This article was written by Barry McKinley, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor
Selling is no different than building a house. First you start with a blueprint of what the house is going to look like when it’s finished. Then you form the basic foundation and you build from there. Without planning and creating the proper groundwork, your house will collapse. Smart salespeople understand that closing sales is done a step at a time. Skip one step and you have a breakdown in the process. Following are the 9 steps of successful sales closing;
Potential clients can be everywhere. Always be on the lookout, use social media, referrals, buying lists, competitor’s web sites, trade shows, goggle searches and 100 more ways. Constantly work to grow your list.
2. Qualify Client
Learn to determine who is a possible client and qualify their need, want, and ability to buy. We all want a new Ferrari but very few have the ability to buy. Do not re-qualify a client because of dress, education, race, etc. Never assume a client is NOT interested or can’t afford what you have to offer.
Once you have found qualified clients you then want to establish a convenient time to make your presentation. Establishing an appointment time is not the phase when you present or try to sell the product. You are ONLY selling the appointment. Let the client know you will answer all their questions and concerns at the meeting.
This is the sales step that is most often neglected or breezed over. To make an effective sales presentation you must understand the client’s needs, wants and hot buttons. How is the buying decision made? Is the person you are talking to the decision maker? Without successful probing you are shooting in the dark.
It’s show time! Follow a basic format; Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Close. You are always better ending five minutes early then going two minutes over. Keep your presentation interesting, relevant to the customer’s needs, simple to understand. Good eye contact and if possible demonstrations are important. Always sell the benefits not the features.
In any sales presentation you can expect to get objections. The first objection that the client raises may not be the true objection. Follow these simple rules: acknowledge the objection, explore and probe the objection, isolate the objection, answer the objection, move back to trial close.
In over 60% of selling situations the salesperson does not ask for the order after making the presentation. This is a critical error. You must ask a closing question, and wait for the client to answer. One of two things will happen: The client will either agree to buy, or he will raise an additional objection. If he does the latter, deal with the objection in the manner described above, and close again. In closing you want to build creditably, have the client see themselves with the product or service, point out the advantages, create a sense of urgency, and hit the client’s hot buttons.
Successful sales people always contact the client to insure that they have received the product, understand it, and are happy with the results. Too many companies think the sale ends when you ship the product to the customer. This is the most critical part of the sale, insuring complete customer satisfaction.
The life blood of any company is getting new customers. Most companies recognize that they will lose anywhere from 10-30% of their customers yearly. So, new business is critical for growth and success. Referrals are the best way to grow your business because these come from a “Satisfied Customer” telling a potential customer about your company. All the TV advertising cannot be as effective as word-of-mouth. Reward your referrals with discounts, dinners, trips or whatever.
To learn more of how to be an effective salesperson check the SCORE Workshop schedule on “Secrets of Selling” and attend the 3 hour workshop. There’s a good chance your competitors are.