Many salespeople believe that closing the sale is the most challenging part of the sales process. Buyers today are too savvy to fall for insincere closing techniques and most don’t appreciate a hard sell, but there are some tactics you can use to help close the sale. Below are some practical ways to help you build a relationship with your prospect and close the sale.
Selling on features and benefits may not be enough to close the sale. The value your product or service brings can help you turn your “nos” into a “yes.” Many people use benefits and value interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Here is a quick recap of the difference between a feature, benefit, and value.
Feature—a product’s or service’s attributes and capabilities. For example, Widget A is manufactured locally.
Benefit—the advantage or help the product or service provides to the customer. For example, because Widget A is manufacture locally, lead times are much shorter. The benefit of buying Widget A is shorter lead times.
Value – the financial impact of the purchase compared to the cost of the product. A positive financial impact can be achieved through numerous methods, including increased efficiency, manufacturing improvements, improved revenue, or speed-to-market. Being able to translate these into tangible numbers is impactful. For example, a company may have lost $250,000 in revenue from manufacturing delays from their widget supplier but will prevent this loss by purchasing Widget A. Widget A brings a $250,000 value to the company (assuming all other aspects are similar).
The key is to focus on selling bottom-line business results. To determine value, ask yourself these two questions:
- How does my product or service lower my customer’s total cost of investment?
- How does my product or service improve my customer’s productivity and performance?
If you are unable to answer one of those two questions, then you aren’t demonstrating value. Being able to demonstrate value to your customers during your sales meeting is going to help you stand out from other competitors. It will also give you justification for charging premium pricing.
Understand Your Prospect’s Pains
To demonstrate value, you must understand your prospect’s pains, needs, and business priorities. One of the easiest ways to understand your prospects pains is to ask. It helps to have a general understanding of industry pains to help you tease out the prospect’s pains.
For example, you might say, “we have found that our customers have been experiencing costly manufacturing delays. Is this something that you are experiencing?” This opens op the conversation for them to discuss their own pain in this area or may lead them to disclose a different pain point. Also, ask if there are any other challenges they have been experiencing.
When you are speaking with a prospect, demonstrate that you have been listening by summarizing their pains and needs. You can then show them the value your product or service brings by solving these pains and aligning with their business priorities.
Making initial contact with a prospect through email, phone calls, chat, or even social media is a common way to do business. However, once you’ve qualified a lead and you know they have an interest in your product or service, face-to-face meetings bring many benefits digital tools can’t. This is assuming the cost of your sale is significant enough or has the potential to be significant enough to justify travel expenses.
A Forbes Insights survey showed that more than eight out of ten executives said they like in-person contact more than virtual. The executives were asked which meeting method was most conducive to fostering a certain business action or outcome. Of those that preferred face-to-face meetings, the reasons given were:
- Build stronger, more meaningful business relationships (85%)
- Ability to read body language and facial expressions (77%)
- More social interaction, ability to bond with co-workers/clients (75%)
- Allow for more complex strategic thinking (49%)
- Better environment for tough, timely decision-making (44%)
When your prospect says “no thank you,” do you walk away and consider it a loss? If so, you might want to reconsider. It seems that persistence pays off.
Sixty percent of prospects will say no four times before they say yes. So, consider this:
- 44% of salespeople give up after one “no.”
- 22% give up after two “nos.”
- 14% give up after three “nos.”
- 12% give up after four “nos.”
This means that only 8 percent of salespeople ask a fifth time for the sale and are making sales to those sixty percent of that have said no four times. (Michael Le Boeuf, How to Win Customers and Keep them for Life)
How do you ask again when they say no? Anticipate potential reasons for rejection and have rebuttals ready for any rejection you encounter. And if they aren’t ready today, they may be ready at another time, so keep communication lines open.