What is it that separates those who “can” close and those who “can’t”? It’s an interesting question with a myriad of possible answers. Can you start doing something different today to become one of the best? There are definitely some secrets worth sharing in this area – check off the ones that you are currently working on and practicing to move yourself to the top of the mountain?
They spend more time disqualifying prospects than qualifying them.
While others are trying to generate interest, the top performers are trying to find buyers. They don’t spend their valuable time pitching to unqualified individuals. They spend their time finding out up front if there is a fit. They find out through smart questions if the person is willing to change. They find out if there is any “pain”, and they work to discover why someone won’t buy vs convincing them they should buy. Top closers send out the least amount of proposals, quotes, packages, samples, and literature, yet they have the highest closing rates.
They always ask for the business. They ask many times, in many different ways throughout the selling cycle.
They start the call by managing the result within the first few moments by using a strong Up Front Contract. They continually gauge where they are with the prospect to determine which path to take next – throughout each compartment they seek decisions and commitment. They expect and assume they will get the business. They would never consider ever leaving a call without asking for the business.
They always ask for larger orders and most often get them!
They know that it’s much harder to start small and go up, but by starting big they have the ability to drop the amount and still get an order. They position themselves to be the “first” choice always, rather than setting the expectation that “second call” is good enough. Whether they get what they want or not, it’s not as important as positioning for the top. In many cases, getting half of what they initially ask for is usually twice as much as what others ask for. Getting larger orders is the fastest way to increase revenue with less effort.
They ask tough questions right from the very beginning.
The ask questions regarding the prospect’s current relationship with what is clearly the competition. They ask thoughtful and buyer-centered questions. They understand how the prospect manages change and the decision-making process. They know what the time frame is and what type of money is available. The find out what they need to know rather than providing the buyer with everything they want to know. They understand that sales is an “interview” process with the question being “who is interviewing who?” While the majority of salespeople are afraid of these types of questions, top performers know that the real buyers will give this information when “tire kickers” won’t. Tough questions will scare away those who can’t and won’t make decisions and will reveal who the real buyers are.
They listen for and question red flags.
We all know what a red flag is – a response from a buyer that is non-committal in many ways, but filled with information for those brave enough to probe down. A buyer might say something like “We’re pretty happy with who we are working with, but wanted to check around.” Or “We’re going to be getting three quotes.” Most reps let these go and hope they don’t come up again. But we all know they will, especially given that the buyer has basically said so. Top closers will respond by way of question or third party story to these statements and disqualify the prospect if necessary. These red flags that cause our “spidey-senses” to kick into gear usually reveal time wasters that no top producer wants to invest in.
They aren’t afraid of “NO’s” – they are prepared for them.
They understand that not everyone they talk to will buy from them, and they know that their products and services are not a “fit” for everyone, even if those individuals truly need and use what they have to sell. They have developed a way to make every call successful – and we all know that a “qualified” no is a positive end result to a sales call. Or they walk away with something of equal value such as the opportunity to position themselves for the future when the prospect is considering change. They always ask, and often get referrals even from those that don’t buy from them. They learn from each experience and capture each lesson.
They prepare in advance – they never “wing it”
Top closers are ready for the programmed responses and stalls that prospects use to blow off 80% of all the other sales people they meet. They can answer the question “Why should I do business with you?” They know how to describe their offering from the buyer’s side of the desk through thoughtfully-crafted stories that are real and relevant. They’ve already planned their response to every objection they know they will encounter – they aren’t surprised. They stay in control by using a systematic approach, that when deliberately practiced, becomes their guide for pre-sale planning and post-sales reviews.
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