All too often salespeople find themselves in that never never land of their sales not closing. They may be so close to the situation that they don’t realize why their sales are not moving forward. See if you are doing any of the following because that’s why your sales aren’t closing.
What did the customer say or do?
In many companies there are weekly sales meetings. Sales managers ask their salespeople to report on the status of their prospects. Some salespeople will report week after week that the sale is going great and it’s likely to close soon. Of course it never does. Some sales managers are sold by this behavior. Good sales managers aren’t.
A good sales manager will ask the salesperson, “What has the customer said or done to lead you to believe the sale is going to close soon?” All too often the answer is, “Well, he didn’t say or do anything. I just know it’s going to close.” I can assure you that it won’t.
Not working with a viable prospect.
I work with clients to shorten their sales cycle. One of my requirements is that in the first stage of the sale—qualifying the prospect—that you are able to conclude that you have a viable prospect. How do you know you have a viable prospect? You ask the prospect in the first meeting or telephone call if you sell on the telephone, specific questions that allow you to qualify your prospect. You learn about their decision making process. You identify the decision maker or decision makers. You learn about their budget for your products or services. That’s just some of the basic information.
Imagine selling to someone who is not the decision maker. Do you see how that sale won’t close? The person you are meeting with can’t make the decision to buy. What if they have no decision making process? That’s an indication that this isn’t a critical need. It might be an opportunity for you to educate that prospect, but it certainly indicates less urgency to buy. It’s very unlikely that they will buy if they have no budget. That’s not to say you can’t work with a prospect to get money reallocated for your product or service. It’s difficult and it also takes time. That sale is not closing soon.
Not quantifying the problem or need.
It’s pretty standard to recognize that when people have a need, want or problem they will work to address it if the need, want or problem is great enough. How do most businesses determine if their needs, problems or wants are great? They assign a dollar value to the issue.
Most salespeople look for the situation where their products and services are needed and then try to pitch their products and services when they find the situation. Salespeople know the customer should buy, but the customer doesn’t buy. What are these salespeople missing? The salespeople aren’t missing anything. It’s the customer who is missing it.
Their customer doesn’t realize the magnitude of the problem, need or want. No purchase becomes needed without recognizing the magnitude of the issue. What should salespeople do? They must quantify the problem before they present their solution to the customer. You tend to hear a lot of “I’ll think about it” unless prospects consciously understand that they have a big problem that’s costing them a lot of money. Be sure to ask questions about the consequences of their problem and determine those costs. That’s the only way to motivate a prospect to do something about his problems and buy something.
Now you know what to do so you can say “My sale is closing” and it really does close.