Do you want to improve your close rates? Closing a sale can be a challenging and time-consuming process. It requires patience, persistence and the ability to navigate through different stages of the sales cycle.
In this blog post, we’ll explore several themes related to closing:
- Recognising what stage of the sales cycle you are in
- Moving from transactional sales into relationship-focused conversations
- What to do when you’ve been ghosted
In our recent training video: ‘Do you want to improve your close rates?’, Corinne Thomas, the MD of Ethical Sales, chatted to Chris Watts, one of our Senior Business Development Consultants about the challenging world of closing a sale. Watch now to discover even more insights into this thorny process!
You can watch the full video here (13 min watch time) or read on for an executive summary of the discussion.
Recognising what stage of the sales cycle you are in
Corinne Thomas, our MD at Ethical Sales, emphasises the importance of knowing when you are at the closing stage of the sales cycle. Sometimes, sales leaders can assume they are at the closing stage when they’re actually still in discovery. The information gathering and qualifying stage can take a lot longer than anticipated if we do not ask buyers the crucial questions at the right time.
A buyer may have asked for a costed proposal, but have they provided all the information required to prove that they are actively making a buying decision? Budget, timings and decision making processes need to be uncovered and clearly understood by all parties. A misunderstanding can lead to wasted time and lost opportunities.
Chris Watts also highlights the importance of setting realistic expectations for both parties involved in the sales process. Sometimes, salespeople overpromise or oversell their products or services, leading to unmet expectations and a breakdown in trust. On the other hand, clients may have unrealistic expectations of what the product or service can deliver. It’s crucial to manage expectations and be transparent about what the product or service can and cannot do.
A useful tactic to follow is sub-closing at each stage of the sales cycle. This means checking in with the buyer and asking questions such as “Would this benefit your team?” or “What concerns do you have at this stage?” This approach enables the seller to address any issues or concerns early on in the sales process and ensures you are on the right track to closing the deal. Sub-closing also helps build trust and rapport, making it easier to close the deal at the final stage.
Moving from transactional sales into relationship-focused conversations
Another point raised by Corinne and Chris is the importance of using “we” language and taking the customer along the journey, making it a collaborative relationship rather than a transactional one. This approach can bring the sales process into a relationship-building mode.
Using “we” language is a subtle but effective way of creating a sense of partnership between you and the customer. Instead of talking about “my product” or “our service”, use phrases such as “we can help you achieve your goals” or “together, we can find the best solution for your needs.” This language shift implies that you’re invested in the buyer’s success and willing to work collaboratively to achieve it.
This approach can also help to build trust and rapport. By using “we” language, you’re signalling that you’re not just looking for a quick sale but are interested in building a long-term relationship with the customer. This creates a more comfortable and relaxed environment where the customer is more likely to open up about their needs and concerns, making it easier to tailor the sales pitch to their specific requirements.
Ultimately, this approach can lead to more successful sales, satisfied customers, and long-term business relationships.
Watch Chris and Corinne’s short training video to find out how to do this as part of your strategy.
What to do when you’ve been ghosted
When it comes to sales, getting ghosted by a prospect can be frustrating and demotivating. However, it’s not the end of the road. Corinne shared some tips for reviving the relationship and closing the deal.
The first thing Corinne suggests is making it clear that the ball is in the prospect’s court and waiting for a response from them. This approach involves sending a friendly follow-up message that acknowledges their busy schedule and reminds them of the value of your product or service. By doing so, you give the prospect space to respond and indicate their level of interest.
If you don’t get a response after a few days, Corinne recommends reaching out again, either directly or indirectly. This could involve sending a personalised email, following them on social media, or connecting with them on LinkedIn. The idea is to let them know that you are still there and interested in helping them with their needs.
Chris agrees with Corinne’s approach and adds that it’s important to be persistent and try to revive the relationship. This means taking a proactive approach and coming up with creative ways to re-engage the prospect. For example, you could offer them a free trial, send them a case study that relates to their needs, or invite them to a webinar or conference.
Getting ghosted by a prospect doesn’t have to be the end of the road. By using a combination of patience, persistence and creativity, you can revive the relationship and close the deal. Remember, the key is to focus on the prospect’s needs but don’t forget to be aware of your value, and to let go when it’s more a waste of time than a smart investment of it.
Did this help?
In summary, closing a sale requires more than just making a pitch and asking for the sale. It involves clearly identifying needs, setting realistic expectations, and being focused on building a trusted relationship with the buyer. By following these recommendation you can improve your chances of closing the deal and building long-lasting relationships with your clients.
In order to improve your close rates, we advise working on a variety of skills, from strategic thinking, relationship-building skills to persistence and adaptation. By mastering these skills and putting them into practise, you can enhance sales performance and achieve greater success.