4 Effective Strategies for the Novice Salesman to Close a Deal
The modern salesman needs to constantly reevaluate his or her tricks to ensure they win over their clients. Old school enthusiasm is of the past. Gone are the days where persuasive gimmicks landed the deal.
The current era is customer oriented.
Let’s find out just how professional salesmen woo their patrons in today’s marketing labyrinth.
MASTERING THE 3 CORE FUNDAMENTALS OF SALES
Your first thought at the term “Fundamentals of Sales” is — Confusion? You ask yourself – Is there an official code of ethics that you somehow missed during your sales 101 class?
We don’t mean to pull out official guidelines and say you missed the basics of salesmanship, but these fundamentals are necessary to ensure you remain an effective salesperson.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional salesman returning for a refresher course or a trainee breaking into their first deal.
The 3 fundamentals are a critical aspect and will strengthen your overall sales training.
1. Handling Rejection
Does the following scenario feel familiar to you?
You nervously pick up your phone on your first work day and begin dialing the number allotted to you on your sales sheet. The phone rings and there’s a voice on the other end.
You start to feverishly sweat and recollect the sales pitch that you promised you’d never forget this morning.
Now there’s an awkward silence with a few words uttered that make no meaningful sense.
Time’s up! The customer angrily slams the phone while hurling an abusive phrase or two for interrupting his valuable time. Before you know it, your hopes of closing your first sale remains a distant dream.
But fret not. That’s how a sales call usually turns out for novice salesmen during their first few weeks. Unfortunately, the rejection by your customer has caused an involuntary mechanism to trip in your brain.
And it’s called – Rejection Panic.
Salesmen forget that it’s part of their job to handle rejection and begin to take it personally. There could be several reasons for the customer to reject your offer such as –
- Unable to afford your services
- Already has a loyal service partner
- Was in a bad mood
- Not interested in the product
- Was in the middle of an important meeting
- Delayed sales proposal
There are a hundred reasons to why a deal didn’t go through and why it was rejected.
All these reasons have nothing to do with you personally.
A salesman represents the company and not his individual self. Once you come to terms with this fact, you’ll cut down your “Rejection Panic” by half.
- Paul suggests in building trust and influence over time. Rejection should be taken as a stepping stone to landing the prized pony.
- Every time a customer says no, it should be taken as “not right now” instead of an outright rejection. Paul states that this mentality helps the salesman continue his sales life cycle in the long run.
- According to Marketing Doughnut, 1 in 50 deals close in the first meeting. According to Paul, it takes an extremely good experience for the customer to close a deal in the first meeting. Hence, salesmen shouldn’t feel bogged down if they don’t secure a deal but instead realize that the statistics work against them and keep trying.
2. Control All Emotions
Don’t sell life insurance. Sell what life insurance can do.
Panic is the biggest anchor tied to the waist of a salesperson.
The moment he or she frees themselves from the emotional control of their mind, a salesman is born.
A staggering 64% of salespeople in the U.S. have no hold over their emotions.
That leaves just 36% of the salespeople who understand how the industry works and this allows them to target multibillion-dollar companies to secure deals that the other 64% could only dream of landing.
At this point, you wish you were part of the talented 36%. A simple way to achieve this – “Gain control of your emotions”.
Here are 3 ways to take control of your sales conversation –
- Roleplay your interview. A salesperson has better control of his emotions if he has an answer to every situation that arises. Come up with 10 negative scenarios and find ways to quickly find a solution to these. For example – if the customer states “I’ll revisit this deal another time.”, immediately fire an exclusive offer his way that lasts only for today if you get his signature on paper. The deal would be too good for them to resist.
- Be aware of your product’s shortcomings. Panic usually arrives when you don’t have a response to your customer’s queries. It’s also the make or break moment to securing a deal. A customer who is interested usually has questions about the product and will look to find the Achilles heel of your product. Focus on finding solutions to all the possible shortcomings of your product and you’ll notice that you just converted a query into a purchase with your in-depth product knowledge.
- Panic Trigger. Sometimes it takes considerable practice to understand the trigger to your panic. Once you’ve identified the reason behind your anxiety, it’s time to isolate the issue and solve it.
For example – You’re in the middle of closing a deal.
You’ve managed to breach the defenses of your customer and everything is going according to plan.
But what’s this? just before you secure the valuable signature on the dotted lines, the customer decides to pose a question – “Why is your product priced high compared to your competitors?”
With no valid reason or a good response to the USP of your product, you’ll be shown the door.
Simply write down the word – “Price” in your little notepad as your trigger point for panic.
Now that you’ve identified ‘pricing of the product’ as your major panic button, it’s time to secure meetings with your higherups and focus on this issue.
The next time the customer poses a question about price, you’ll be prepared to safeguard your product with its advantages.
3. Focus on the Key Element – Price
The term “Price” is like bread and butter to salesmanship.
As a salesperson, awareness of your price point is crucial along with the time used in persuading your client.
If the price is too high, you miss out on the deal and if you spend unnecessary time in a meaningless outcome, you lose valuable time – even worse, you also waste your client’s time.
So how do you balance time and price in a meaningful way that allows you to secure deals?
If you are among the salespeople who think “some money is better than no money” and lose a negotiation process to your client simply to secure a deal in the book – you’re undoubtedly a poor salesperson.
It’s your job to convince them that your product serves the purpose and is worth its asking price.
Discounting a product could serve as a wildfire effect, where several clients land low priced deals which end up piling massive losses for your company. The eventual result – you get fired.
Remember this valuable tip – A salesperson who can’t win a negotiation phase with his client is always going to be a liability for the company.
Here are tips on how to eliminate discounting practices as a salesperson.
- Discounting isn’t a bad option, but excessive discounting is criminal. Negotiate with your customer around a price point that is to your satisfaction and reel in the hook.
- Always quote higher than your required price, when the negotiation begins, there’s a head start for you to get back to your required price point. Remember, don’t price your product obscenely high where the sale doesn’t even enter a negotiation point.
- Research your client well. The better you know, the easier you’ll negotiate a deal. If it’s a once in a lifetime kind of deal, it may be alright to come down the price a few notches just to secure the big brand for your company. In this case, you’ll be doing yourself and your company a favor by roping in a big fish.
- Always know that every discount you provide as a salesperson affects the company in a greater way rather than your incentives. For example – If a product costs $500 with a margin of 30% and you bring down the price to $400, you’ve just shaved off $100 of profits for your company. Another salesperson could probably make the sale with the original price of $500 and benefit the company. That’s where good and great salesmen differ.
4 PROVEN STRATEGIES TO GUIDE YOUR SALESMANSHIP TO EFFECTIVELY CLOSE DEALS QUICKER
Whether you’ve just walked out of the latest screening of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ or you’ve finished reading a biography of the greatest salesperson alive.
Chances are after reading the 3 fundamentals, you feel pretty good at the odds of closing a sale. But before you pick up the phone and call your customer, you’ve got to have a strategy first.
While the fundamentals provided you with the commandments to live by, these 4 sales strategies will bolster your silver tongue into closing sales in no time.
1. Listen to the Customer’s Needs & Ask Questions
The ugly truth about sales is that many salesmen coax their customers into buying their products by listing features that make no sense to the customer.
Imagine going to the clinic for a checkup and the doctor pulls up a list of all the potential diseases doing the rounds and tells you about why you should keep yourself safe.
Or here is an idea – just let the doctor diagnose your health history and see if you suffer from any illnesses and treat them based on the findings. Simple enough?
That’s why modern salespeople should equip themselves with the ability to listen to the customer and suggest the features based on the customer’s desires and not solely list out product features.
The customer will disable their internal defensive mechanisms when he or she learns that you share an empathic vision to their issue.
Take the friendly approach instead of the usual gibber-jabber. Customers close deals when they know they can trust you.
Another important aspect is to ask more questions to identify their core desires such as –
What does this product mean to you on a personal level?
Is it mainly for business or for personal use?
Who are you currently doing business with?
May I enquire what made you choose the current vendor?
If I could attract you with my product, what would immediately gain your attention?
Are you a person that thinks about quality or are you all for quantity?
On a scale of 1-10, please rate in order of importance what is the most important emphasis to you – Quality, Service, Price.
Questions not only provide you with more information to target your customer’s needs but also demonstrate that you are interested in knowing the concerns faced by the customer.
The modern buyer is a confused one with extremely little time on their hands. A successful salesman is one that can utilize this time frame and create an opening for closing a sale.
Remember your buyer isn’t foolish in the internet age, so don’t fool them into convincing you are selling diamonds when they are glass.
Instead, list out the benefits of why glass would make an effective product for their use and you’ll make an instant sale.
2. Provide your Customer with Spot Action Savings
Most customers usually stall out a sales conversation and wait for you to present an exclusive offer that they simply can’t refuse.
A widespread study conducted by Jill Griffin on ‘Customer Loyalty’ demonstrated that only 5-20% of leads actually convert to new customers while 60-70% of existing customers are likely to buy your product.
Now, these statistics demonstrate that your focus should be on acquiring new customers as existing customers already have a great shot at buying your product for a second time.
So just how do you attract new customers utilizing decisive action savings?
The trick is to make them think they are missing out on an exclusive deal.
Let’s take the following conversation as an example to close a deal.
Sales Rep: “Hello Sir, I’d like to discuss our products if you have the time”
Customer: “I’d love to but unfortunately, I am in a hurry to catch a flight”
Sales Rep: “If I may, the products that I am about to present to you will certainly bring in 20% revenue to your business. I have written testimonials from actual customers to prove the success of our products.”
Customer: “How about we reschedule the appointment to next week?”
Sales Rep: “We could fix a time next week. However, the product’s cost will go up. Today is the 3rd anniversary of our company and there is a special discount exclusively for today at 15% off.”
Sales Rep: “Well, if that’s the case, please go over the product details quickly. I’ll sign the contract if I find the product and price to my liking.”
You: Certainly, Sir.
Analysis of the Sample Conversation
In the above sales pitch, our sales representative offers to sell products to the customer who immediately gestures his urgency and is uninterested in buying the product.
The sales rep then proceeds to garner the interest of the customer by offering real testimonials and having done a background study of the customer’s company, proceeds to state a 20% rise in his profits.
Now that the customer’s interest has been hooked by the sales rep, the customer decides he needs time to think it over, so he excuses himself for a week.
But our sales rep isn’t bothered by the distractions presented by the customer and deals the finishing blow – an exclusive 15% discount on the product if he makes the purchase today.
The customer is coerced into buying the product at an economic value today to increase his revenue by 20% rather than risk paying a high price in a week’s time.
This type of sales is called Spot Action Savings where the sales representative provides the illusion of discount to the customer.
This leaves the customer to make an instant decisive action or he might fear missing out on an exclusive deal of a lifetime.
This sales trick is especially common among hotels and travel bookings.
How many times have you witnessed the “Last two seats left” notification glaring at you while finalizing seats for a bus or a flight online?
And how often have you seen the “Last room left” when booking for your accommodation?
Of course, the flights and hotels have several seats and rooms left respectively but by adding the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ (FOMO) factor into the customer’s mind, they create an opportunity for a quick sale.
3. Focus on the Decision-Maker
Think of the decision-maker as the red bullseye area on a dart board. Aiming for this area gives you maximum points to close the deal.
The decision maker is usually the CEO or chief of the company who takes the final decision to either go with the deal or not. Charming the decision maker is always the priority of the sales representative.
To get to the decision-maker, you’ll have to follow up a lot of leads with junior employees and assistants.
These employees will henceforth be known as the ‘Influencers of the company’ as they are required to put in a good name about you to the decision-maker.
But wait. We’ve forgotten the gatekeepers, who are the executive managers or personal assistants in charge of letting you into the chambers of the decision maker.
Now that we’ve outlined the 3 core elements of closing a deal let’s look at a quick graph below.
Influencer > Gatekeeper > Decision-maker
Let’s begin with the Influencer
Knowing someone within the company is a great asset to any sales representative.
It allows you to gain more information about the company and understand the requirements of the Decision-maker.
First, we’ll need to assess how much the Influencer knows, so start asking a few questions such as
How many sales representatives have made it to the CEO’s office? And how many have been denied? Just an approximate number would do.
Do you think you can recommend my name to the Executive Assistant or the CEO himself?
Are there any beneficial qualities in my product that your company is looking at?
Do you think there is anyone in your team that could be a threat to this deal? If so, do you mind naming them?
The information gained from this exchange will provide you with a huge leap in terms of closing a deal. Think of it as getting the exam paper a day before your actual test.
You’ll be prepared to answer the questions of the Decision-maker as well as the Gatekeeper.
Once you’ve been given an audience with the CEO of the company, you’ll need to identify all the information and decisive factors that you’ve gained in selling the product.
Let’s say the company is looking for a product that is more automated then they currently have, focus on selling this aspect to the Decision-maker.
4. Don’t go Overboard by being “Textbook Sale-sy”
Selling your product as the embodiment of perfection is sure to irk many of your customers.
That’s why it’s important to be human and point out the flaws of your product.
By pointing out 1-2 minor flaws, the customer will sense that you’re being honest and are not simply trying to sell.
Remember to never negatively talk about your competitor’s products.
There’s nothing more annoying than a salesperson that spends half his time convincing the customer that their current vendor is no good.
Mud-slinging is a good way to slide down as a bad salesman. Let your focus remain on your product and your customer and nothing else.
Here are the top 5 things to never ask your customer with reasons.
1. “We think you’ll find our product much better than your current one.”
No. Simply no. Your customer is bound to get turned off for even broaching the subject of comparison.
Instead – Simply do your research and if you’ve gained information about your competitor’s product, offer a better price and focus on the highlights of your product.
Your customer is smart enough to see what he stands to lose on his own without your own opinion.
2. “Our products are the talk of the town. “
We get it, you’ve got an excellent product but just by sounding arrogant, you aren’t winning the empathy of your customer.
Salesmen are known to be loudmouths, charm your customer by being different and just maybe you’ll end up closing the deal.
3. “Realistically speaking, I don’t do it for everyone but for you, I am willing to…”
The customer wasn’t born yesterday to be convinced by the oldest line in the sales script.
Closing a deal doesn’t have to be cheesy, stop using phrases such as these.
There is no way you are doing the customer a favor by making them feel special and going in for the kill. They see right through it. Please, avoid on all accounts.
4. “Do you need time to think over the offer?”
Bad move. You’re a salesperson, never forget that. By giving them time, you’ll give them plenty of reasons to reconsider.
The 2nd fundamental of sales in this article was about controlling your emotions, giving your client time to consider will open several offers on their table that you aren’t going to like.
5. “I really REALLY… want this deal badly.”
Are you serious? You’ve gone from being a respected sales person to a desperate needy peddler by uttering those words.
Your customer isn’t running a charity to be taking your plight into consideration. Never bring in personal struggles when closing a deal, it never works.
And there they are, 4 elusive and respected ways to increase your own sales reputation while also bringing in sales to your company.
Sales don’t necessarily need to be a bad word in the world of marketing. At least not with these tried and tested strategies.
We hope you close more sales in a month than you did in a year by utilizing them. Now let’s move on to the next section and learn some of the frequently asked questions by beginner salesmen.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY NOVICE SALES REPRESENTATIVES
Question 1: Is time something a salesperson should pay attention to or should you focus on closing deals without paying heed to time?
Time is certainly an effective resource and more so for a salesperson. Imagine closing 5 deals in a day compared to 1 or 2 deals.
Companies store data on their sales team and monitor important data such as ‘Sales Completed’, ‘Pending Completion’, ‘Total Revenue in Sales’, and ‘Total Time Taken’.
With these statistics, a company verifies if a salesperson is critical to their success or a liability.
As a rule of thumb, if you feel the deal is delayed for days, it’s time to let go and focus your efforts on new clients.
Question 2: What is the right answer to the world’s favorite sales interview question – “Sell me this pen”?
The question that every salesperson is familiar with and is probably asked around more often than it should be.
To answer this question, you’ll have to first identify the question and ask yourself “What uses does a pen really have?”.
When you gain knowledge of the product (the pen), you’ll know that a pen is used to write.
Write letters, write books, sign autographs, and much more. So, to answer the question in the right way – Ask your interviewer more questions such as
What is it that you do every day?
What kind of writing work do you do?
Do you write occasionally or frequently?
By asking questions, you’ll prove to your interviewer that you’re a salesperson that studies the customer and then makes a sale by identifying the needs. This type of salesperson is extremely valuable to a company as he or she comes off as an intelligent salesperson that knows how to gain information from their customer.
And that’s one way to answer the age-old question.
Question 3: Should I concentrate on the new-age inbound marketing or pursue the old-school outbound leads?
The biggest dilemma for salespeople – cold calls vs warm leads. In the former, the salesperson spends hours and hours by his phone calling up people and is mostly greeted with rejection.
In fact, according to a study,
- 72% of cold calls were outrightly rejected,
- 28% of the remaining calls were either productive or wished to be contacted later.
So, does this mean cold calling loses the battle to active leads?
Not necessarily, cold calling is certainly fading away as more salesmen embrace modern sales tactics such as researching their customers and gaining information before making the call.
But cold calling still has its positives such as –
- Excellent for beginner salesmen to gain experience
- Good for small businesses that can’t afford a sales team
- Extremely economical and productive as cold calling simply needs a phone and a notepad
- Quickest ways to generate leads compared to other sales tactics
- Unrestricted and has no global or regional boundaries
- Instant feedback
- Develops your communication skills
- Requires minimum training to get started
However, due to buyers being aware and avoiding marketing distractions with every passing day, inbound marketing seems to be the solution.
So, unless, you’ve been assigned to outbound marketing methods such as cold calling and email campaigns, your best bet is to switch over to inbound marketing.
According to a report by HubSpot, 54% of leads are generated via inbound marketing as compared to outbound methods.
The consensus has spoken, if strapped for money choose cold calling. If budget isn’t a restriction, then inbound marketing always wins.
CHECKLIST TO CARRY WITH YOU DURING YOUR SALES CALL
We understand it’s impossible to read the entire article at a moment’s notice while answering a sales call.
That’s why we’ve created a printable checklist to carry with you and glance when in doubt.
- Rejection is a stepping stone to a sales representative’s success. Don’t take it personally.
- A good salesman always controls his emotions and sticks to his price point
- A negotiation process is meant to be won by a sales representative, not the customer
- To effectively close a deal, provide your customer with a decisive action savings offer
- Identify your panic trigger, always carry a notepad to write down points that bother you
- Always understand your customer and their requirements before explaining the product
- If possible, aim to negotiate directly with the decision-maker (CEO, head of the company)
- Don’t use textbook sales terms, be natural
- Ask questions to gain information about your customer
- Roleplay your sales pitch in front of your mirror for practice
- Time is a key resource for a salesman. Only spend more time than necessary if it’s a large company
- Never allow your customer time to consider. Go in for the kill by luring them with an exclusive time-based offer
These 12 points are condensed to give you a shorter version of the entire article to glance through when necessary.
Let this be part of your sales mantra to gain a dominating position in closing sales.
Before we wrap up sales 101, we’d like to leave you with one more important thought – Would you ever consider buying your own product for the features it has over a competitor’s product?
If you answered ‘No’, then you don’t fully believe in your product and it won’t be long before your customers see through this.
However, if you answered ‘Yes’, then you’ve got a winning combination where you fully believe in the product that you sell and convincing your customer shouldn’t be a tough call.
Closing deals are all about knowing your product well and believing in it.