All companies — and all sales people — dream of closing their sales faster. Because the faster you conclude your sales, the larger the volume of deals handled, and the higher the turnover achieved!
However, even at this time of digital technology and social selling, closing remains salespeople’s bête noire…
So let’s take a look at four sales techniques — which are relatively simple to put into practice — for making your sales cycle faster and improving your closing rate…
And even if you find yourself saying ‘I know that’, make the effort to ask yourself “Do I (systematically) apply these techniques?” and “Am I getting results by applying these techniques?”
1st sales technique: the open question “What shall we do?”
Imagine the following scenario: you have identified your lead’s needs and requirements. You have shown them how your product responds to said needs and to their primary motives. They are convinced of the fact that this is the product/solution they need. You have presented the price as well as the other conditions linked to your offering: delivery deadlines, warranties, assistance, etc.
Your client raised objections. You dealt with them efficiently. All they need to do now is place the order. But you sense that they’re still thinking about it. So you’re stressed: are they going to buy or not? As a result, the silence is so heavy you could cut it with a knife; this is dead time you could do without.
This is the moment that certain sales people choose to improvise, and commit an irreparable act:
- They tell an anecdote, so as to relax the atmosphere (especially for themselves) and delay the fateful moment.
- They continue to pitch and talk about the product; and this is where they mention the advantages and characteristics for which the client does not want to pay. Conclusion: the client asks for the price of the product to be reviewed. What follows is an endless discussion in which the seller drops the price or loses the sale.
- And so on…
Other sales people will use good sales techniques, but will do so at the wrong moment: when they see their client hesitating or considering the deal, they rush in and propose:
- To offer them bonuses if they place the order straightaway. In certain cases, this is a good technique. But it reduces the company’s profitability; what is more, at this stage, there’s no indication that the client would not have ordered the product without the bonus.
- To offer them a reduction on the price of the product if they immediately place the order. The disadvantage here is the same as with the ‘incentive bonus’ sales technique.
- That the client immediately places the order because the product is rare. The timing is not really right for this. The client is likely to think that you’re talking to them about the rarity of the product just because they’re hesitating, which is going to lead to them not believing you.
Instead of immediately using such sales techniques, try this one: the open question “What shall we do?”
Once you have successfully completed all the other sale stages and have arrived at the conclusive stage, ask your client “What shall we do?”
This sales technique is formidable for several reasons:
- If you find it difficult to openly ask the client to place the order, it will enable you to suggest ordering without feeling embarrassed.
- Your client understands — without you having to rush them — that it is time to place the order.
- If they have no further worry or concern, they will stop constantly thinking about it, they will stop hesitating. They will actually place the order. If they do have a concern, they will talk about it and this will enable you to pull the rabbit out of the hat and resolve the stumbling block, thereby immediately triggering the sale.
Of course, instead of “What shall we do?” you could be more subtle and ask: ”At what stage are you in your decision making? How can I help you make the right decision?” The aim is to give the client the floor, to move ahead at the same rhythm as them, while leaving behind the uncertainty created by a long silence …
If your lead’s response is not the one you wanted, then delve further with other open questions, deal with possible last-minute objections and use the decision-making accelerators that follow to close the sale!
2nd sales technique for fast closing: offer incentive bonuses
If your client is still hesitating because of the product/offering/price, this does not necessarily mean that they don’t want, or can’t afford, to buy your product.
If your client is still hesitating, this could simply mean that, in their eyes, the product or solution proposed does not have enough value in comparison with the price they have to pay to obtain it.
So here there are 2 solutions:
- Increase the perceived value
- Reduce the price!
To increase the perceived value for the client, use this simple and efficient sales technique: offer an incentive bonus! Ideally, this bonus should have great value in their eyes, yet not cost you much.
“A high-value bonus” doesn’t necessarily mean “a high-priced bonus”. A high-value bonus is a complementary element that is sufficiently useful to the client for them to accept paying for the main product. This is why it is important to have carried out an effective client interview beforehand.
For example, if you sell industrial machines which come with technical documentation/user manuals, don’t leave your client to manage it all by themselves. Offer to deliver the machine assembled, to assemble the machine for them on site, or to offer them free training in its use… if they place the order now!
The second option, with a negotiation-based approach (if you have the necessary room for manoeuvre), is to try to reduce the price.
3rd sales technique: negotiate a concession in return for an immediate purchase
Don’t make do with cutting your margins! Think again about the best possible equation.
First, analyse how much the deal represents (immediately/short term/long term). How much potential does this client have (impact on turnover/profitability/brand image/potential for prescription, etc.)?
Finally, if and only if it’s worth it, go back to negotiation! What could swing the balance and reduce the cost (real or psychological) of the investment?
- Facilities on payment conditions (staggering, deadline extensions, etc.)
- Extended warranties
- Free delivery
- Free sample/complementary products
- As a last resort: an immediate reduction.
And, as any concession requires compensation, make the most of the opportunity to ask for immediate commitment with a signature into the bargain. And if you are a skilled negotiator, why not ask for a larger order further down the line (stipulated in the contract), an exclusivity clause, etc.
Let your sales intelligence run wild!
4th sales technique: play on the rarity of the offering and on urgency
Urgency and rarity are powerful sales accelerators! But the majority of sales people use these decision-making accelerators like carpet sellers…
The idea behind this sales technique is to convey to your client the feeling that:
- You are limited with THIS offer/THIS product.
- Several competitors are on the case and are likely to cut ahead/steal their thunder.
- You don’t have the in-house capacities to deal with the volumes of current orders, which will lead to delays.
- And so on…
There are many applications but the most important is the reality of the point(s) raised. You have to think about the elements that could legitimately enable you to play on urgency and rarity! You can’t buy credibility…
Sales example using an Email Marketing SaaS solution:
“Dear Mr X, I understand that you are not in a hurry. However, if you wish to start and to be operational in September, we really do have no room for manoeuvre. As I mentioned, we have to take into account the phase-in time for your accounts which currently stands at between 10 and 15 working days. This is the minimum period for a customised configuration. So with the current leave in our respective businesses, it would be judicious (as a matter of security) to start this week. What do you think?”
This sales technique has to be adapted depending on the products and services, sales cycle, type of buyers, etc. but the principle remains the same.
However, here are a few criteria for effective use:
- Your justification must be real and credible. If not, you will sell once but this technique will not work the following time. The client will think that you are bluffing them, as usual.
- Your offer must not be strictly comparable and available from competitors who are easy to find or contact.
- The motivation to buy must have been sufficiently stimulated during the preceding stages of the sale cycle in order to maximise the impact of the decision-making accelerator.
One other thing: for greater sales efficiency, there is nothing to stop you combining these different closing techniques through the application of good situational sales intelligence!
These techniques are fairly well-known, yet so little used with tact and efficiency in the day-to-day sales activity of many sellers… yet, did you know?
A single small detail, at the right moment, in the right context, can speed up decision-making by taking away the final obstacles to the sale.
So do not hesitate to (re)test these 4 sales techniques, by using this article point by point and measuring your results.
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