Creating or generating a sale is a matter of how much you have learned about your prospect, how they perceive you and how well they see the value in working with you. If you and your prospect only engage as if you were representing your respective companies, the deal is not likely to close. Why? The conversations you are having are about each other’s companies and what they do. Sure, that is important. However, that is not what closes deals.
Closing a deal is always a one-on-one conversation. Your conversations must be about what your prospect is personally doing in their company, what makes them come to work every day, how they are motivated, what their personal goals, objectives or challenges are. Once you shift the conversation to these aspects, you will be better positioned to understand where they are coming from. Only then can you determine whether you can help them do something about it or not. Always ask yourself how well you know your customer.
How do you come across to them?
Prospects will relate to you the way you relate to them. If you are organized, they will see your offering as organized. How clear you are in communication, will help them they see you're offering itself as clear. If you say hello, they will too. This works the other way too. The prospect’s actions are influenced by yours. Let’s assume you were respectful and genuine in your offer to fix, avoid or accomplish something for the prospect. If you then send them information, they will read it (though they may claim they didn’t).
The most powerful thing in your hands is your persistence. The more your follow-up, the more you will be on top of their mind. Remembering you is the only key to your close. Moreover, how you treat them now will make them see how well they would be treated in future. If you are brash, disorganized, pushy and talkative, that is how they will perceive your offering. If you never followed-up persistently, they will perceive they were not (and will not be) important to you. So, if your deal is not closing, the first thing you must examine is what you yourself were doing at the personal level.
How open and honest are you?
There are, of course, other reasons for your deal not closing. It could be because you didn’t explain your offering to the prospect well, or they weren’t ready at that time. Perhaps more interaction needs to happen with them or that your offering was too expensive. In other words, the value was not useful or clear at that moment. Most importantly, don’t assume one reason or the other or that it was because of the price. Always ask the prospect the reason for their hesitation. Ask them to explain in their own words how your offering will benefit them. What they tell you openly is the only thing that will enable you to close. Needless to say, being open with them creates a much better perception about you. There are a number of good questions to ask them, and we’ve noted the best of them here.
Closing the communications loop
One nuance you’d notice in any of the deals you are working on is how the prospect is central to everything and that you, as the salesperson, are also part of these actions. Merely sending collateral to a prospect is insufficient. You must find out if the prospect did something with that collateral. Similarly, talking with the prospect’s referral from another team in their company is insufficient. You must ensure the prospect and their referral know that you spoke to both of them and that you will bring them together in a meeting. Said differently, closing the loop with the prospect at every step in a must if you want to close. If you think of every deal that didn’t close, it is probably because one person or another within that company was not kept in the loop.
In conclusion, remember that you are selling to one person at a time. Creating personal rapport is a must. How you treat your prospect is the something they will remember for a long time. Be persistent, keep them central to your discussions and have them openly describe your value to them. Selling is not companies doing business with each other. It is the art of making one-on-one discussions into an investment decision.