rate?”
They know they have the upper hand — and even are not ignorant of this fact. If you think that giving a bit of discount or adding an extra feature wouldn’t really hurt your company, then use this to close the sales deal immediately.
So, next time when a prospect asks for a discount or an add-on, reply with:
“Sure! However, if we give you a discounted option, would you be able to sign the deal today itself?”.
The chances are that since the things seem to work in their favour they will agree to close the sales deal.
Also, even if they do not ask for price reduction on their own, why don’t you take the lead and use this as a tactic to close the deal swiftly? Not many prospects would be able to ignore the temptation of a discount.
6. Straightaway questions
So, after following through everything, do you think it is the right time to close the deal?
You have qualified your prospect? Check!
Identified the decision-maker? Absolutely!
Followed up with relevant questions? You know it!
So, why not just start asking the final question now?
If they had harboured any objection, it might have definitely come out by this point.
So, now ask this question straightway without flinching:
“When is the best time and date to sign on the final agreement (to close the sales deal)”
Or something like:
“Are you ready to move forward with the sales deal? I can send over the contract right now”
This one should finally hit the nail:
“Unless you have more questions, I suppose we are ready to get started with the implementation”
After that, try to avoid wasting your time on non-selling activities and grab the final sale as quickly as you can. You would be surprised to know that 65% of the sales leaders say their salespeople spend too much time on non-selling activities, such as paperwork, and not enough time on activities that lead to closing.
This clearly does not bode well for your company profits.
So, keep probing until you close the sales deal (but without pestering your prospect) and when the time comes, close the deal without wasting the time on frivolous or unnecessary activities.
Summing it all up
After you have closed the deal, don’t forget that now you have to work hard to preserve the acquired customer for a lifetime. Keep in touch with them and follow-up with the questions asking them if they are satisfied with the product or service. Don’t forget to ask their feedback and make sure you work to improve the things that are getting negative feedbacks.
Also, while we talked about some of the most effective ways to close sales deals, we cannot tutor about the tone you need to use with your prospect. So, it’s upon you to keep your interaction style and tone as confident and as friendly as possible.