You won’t maximize profits for your company by hiding behind a computer screen and writing blogs and copy all day – you have to put yourself out there. You have to mingle, pound the pavement, get uncomfortable, pick up the damn phone and close baby!
So how do you become a closer and increase profits? First off, don’t take yourself too seriously. Treat sales like a game because in many respects, it is just that. In large part, sales is a numbers game. Secondly, tell yourself, nay, sell yourself, on the fact that YOU LOVE BEING A SALESMAN… once you’ve done that, we can proceed. You’ll never be great at making sales unless you love the process. In this article I’ll tell you how I’ve closed millions of dollars in deals over the years using 6 key principles.
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1. Only sell the best-in-breed: Don’t sell crap. Sell the best product on the market for its price. If you don’t believe that you have the best solution for your client, and you try and pretend you do with your inferior product/service, you’ve not only sold yourself out, but your prospective client will either see through your bullshit, or buy your product and regret it later. Either way, your career in sales won’t last long, and your reputation, the most valuable asset you have, will be tarnished. When you truly believe you have the best product on the market, you will reek of confidence. Buyers love a confident pitchman.
2. Be a research fanatic and become THE expert: Know your competition and the ins and outs of your product better than anyone else. No one else on planet earth should know more about the market you are servicing, nor the features of the product you are offering, than you.
There is nothing more impressive in a sales pitch than when the guy/gal trying to close has an answer to every questions asked. To have this ability, you must take the time to study and do your homework. It’s called preparation. Prior to making the pitch, ideally the night before, prepare yourself for any rebuttals that may come your way. Do your homework so closing the deal is a walk in the park.
3. Never bullshit: It can be easy to do when making a pitch. Someone asks a question about your product/service that you don’t have the answer for, so you quickly BS them some technical jargon hoping to quickly move on. I’ve seen it many times.
If you don’t have the answer to a question, tell your prospective buyer that you don’t have the answer, and that you’ll get back to them first thing in the AM. Honesty is respected in the business world. With that said, had you done your homework initially, as per my point above, you shouldn’t have to get back to them in the AM with the answer!
4. Get your audience talking and become an amazing listener: If you’re trying to close a deal and you’re the only one who has said a word in the last 15 minutes, you’ve failed, miserably. In fact, if your pitch doesn’t involve open dialogue, and you’ve spoken for more than 5 minutes straight, you need to rejig your pitch.
I don’t like to talk for more than 2 minutes straight when I’m making a pitch. The more conversational, the better my chances are of building rapport and closing the deal. If you’re the only one talking then that’s not a pitch; that’s called making a speech.
The key to closing a deal is learning how to be a detective. You have to find out what exactly your prospective client is missing. What is it that they need, or want? The only way to truly find out what that desire may be is to get them talking. The truth will be revealed in their words and closing the deal will be much easier if you learn what they need so you can explain exactly how your product/service can help with that.
You don’t make money in sales based on the amount of words you spew out. The more you can get the prospective client talking, the greater the likelihood of you closing the deal.
Get your prospective client talking right away, and respect their opinion. These people are smarter about their needs than you. Don’t think you already know what they want. This is the hardest part of sales and the most important, next to believing you have the best product on the market.
5. Dress the part: Notice that I didn’t say the old cliché of ‘dress to impress’. That’s because that is terrible advice when trying to close a deal. You have to know your audience. Think about it:
If you’re selling tractors to farmers, do you think they’re going to listen to a guy who shows up in a $4,000 Brioni suit? Of course not. While the suit may be impressive, they’re going to laugh you out of the room. And that’s too bad because you just wasted all that money on a nice suit and missed out on huge commissions. (selling tractors is a big money business!) Look sharp and professional, but don’t go overboard. Know your audience.
6. Avoid boardroom pitches: In my industry, prospective clients often request that I meet them in their office boardroom. I typically respond with, ‘why don’t we grab a bite and talk over lunch’ if it is the second meeting; or if it is the first, ‘let’s grab a coffee’. Formality is a buzz kill. And boardrooms are as formal as it gets.
Additionally, I don’t like to give up home court advantage so easily. I’d rather meet on neutral ground and make it as casual as possible. That’s the best way of doing business and encourages a more conversational environment. Conversation leads to closing!
So there you have it. Closing a deal is not rocket science. It doesn’t require you to have the gift of the gab, a fancy suit or that you become a world-class bullshitter. It requires that you make the environment as comfortable as possible, that you prepare before-hand, that you are honest in your pitch, that you carefully listen to your prospect and that you sell a superior product.