All the negotiations skill-building, strategizing, goal setting, concessions plotting, knowledge building, and other footwork your sales team has put in over the preceding several days or weeks has led to what is demonstrably the most critical stage of the sales negotiations process: the close. After all, while this hard work and sales training has arguably provided your organization with many advantages outside of your bottom line – a more in-depth knowledge of your qualified leads and better rapport with critical sales contacts among them – the end goal is a win-win sales deal that benefits the business financially.
However, with sales close ratios for qualified leads hovering between 15 and 27%, depending on the industry, it’s clear that closing is among the most challenging sales skills to develop. Worse, failure to master the close means not only sacrificing the valuable time and resources you’ve spent to prepare for the negotiations process but losing out on critical revenue for the organization. That’s why the best sales teams are consistently working to build negotiations skills that drive momentum through the sales funnel and closing strategies that seal the deal.
We’ve developed a brief list of tips to help your team close more sales and improve your bottom line.
Closing Tip #1: Do Your Research
Of course, as mentioned above, part of the due diligence involved with any negotiations process includes performing research on the potential client. You’ll need to know their needs, their overall goals, and the reason they’ve decided your organization is relevant to both before you can craft an effective negotiations strategy that will help you reach the closing stage in the first place. However, it’s critical to revisit what you’ve learned before employing any other closing technique. Without a clear view of the client’s needs, you won’t be able to make an offer they’re able to accept.
Closing Tip #2: Close With the Decision Maker
Depending on your industry and the nature of the negotiations process, your team may have encountered multiple individuals while leading the potential client through the sales funnel. However, when it’s time to close, it is essential to do so with the decision-makers front-of-mind. Customizing your closing pitch to the decision maker’s needs can help you expedite the time to close, avoid dealbreaker roadblocks, and present an offer that helps to maximize profit or provide cost savings for your client.
Closing Tip #4: Shift Your Focus to Your Value-Add
While the numbers of your final sales proposition are certainly a critical factor when it comes to a successful close, don’t lose sight of the main reason they’re engaging in negotiations with your team – your product or service could help them solve a problem or meet a need. You’ve undoubtedly spent a considerable amount of time expounding upon your knowledge of your organization’s products and services, but the close is an essential time to remind the client how these features will serve to solve the client’s fundamental problem. Appealing to client pain points and demonstrating how you can alleviate them can result in as much as a 28% boost in close rates.
Closing Tip #5: Select an Effective Closing Technique
While the above tips are applicable in any close, your team’s approach to presenting them may differ depending on your industry. Appealing to the psychology of your buyers can help you engage in better negotiations and use the appropriate phrasing to close the deal. Consider which of these major closing techniques could help you appeal to the buyer in question:
- Summary closes. As an extension of tip four above, summary closes place the focus on how your offerings can help your potential client add value or solve pain points. As you might suspect, summary closes provide a brief but comprehensive summary of the products or services the client is getting, each of the value-adds made possible by the purchase, and other essential benefits that arise. Highlighting the most important parts of the deal can help your potential client visualize themselves accepting the terms as-is for maximum benefit.
- Question closes. You’ve invested a large amount of time learning as much as possible about the client’s pain points, concessions, goals, and more. While highlighting the ways your deal will resolve each of these aspects, ask questions to help you further help the client resolve these issues. For example, asking whether your deal helps the client solve their problem or whether they see any other potential obstacles to closing can help you identify potential obstacles or proceed to the signing stage.
- Soft closes. On a similar note, soft closes allow you to show all the potential benefits of the deal and ask questions to help the client gauge their own interest. However, soft closes differ from summary closes in that you do not make a demand or a specific request upon closing. Instead, after the summary, simply ask a question geared towards gauging interest, such as “does this align with your goals?” or “would you like to learn more?”
Now or never and takeaway closes. Both closing techniques hinge on the principle of scarcity – if the client believes the offer is limited by either supply or time, they will likely be influenced to make a purchase. Now or never closes, like implying that a discount will only last a limited time or that the current product is low in stock, create a sense of urgency in the client. Taking the process a bit further by removing a discount, feature, or service after a client delay increases this sense of urgency.