Sales Closing Techniques to Get Your Prospects to “Yes, I want it” Faster
Did you know that 71% of sales reps blame their inability to close deals on their lack of knowledge? Yes, knowledge!
So here’s the deal. If you want to master the type of sales techniques that blow up pipelines, make yourself a cuppa and work down this list because what made it is simply dynamite.
Let’s get philosophical: Socratic questioning
“I know that I know nothing” is one of Socrates’ best-known quotes. Perhaps that’s why the remarkable teacher and philosopher, credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, was so alarmingly skilled at asking probing questions.
In fact, he was so good that a separate method for asking questions the right — Socratic — way was developed. In a nutshell, Socratic questioning is disciplined questioning that is often employed to pursue and explore complex ideas, get to the bottom of things, uncover assumptions, and so on. It’s a systematic, disciplined technique that is based on the practice of thoughtful dialogue.
But can Socrates teach you a thing or two about sales? Doubt him not, the man’s game is still strong.
A sales professional is only as good as his questions. To overcome buyer objections, eliminate wrong assumptions and fears, and craft personalized solutions that solve your clients’ headaches, you must know where it hurts. Simple as that. Can a doctor treat someone if they don’t know the cause of their pain? Well, they can, but it most likely won’t work. Think of the last time you went to consult your GP — did she offer you a spoon of coughing syrup or a shot of vitamin B12 (it’s crucial for a healthy brain, by the way) before you even sat down? No, she didn’t. She asked you loads of questions, and then some more.
To move a lead from the solution-gathering stage to a solid close, a sales person needs to approach the sale methodically, ask the right questions at the right time, and actively listen. Now, it sounds simple, but making assumptions about a client’s needs is a classic mistake. And while the leading salespeople have upped their game with the help of robust CRMs and smart tools, appropriate questioning techniques remain the main gun in their arsenal.
So hear it from Socrates. Here are his five types of questions devised to control the discussion and unlock the truth.
Questions to clarify your clients’ thinking: could you elaborate? Why do you think/say that?What exactly does this mean?
Questions to challenge your their assumptions: why do you think that this assumption holds here? You seem to be assuming that… What would happen if…?
Questions to probe their evidence/reasons: What would be an example of…? Why do you say that? Is there a reason to doubt this…?
Questions to explore their viewpoints/perspectives: what are the alternative ways of looking at this? What if you compared… and…?
Questions to uncover implications/consequences: How does… affect…? What would happen if…?
You will need different questions at different stages of your sales process, but mastering the Socratic technique will give you the means and the confidence necessary to lead conversations towards the desired outcome.
When you’re an expert, and you know it
It’s no surprise that deep product knowledge almost always means more sales. To effectively address clients’ needs and craft tailored solutions, a salesperson must know the product inside out.
If you ask your sales team to describe the value your product or service create, you’re likely to get a whole array of different answers. Some of them will be compelling, leaving you wanting more, others will hardly make an impact. What a salesperson knows about a product, drives how he sells and what he’s able to achieve.
41.3% of sales organizations identified “difficult competitive differentiation” as one of the barriers to success, according to this CSO report. Showing a customer why she should spend her money with you instead of going next door is a crucial step in the sales process. It requires a detailed understanding of the product’s key features and benefits to the customer as well as the ability to recognize opportunities when emphasizing certain solutions is appropriate and beneficial.
A Richardson Training whitepaper states that “Sales Professionals who prepare and deliver meetings of high value to a buyer win deals 3.6 times more than their peers.” It’s down to the fact that buyers are increasingly knowledgeable about the products they are planning to purchase and only accept meetings or seek assistance from sales reps that they believe can provide valuable insights. In fact, as much as 57% of B2B buyers have done their research and know what product they want before they even speak to a sales rep. This represents a great challenge to sales teams as they’re left with little negotiation room and some serious assumptions to tackle.
To get to a deal faster, you must make your prospect feel that your product is the best solution on the table, refraining from making it a race to the bottom. It can only be possible if you speak about your product fluently, leaving no trace of doubt, and exude confidence and enthusiasm.
Focusing on Value vs. Cost
Practice shows that sharp decreases in prices typically lead to only modest increases in sales. How is that possible? The truth is, customers, want cheap, but not too cheap.
Prices that are significantly lower than the industry standard signal that something is potentially amiss and put customers off. Turning to cost-based pricing with hopes to attract more leads can only be effective if the discounts are controlled and kept within industry norms. Otherwise, your products might be perceived as cheap imitations of your competitors’ produce.
The point of focusing on value vs. cost pricing is that it creates a fantastic opportunity for a company to make healthy margins. Value-based selling is a pricing strategy which sets prices according to the perceived value to the customer rather than the cost of the product.
It’s all about how much your customers are willing to pay for your product and how much they think it is worth. Utpal M. Dholakia, the Professor of Marketing at Rice University, offers a reliable definition of value-based pricing:
“Value-based pricing is the method of setting a price by which a company calculates and tries to earn the differentiated worth of its product for a particular customer segment when compared to its competitor.”
He also states a few important conditions that can make value-based pricing model the right option for your business:
- It’s targeted to a single market segment. The same value-based price should not be implemented in all segments. Instead, you should focus on choosing a different value-based price for each segment.
- There is a competitor in a segment. Expect this pricing model to be effective only if your target audience in that segment have an alternative, i.e. a product from your competitor. The value of your product will be determined based on your competitor’s product. If there isn’t one, the value-based model won’t work.
- The differentiated feature is unique. The feature can only be available in your product, and you have to understand its perceived value to the customer.
- Assign a monetary value. Now that you understand the differentiated value, it’s time to assign a monetary value to it and determine the final product cost.
Continue reading at Teamgate’s Blog and find out the rest of the closing techniques!