You’ve been talking with the client for months. You’re ready to make the sale, then…poof! The deal you thought you had in the bag evaporates, never closing. Often, the client didn’t say no; they just failed to make a decision.
It’s not as unusual as you may think it is. In fact, Qvidian’s report, “Sales Execution Trends 2014,” indicates that only 63 percent of sales people make their annual quotas.
Here are eight strategies to help you get to “yes.”
Understand why the deal benefits the client.
Start by knowing the client’s business, including where it’s positioned within its industry, its finances, its pain points, where it makes its money and how it invests its resources. With that understanding, you can develop a solution to address its challenges.
Build a durable relationship.
It’s important that potential clients realize your company is investing in them for the long haul as a partner, not just a vendor.
Know the details before negotiating the deal.
It sounds intuitive, but it’s important to understand the parameters of a sales opportunity before negotiating the details. For example, are the customer’s perceptions based on old technology? If the deal is for service, is it clear where that service will be provided, and under what conditions? Identify any contingencies that could affect the results early in the discussion.
Sell overall value.
Companies that are focused on having the lowest price can always be undersold. Instead, show how your product adds overall value to the organization. For example, a high up-front cost can be offset by savings in other areas of the organization, faster time to market, reduced product returns or other benefits. No perk is too small. Point them out.
Identify the real barriers to closing.
Sometimes psychological factors prevent closing, with each party discounting the value of the other’s concessions or concerns. Options include waiting for the client to ask for something specific, allowing you to increase the perceived value of your concession, and bringing in a third party. Particularly for long negotiations, a fresh sales team can help close the deal by removing any personality conflicts that may have developed.
Never accept a bad deal.
No deal often is better than the wrong deal. Don’t tie yourself to promises you won’t be willing to keep a year from now just to close a sale. Desperation to make a sale undermines the value of that sale and lays the foundation for an unsustainable sales model.
Scrutinize the written contract.
Deals can be lost when the contract fails to accurately reflect the agreed-upon terms. Even the routine boilerplate, such as options to extend or terminate a contract, have an important effect on the overall value of the deal and may entail commitments that limit the parties’ ability to build a successful working relationship.
Make the other party look good.
At the end of the day, if you got the sale, you look good to your company. Now it’s time to strengthen your relationship with your client by helping your counterpart look good. Taking a page from labor negotiations, you may want to orchestrate the final negotiation to give the client a win – accepting their best offer rather than accepting your terms – even if the deals are identical.
There’s more to closing a sale than shaking hands. Convincing your clients to commit takes observation, understanding and skill. By applying these eight tips, you will increase your close rate and make your annual sales quota.