Sales Techniques: How to Close More Deals
Imagine you are a real estate agent who is very successful at selling houses to upper class families on a regular basis. You sell houses every month in nice neighborhoods in the suburbs and earn a sizeable commission from your sales. One day, your boss tells you to sell some houses in a relatively poorer neighborhood where the living conditions are lower and the sales conversion rates are very low.
As a real estate agent selling to elite clients, you are unfamiliar with selling houses in these sectors, where people are more concerned about costs and want to save every penny they can. Since you are accustomed to selling houses to people with more money, you never had to give so much attention to people’s budget.
When it comes to the middle class, especially the working class families, saving money is paramount and many real estate agents fail to realize this. They fail to establish a sympathetic connection with their clients and lose them because they could not persuade them to make a good investment in their new home. Many real estate agents fail to close the deal because of this.
This is just one instance of a sale gone wrong. What actually went wrong here? Was it just failing to persuade cost-concerned people in spending a large amount of money? Was it the real estate agent’s mannerisms and behavior with the client that put the client off? There are plenty of reasons for a sales deal to go wrong.
Rather than looking at the negatives, we would like to point out successful techniques many salespeople and other professionals use to close more deals and establish long-term business relationships with clients. Even if your clients want to drive a hard bargain, you can use these techniques to get the most out of the deal. When you successfully close more deals, you are bringing in more money into your organization and ultimately, for yourself.
The tactics listed in this report are applicable for any industry, not just for any specific one. Firstly, we will look at the various types of sales processes and give examples to clarify how sales actually work. Secondly, we will discuss proven effective techniques to help you seal those deals and boost your sales. For each of these methods, we will exemplify them to make it easier for our readers to understand how and why they work.
THE SALES PROCESS
Sales is the activity of selling products and services in exchange for commodity, which is money in most cases. Your job as the seller in any transaction is to persuade the buyer into purchasing your goods by giving your money. The more money you are able to acquire from a successful transaction, the more successful the sale is. A successful salesperson is able to get their buyers into buying more of their products and pay more money for them.
Many conflate sales with marketing and although they may appear similar on the surface, they are in fact two very different things. Marketing is a set of principles to promote goods and services in order to sell them, using traditional and digital marketing techniques.
Things are presented to customers and buyers in a way that may pique their interest, but it is never through a person. Whereas marketing is impersonal, sales is more of a personal interaction between a buyer and seller. The seller has to convince a buyer into buying their products or services through various means, which we will discuss later on in this article.
Sales is an art form, because it is not necessarily something that you can learn from a book. It needs to be practiced and experienced. Good salespeople have years of experience under their belt and know the intricacies of sales. We want to help jumpstart your career in sales and give you some inside pointers.
Before we divulge the top sales secrets of closing more deals, we will go into depth on the various types of sales methods.
When anybody thinks of sales, they may instantly think of retail outlets but that is actually known as indirect sales, namely business-to-consumer (discussed later). Direct sales, as its name suggest, is when a seller directly interacts with consumers; it is a person-to-person agreement. Direct sales involves a direct personal presentation or demonstration of products or services to consumers. It could be at their homes or at their offices.
Some examples of direct selling include presentations and party plans, where products or services are demonstrated in a social event setting. The seller is presenting the goods directly to prospective buyers. According to the Word Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), consumers benefit from direct selling because of the convenience of having no barriers between themselves and the companies. In addition, consumers enjoy the personal service they receive.
Indirect sales (B2B and B2C)
As its name suggests, indirect sales (also known as channel sales) involves sellers interacting with buyers through various channels, such as distributors and resellers. The two categories are business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).
Business-to-consumer (B2C) is a model where companies sell their products and services directly to consumers. These businesses do not sell their goods to consumers with the help of retailers, but rather sell directly to the consumers. B2C is one of the most widely known sales models.
For instance, consider a retail clothing store like H&M. They have factories to produce their garments and they have their own stores where they sell directly to the consumers. Their products are not distributed to other shopping malls for selling purposes. Another very common example of a B2C company is Amazon. They are strictly an online retail store that sells straight to the consumers via the internet. Again, Amazon does not distribute their goods to other stores for selling.
On the other hand, business-to-business (B2B) is a sales model in which a business conducts transactions with another business. E.g., a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or a wholesaler and a retailer. A manufacturer of goods does not directly sell to the consumers, but rather sells their products and services to a reseller, who in turn sells them to the consumers.
B2B is just as popular a sales model as B2C is. For example, Sony manufacturers a wide assortment of electronics, which they distribute to retailers around the world. These retail stores, in turn, sell these goods to customers. In order for B2B to be successful, planning is necessary. Transaction volumes are much higher than B2C and the sales, in terms of money, is far higher. Salespeople hold meetings regularly to ensure that things run smoothly and go according to plan.
This is a sales technique that works as it is named – a salesperson will travel from one home to another (i.e. door to door) and communicate with people in order to persuade them to buy their product. It might appear like a form of direct sales, but this is not performed in front of a large audience, which is part of the definition of direct sales. In door-to-door sales, one salesperson will try to sell a product to one person.
In this sales model, the power of persuasion is very important. Salespeople need to be able to convince people at their doorstep that they should fork over money for an obscure product that has not yet hit the shelves. Typically, these products include office supplies, magazine subscriptions, and personal hygiene products.
Before certain products are officially launched on the market, businesses send door-to-door salespeople in some neighborhoods to allow customers to trial these products. These customers can spread the word and help create buzz for your product before it even launches.
Now that we have explained the sales process and the jobs of salespeople in various types of sales methods, let us now dive into the effective sales techniques that will help you close more deals.
Some interesting sales quotes for your inspiration.
TECHNIQUES TO CLOSE MORE DEALS
There are several proven methods of successfully sealing a deal with a buyer. These techniques need to be practiced and refined through trial and error to get the most out of them.
We must emphasize that sales is an art and it takes a lot of patience to make it work in your favor. There will be times when you think it is not going your way, but you cannot lose faith in those struggling times. Sales is all about perseverance and if you are tenacious enough, you will be a very successful salesperson.
Whether you are dealing with a consumer directly or with another organization in a major business deal, these tips will come in handy to make the deal go more in your favor. Whenever possible, we have provided examples to make it easier for you to understand how these work effectively.
Make Your Agenda and Goals Clear
Many salespeople start on the wrong foot and fail to state their intentions clearly from the onset. They string their consumers or business partners along and this poor business practice comes back to bite them when the deal does not work out. You do not want to be known for that.
When initiating contact with your customer or business partner, always start by stating the agenda of the meeting. As a result, both parties will be on the same page as everyone will know what will be covered. Keeping your customer informed about the entire process will instill trust and confidence in them to work with you. The essence of any business relationship, whether it be with a customer or a business partner, is trust. When trust has been established, the confidence is automatically follow.
Just as important as the agenda are the goals of the particular deal. From your perspective, money is the goal. That is usually the main reason for pursuing a business deal with a secondary partner. While that may be the case when selling something to customers, sometimes it is more than money that brings you to another business partner.
It can be more of a strategic move that brings other benefits besides money. Make your goals very clear at the very beginning and while you are at it, state how the other party will benefit from this deal, too.
If you are selling a product to customers, your organization wants to sell more units to earn more money. That is understandable, but there is always a bigger picture to creating a product. For example, your startup company has recently been incorporated and sells stocks to the general public for investment.
When you are looking for people to buy some of your stock for investment, you need to tell them what they will get out of it. You are receiving their money as funds for your business, so they need assurance that they will receive something in return. Show them how your business will grow and that the price of shares will rise as the business flourishes.
In addition, you can provide your investors some other perks, such as free products and services, to sweeten the deal. Remember, your goals are not yours alone. Clearly state your own goals and your vision to your customers and investors. This will instill confidence to your customers.
Likewise, it is very important to share your goals and visions with your business partner. In a merger and acquisition (M&A) situation, you want to ensure your partner organization that they will receive many benefits from this deal.
For instance, your company may be an automobile manufacturer and wants to strike a deal with an electronics manufacturer. Your goal is to equip your cars with state-of-the-art electronic systems that will make driving easier and more enjoyable for consumers. Express how the electronics company will benefit from collaborating with you, since they will gain more recognition and exposure when people buy your cars.
In an M&A scenario, it is all about playing to the strengths of both companies and making a mutually beneficial deal. When your partner sees this the same as you do, then you are one step closer to sealing the deal.
This is how you can build trust with your potential customer as a sales or business development person.
Know Your Products/Services and Buyers Well
Those working in sales primarily deal with customers, always finding new clients to purchase their products and services. Communication skills are very important in this profession, but you can only communicate what you know. If you do not fully understand what it is you are selling, then you will come across as a numbers only person who sees every client only as a source of income.
When you fail to realize and recognize what your buyer wants from you, then you are only telling them what you want to hear, not what they want to hear. Always cater your message to your client. We are not saying that you should hand over all the power to them, but in order to get them interested in the first place, you need to appease them in some way.
Many successful salespeople go around selling things in large volumes because they are able to clearly define their products and services. They can succinctly express the benefits customers will have in owning a particular product or using a particular service. Engineers may be the ones to actually create the goods, but it is the job of the salesperson to go out there and convince people to actually buy it.
Good salespeople are well informed of their products because they frequently talk to the engineering and design team of their organization to acquire more inside information. Using this information to their advantage, they can craft a story compelling enough to get people interested in the product.
Salespeople may be concerned about numbers and figures, but customers generally are not. Conduct thorough research on your target audience and demographic and find out the reasons for them to actually care about your brand. Salespeople should be able to sell more than just the products and services; they need to be able to sell the company brand image. From market research, determine what your customers want and need, and persuade them that they will get exactly that from you.
For example, a good example where salespeople need to present their products effectively to acquire customers is in a trade fair. If your company ever sends you to a trade fair to represent the organization, then you need to conduct a lot of research on your audience and the fair.
What is the theme of the fair? Who will be there? What is our product? What is our profit margin? These are all questions that you will have to answer in order to completely know your products/services and your customers. The more you know about your goods and your potential buyers, the higher chance you have of selling. They say knowledge is power; that couldn’t be truer when it comes to closing deals in sales.
You need to be able to deliver a well-rounded sales pitch that showcases your USP.
Know the Budget Early
Whenever you have a conversation with potential customers, try to extract important information as early as you can. Namely, the price a customer is willing to pay for your products and services. More often than not, a business will talk with a prospective client and after having a very lengthy and detailed conversation, the topic of budget arises.
In some cases, your product is just out of the customer’s budget. After spending all of that time discussing many important matters, you hear from your customer that they cannot afford it at your asking price.
Sometimes you can negotiate to find a middle ground between the price at which you expect to sell and the price at which the customer will buy. However, that is not always the case. When a customer’s budget is just far too low in comparison to your selling point, it can be very demoralizing to hear, especially after a very long discussion.
Ask your customer early on in the conversation about their budget. If you sense that it is not very different to your minimum selling price, then you can negotiate. However, if you see that their budget is extremely low, then it is best to express that you cannot sell at such a low price.
Sometimes, it is best to move away from a customer when you realize that it is not worth your time. Only dedicate time to realistic clients who are willing to pay the price for your goods. You will not always find them, but they do exist.
Earlier in this article, we talked about a real estate agent selling houses to prospective customers looking to own a new home. In this business, real estate agents introduce customers to houses in various neighborhoods and describe the entire home. They show customers the entire home, inside and out, moving from room to room and highlighting the key selling points. It could be the flooring, the roofing, the large windows enabling plenty of sunshine, or a slew of other reasons that make a home stand out. After taking your customers through everything and describing things in detail, you state the selling price but they state their budget, which is much lower than you anticipated.
To save you a lot of time and effort, always ask your customers to first state their budget. Hence, you can then decide which houses to show them that are within their budget. It saves you a lot of time and effort. This will also help you move forward in closing more deals in the future.
This is how you could ask your client for his budget.
Know Your Customer’s Timeline
Another piece of information that is just as important as a customer’s budget is their timeline. “When is a customer able to buy my goods?” The sooner they are able to make a purchase, the more significance you can place on the deal. If they are expressing hesitancy and continuously push back the timeline, then that is a red signal that it is not in your best interests to continue pursuing a lost cause.
You should only invest time in a deal when the customer or business partner also expresses the same amount of zeal as you do. Every single deal is important for your business and if a secondary party does not have the same level of commitment as you do, then it is best to close this chapter and move on to something else.
Very early in a business conversation, try to find out when they want to make a purchase. It is best to ask directly, since it raises the tension and intensity of a business deal in your favor. Although it is important to make your customer feel at ease in a deal, it is not wise to make them feel too comfortable. If there is no sense of urgency, they will not be compelled to buy. Remember, it is a power game and you need to do whatever you can to hold onto as much power as you can. Even though you are the seller and are offering services, you can still exert a business leverage by injecting urgency.
Whenever you feel like the timeline is too long, demonstrate with examples how your solution is superior to everything else on the market and that the solution you provide is the best for their job. This will cause the customers to push the timeline forward and ask for an earlier delivery date. If you can boost the eagerness and interest in your customers, you can close the deal much faster and move on to the next deal.
For example, your organization has recently launched a digital marketing platform service, helping companies with their digital marketing tactics, like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and content marketing.
A startup client has arrived for help, wanting to improve their website and boost their online presence via online marketing. You have presented all of your services and they were quite impressed and even agreed with the price you set. However, they want it implemented after several months, not anytime soon.
This is where you can tell them how waiting too long will lose them money in the long run. Explaining the advantages of having a strong online presence via social media very early will intrigue your customers and incline them to wanting your services sooner rather than later. When a deal becomes imminent, there is more urgency to complete the job successfully.
If you can convince customers that you can complete tasks earlier and that they need to get it done earlier, then you are effectively closing more deals in a year.
Make sure you understand that you need to win over clients emotionally, not rationally.
Find the Best Clients that Fit You
As a salesperson, one of your tasks is to scout for leads who could potentially become your customers. The keyword here is “potentially.” Anybody can be a lead. If you present your products and services to large number of people in a conference or trade fair, then you could consider every single person there to be a lead.
However, not everyone in that room will show interest in what you are selling. Some of them will be partly intrigued by it for a short while, but then move on to something else. Others will be captivated by what you said and what you are presenting, and they are hooked. These are your real leads.
As you engage in conversations with leads, you come to realize whether you are exactly what you are looking for. In some cases, leads have an extremely tight budget for a state-of-the-art solution your engineering team designed, and it just is not feasible to offer it to them at that price. That client was surely not a good fit for you.
Rather than entertaining the idea of convincing them to pay more money, it is best to move on to other clients. Some customers will not budge when it comes to their terms and conditions and with such customers, it is best not to waste time with them. Time is of the essence, so instead of wasting time on a customer that is hesitant, dedicate more time with a customer that fits your requirements.
For instance, your organization is planning to come out with a new line of point-of-sale terminals and barcode scanners to be used in grocery stores and various other types of retail outlets. You present your products at a trade fair and many customers are excited about your new product and want to use them in their stores.
You have two clients on hand – one shows a ton of interest and wants it immediately, whereas the other is indecisive if they really need it. The first client comes to inquire about your product and after a long conversation, they have clearly stated their strong intention of purchasing your products. They even said when they wanted it delivered!
As a salesperson, you should take this very seriously, since this is almost a done deal. You already did your part in convincing them. On the other hand, the second client talked with you and after hearing everything, they were in a 50-50 boat. They were uncertain if they really need your hardware.
While it is a good idea to always try convincing people into buying your product (that is the job of a salesperson after all), sometimes you can take a clue that a client will not budge. Whenever you notice that a client is failing to reach a decision, it is best to not waste time and look for a client who is genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It saves a lot of time, resulting in more deals being closed.
The number of deals successfully closed as well as the time it took to close them measure the efficiency of a salesperson. By finding the best fit clients for your organization and product/service, you will easily be able to close more deals and do it in a shorter amount of time. Ultimately, you will sell more.
Always Provide Options
The most successful organizations offer their customers and clients various options to choose from. People have varying needs and like different types of things. In several cases, you will come across customers who were almost into your product, but if only it was in another color. You may across customers who like your design, but would have bought it if it were in another size.
Many factors could prevent a potential customer from buying your product. Even with all your persuasion (the ultimate asset of any salesperson), you may still fail at convincing customers into purchasing your product, simply because you do not have variations of your product or deal.
Studies have shown that companies close many deals because they offer many options to their customers. A deal is considered officially closed when a written agreement is composed after a deal has been struck between two parties. The writing in this agreement can always change during a conversation with customers.
For example, you may be working at a garments company where you manufacturer a variety of clothes (t-shirts, dress shirts, trousers, etc.). One of your customers wants to place an order of a particular type of t-shirt with a unique design and specific fabric. You calculate the production cost for a large bulk of these t-shirts, and your customer is not exactly willing to pay that much money for the goods.
You can propose a counter offer, which has modifications on the design and fabric. You ensure your customer that they will still receive very high quality t-shirts that are very similar to their initial requirement. However, this time it is cheaper, making it more affordable. The client agrees to the deal and they place the order.
By giving them options, you have successfully negotiated an order to go your way. Presenting options keep your customers in the loop and interested to conduct business. This was an example of closing a business-to-business (B2B) trade deal.
Another example of offering options to customers is in the retail commerce industry, especially clothing retail stores. Rather than conducting a business deal with another company (as in the previous example), this time around your company is selling directly to your customers. This is an example of a business-to-consumer (B2C) deal.
If you have a clothes store with only one color of a particular t-shirt, then you may lose interested customers. If you have a dress in only size, then you are alienating a large group of customers who do not fit that size. In order to sell more units, you need to keep options in your store. Stock up on various colors of t-shirts and a wide range of sizes for all customers. This keeps more people interested in your products and results in you selling more. This is applicable for all products in retail.
We mentioned earlier that salespeople are the ones who make direct contact with customers and other businesses, to present their organization’s products and services to them. They represent the company.
In a sense, they are the face of the company to the people they are interacting with. Salespeople need to embody every good human quality to persuade people to listen to them. You need to come across as kind, warm, and welcoming. This helps in making the customers feel special and you are able to get them on your side. When you can get people to trust you and agree with your vision, then you have successfully established rapport with them, a prerequisite for closing more deals.
Try to understand where your customer or business partner is coming from. Instead of thinking solely about your own organization and how you will benefit from this deal, inquire them about their desires and wishes from this deal.
What do you expect from this deal? What do you like about this type of product/service? How can I help make this easier for you? Do you have any questions? When you ask inquisitive probing questions like these, then you are genuinely interested to know your customer and to find a common ground.
When you truly understand their perspective, then you have established a human connection with a customer or business partner, and that is what they are – humans. When you are able to look beyond the numbers and see the people for who they are, then it is easier to convince them into buying your goods and closing the deals.
For instance, you could be a salesperson involved in selling products door-to-door in neighborhoods around the city. This is a very difficult job, because you have to persuade somebody at their own door to spend money on something when they may not intend to buy anything that day.
When somebody opens the door, make sure to properly introduce yourself, stating who you are, whom you work for, and what you are selling. Perhaps the lead will not be interested initially, but make sure to ask some questions relevant to your product. If you are a traveling salesperson selling office supplies, ask your lead if they need them at home or at the office.
Show them your modern supplies that competitors are not offering. Understand your lead’s profession and relate that to the need and use of office supplies. Shoppers are not going to a store where nobody is there to engage with them. This is your perfect shot at communicating with your customers and selling your products. It is all about building rapport to get them on your side.
In addition, rapport plays a major role when striking a business deal between your company and another. Whenever your organization and another organization is attempting to close a deal, there is always the issue of money. Your company wants to earn heaps of money, and the other company wants to save as much money as they while using your products.
This is where negotiation skills play a big role and in order to negotiate successfully to close the deal, you need to understand your business partner. In the business meetings, always ask questions that help you determine what they want from this deal and how it will benefit their sales.
When their vision of the business aligns with your own, reinforce this sentiment in the meetings. Whenever they are exhibiting reluctance and unwillingness to proceed, use their own words on them. State their own goals and vision to them to remind them why they came to you in the first place.
Explain how this partnership can be mutually beneficial to both of you when moving forward. This is how you come to agreement; this is how you build trust. Rapport is the most powerful tool of closing deals effectively.
Learn from Tony Robbins how to build rapport quickly.
Push for the Close
The best salespeople possess impeccable “people skills.” They know how to communicate important information about a product or service to their customers in a clear and concise way. They realize that time is of the essence and do not waste a second to get to the main point – “Do we have a deal?”
Some are afraid to deal with the elephant in the room after stating all of the details and continue discussing trivial matters that are insignificant. Once a customer has agreed to the terms and conditions discussed, you need to be very straightforward and push for closing the deal.
The most successful salespeople are very straightforward and do not play any sort of games. They value the time and effort given to a business deal, and want to seal the deal as soon as possible to begin executing.
The key quality you must possess and master to successfully close any deal is confidence. You must be confident in your ability to secure a client. You need to go in for the kill to seal the deal. When you have established enough rapport with your customer (see previous section), then you have the power to request for a confirmation.
Many perceive this as being too forward but this is actually what you need to be in order to close more deals. As the seller, you cannot sit on the fence with a lead whom you have strong mutual understanding with. When the customer is still listening intently, ask them “So when would you like this done?”
This is stronger than confirming the deal, because you are asking directly when they want the job done. Your customer will take this as a strong intention to do the job and genuine interest to help them out.
Let’s see how this works with an example. You are holding a business meeting with another company that wants to use your digital marketing services to improve their marketing schemes online. While they are quite impressed by your offerings and the price you are asking, they may remain indecisive.
This could be for several reasons, but that is not of importance now. You need to assert your intent of closing the deal and creating a sense of urgency in your customer. Remember, people value those who are very direct and straightforward. Show your determination to get the job done as soon as possible, and one of the ways to do this is to emphasize that you can begin right now. Not next week, not tomorrow, but right now!
That can only be done if you close the deal today! If you can convey this message to your customer or business partner, then you will be able to push to close the deal in a successful manner. Be brave and push forward to closing the deal. We promise you will be rewarded for your courage and candor.
The bottom line of all businesses is to earn money, and success of your business can easily be measured by your sales. If you are able to sell more units to more customers, then your sales will be very high and your company will profit heavily. Salespeople are responsible for being able to sell more. They must possess impeccable communication and interpersonal skills because the entire sales process boils down to “people skills.”
Most of the tips we have listed here can be categorized in communication and interpersonal skills. You must state your intentions clearly from the get-go to prevent any confusion in the negotiations, always communicating your terms and conditions very effectively. Probing your customers will substantially aid you in closing agreements as you are understanding their conditions, especially when it comes to price. Keeping many avenues open in a settlement will always inch you closer to getting a good deal. Never forget to always ask questions, because business deals in B2B or B2C scenarios can make or break your corporation.
With all of these techniques under your belt, you now have the tools necessary to successfully secure deals with customers and other businesses. Remember, practice makes perfect so implement these tactics in your next business deal, with consumers and businesspeople.
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