Put that coffee down.
Coffee’s for closers.
And do you deserve that coffee?
Whether you’re a sales development rep, sales associate, sales executive, or business development manager, your time is valuable. And we don’t mean that in some sort of metaphysical, woo-woo way. The way you choose to spend your time can lead to cold, hard tangible cash. Or, no profits at all. If you spend days—even weeks—trying to court a lead with the wrong techniques, you’ll have no monetary returns for that time spent. It’s like investing in the sole rights to the recreational boating market in the Sahara Desert.
“But the leads suck,” you may say. “They’re weak.”
My question to you is, “Are they, though?”
In order to crush your quotas, you need to spend your time more wisely. That includes deeply understanding—and properly implementing—sales prospecting techniques to close more deals. Every deal you close opens the door to more money.
First, you have to know your ABCs.
A – Always
B – Be
C – Closing
As Blake says in Glengarry Glen Ross, “You’ve got prospects coming in. You think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot unless he wants to buy.”
So, how can you stop wasting your time on methods that go nowhere and become the new MVP of your sales team? It all starts with a smarter sales prospecting plan and better closing strategies.
Improve Your Sales Prospecting Plan by Qualifying Leads: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Whether you’re a new or seasoned sales rep, your list of leads should be continuously growing. However, not all leads are created equal, nor should they be treated as such. Imagine you have a cold lead who has expressed no interest in your product or service and one that has downloaded numerous white papers and eBooks to get familiar with what you have to offer.
Which would you rather spend your time nurturing?
Lead qualification can reveal your most valuable prospects—the crème de la crème.
While most sales organizations have their own sales prospecting process and qualification policies, you still need to be able to identify the red flags on your own and not ignore or excuse them.
As a general rule of thumb, reps should be asking themselves the following questions when deciding to qualify a lead:
- Has the lead shown any interest in making a purchase within the last six months?
- Do they have purchasing authority or are they the key decision maker?
- Is your product/service within their budget?
- Can your product solve the potential customer’s pain point?
- Are they located within your market?
If the answer to even one of these questions is a resounding “no”, that lead is most likely a lost cause. However, if your lead checks those boxes, but your efforts still aren’t resulting in rewards, it’s time to have the “It’s you, not me” chat. It’s not the lead generation tactics that aren’t working. It’s your closing strategy.
4 Sales Tips for Successfully Sealing the Deal
After trashing disqualified leads and nurturing the right ones, you’ve finally been able to score a face-to-face or demo call with a high-intent prospect. But how can you make that initial meeting lead to a close?
While it takes an average of 10 meetings to close a deal, a smart strategy could accelerate the process.
Here are four actionable steps sales reps can use to close more deals.
1. Do Your Homework and Grab Their Attention
To successfully close a deal, you need to know both your organization and the lead’s company inside and out. You have to do the proper due diligence.
Well before your meeting with the prospect, take a deep dive into your company’s offerings. This ensures you can explain what value they can provide the lead. Additionally, you’ll want to know which products or services are the best solutions for solving your prospect’s specific pain points.
It’ll be extremely awkward for you if your potential customer asks you a question and you are unsure of the answer. It’ll also increase the possibility that you’ll be thoroughly ghosted.
To show that you’ve done your homework, share a relevant observation along with data that backs it up—a relevant use case or case study would be excellent at this point. 86% of customers rely on word-of-mouth referrals to ultimately decide which company they’re getting into bed with. Showing you have helped others just like them in the past is the quickest way to pique their interest in what you’re selling.
2. Be Customer-Centric and Increase Their Interest
When it comes to closing a deal, you can’t have a “me, me, me” mentality. The conversation needs to cater to the prospective customer. This includes being aware of the customer’s budget and timeline. Also, be realistic about your company’s ability to meet those needs. You never want to over promise and under deliver.
As the saying goes, “Treat others the way you like to be treated.” How many times in your life have you felt you wasted your time and money on a product or service that didn’t meet your expectations? On top of that, how many times did you then leave a bad review about that product or service and also tell others about your experience? You don’t want to be the person responsible for doing that to your own company.
After you fully understand your potential customer’s budgetary needs and their expected turnaround time, offer solutions that won’t merely patch the customer’s problem, but actually eliminate it. Nobody wants to put a Band-Aid over their bullet wound.
It’s crucial that you let the customer guide the sale. They are, in fact, the one who ultimately decides if they want to close the sale. If the prospect can clearly articulate what they’re looking to fix, achieve, and avoid, it’s safe to assume they’re going to buy. They’re interested, and they’re telling you they are. The only question now is: Will you be closing or will a competitor?
3. Know How to Address Their Objections to Coax a Decision
As you and the prospect progress deeper into the conversation, they will likely voice their objections or concerns; it may be your pricing options, the user-friendliness of your dashboard, or the effort to integrate your solution with a current system the customer already owns.
A good sales rep will not be dismissive when it comes to addressing these concerns. Practice your active listening skills. The potential customer will be directly telling you what their pain points are. Objections, in most cases, reflect reasonable concerns that not only this customer will have but many other leads in the future may have as well.
Showing empathy cultivates trust. If you aren’t able to answer their objection right away, ask thoughtful, open-ended questions about experiences they have had in the past that had led to them knowing X, Y, and Z are problems. This additional information will most likely give you a springboard response to the objection.
Above all else, be customer-centric. Remember, point #2 above? At the end of the day, if the potential customer has a concern that your product or solution doesn’t address, be honest about that. Then, take this to your manager or the development team to see if this is something that can be built and implemented in the future.
No one is going to sign a contract or do business with someone they don’t trust, and being up front and honest builds that trust and strengthens the relationship with that potential customer. It also helps the potential customer make a decision that favors in your direction.
4. Take Action with Assumptive Closings
After you build a rapport with the lead, go over their pain points, and answer all their objections with responses that shine a bright light on why your product or service is the solution, it’s time to get into the mentality that you’ll be quenching your thirst for coffee because this deal is closed.
If you believe they’re likely to buy, your actions will reflect that. Take an assumptive approach and use language and terms that assume the deal is already signed and done.
Some examples of this approach include:
“Thanks for taking the time to tell me all about what you’ve experienced in the past, Emily. I think our product is a perfect fit for you and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the customer experience. It sounds like our Teams package would suit you, but we all have our Enterprise option. Which one would you like to get started with?”
“Setting up this call to talk about your marketing strategies was a great first step, Steve. What day next week would you like to schedule the kickoff call with your team so that we can get started with your subscription plan?”
Lastly, whether you land the sale or not directly in that meeting, it’s always important to set up any next steps. These can include finalizing paperwork, providing more information about your product or service, conducting a free demo, or gathering team members for a kickoff call. Don’t leave the meeting without knowing the next time you’ll be speaking to that potential customer. Setting up the next action in the sales process will hold both you and the lead accountable.
Get Ready to Sip: You Deserve That Coffee Because You’re a Closer
Are you ready to satiate that thirst? Are you following your ABCs? By focusing your attention on nurturing qualified leads with improved prospecting techniques, your sales efforts will be better spent developing relationships with potential customers who are more likely to buy your product or service.
You can close; you just need to have the right attitude and the right prospecting tactics. You’re not just talking on the phone all day and sending constant emails. You’re closing major deals by grabbing your lead’s attention and piquing their interest, providing reasons for them to decide to go with your product or service, and taking action to secure next steps after your conversation with the lead.
Now, it’s time to prove you deserve a cup of coffee—or three.