Regardless of if you’re a CEO, Sales VP, team manager or sales rep, understanding how to close a sale in an efficient yet effective manner is likely one of your top priorities. Condensing your sales cycle and moving opportunities from pipeline to close smoothly is a skill – one that requires the sales individual and the company to understand and be able to articulate what the business proposition is, rather than just the technical side.
Below, we explore actionable tips to help your sales team understand how to close a sale and accelerate the journey of the opportunity pipeline to close.
Business Need Drives Sales
Part of learning how to close a sale successfully is shifting the focus from the obvious. Forget about the features, forget about the benefits – salespeople should allocate 80% of their effort into understanding the prospects’ business needs. Then, you must be able to relate how the solution fulfills or satisfies that need and helps the prospect get to their destination quicker. Making this a key part of a sales pitch will have a notable effect on moving opportunities pipeline to close.
To uncover and maximize business need, great questioning skills have to be used, as well as ensuring you’re avoiding having too many technical conversations with those low down on the business food chain.
Authority is Key
Sales teams can only uncover and develop business need by working with the individual(s) who have the ability to allocate or create a budget, the ability to make the decision, and the ability to instigate the purchase order. After all, why would you deal with anyone else if your goal is to close a sale as quickly as possible?
If a salesperson reports back on a meeting and says ‘they have no budget’, ‘they already have one’ or ‘the timing is not right’, they’re probably talking to someone who has no authority, as the person in authority can change all of those elements. To successfully take opportunities from pipeline to close without jumping through hoops, you must ensure you’re targeting the people higher up in the food chain.
Make sure the prospect is on the same page as you and understands all of the steps that need to be completed prior to them buying your solution, which is going to help them reach their goals and objectives. They have to buy into your timetable of events and the resources you will require to have access to on their side. In other words, take control and set the agenda.
Understand And Deal With Objections
Salespeople don’t want to hear NO, and they understandably don’t want any bumps in the road. However, if they embraced potential objections they could turn them into an advantage and accelerate, rather than slow down, the sales process. Developing the skill of turning an objection into an advantage shouldn’t be overlooked when learning how to close a sale – after all, you wouldn’t be able to sell a single product if you put the phone down at every objection.
Effective questioning and objection handling are what separates great salespeople from the average and these are the people who have great close ratios and speedy sales cycles. Consider what the common objections may be for your product or service and how you can overcome it before you dive straight into your calls.
Always Leave With Next Actions Agreed
If the result of a meeting is positive, next steps and actions need to be agreed, not verbally but confirmed in writing and dates put on schedules. Too many sales people send proposal with no agreed review. Don’t send a proposal without a date in the calendar to present the proposal, then you are able to handle any potential objections and reconfirm the buying process and timetable. Emailing a proposal to a prospect is not a commitment from their side if they don’t agree with a next step.
The final point to be made is that technology salespeople get paid good money, often VERY good money. Don’t expect it to fall in your lap, you have to be persistent and drive the sale through to conclusion and make it happen within your time frame.
In summary, understanding how to close a sale and move opportunities from pipeline to close quicker is about taking control. Start the sales at the point of authority, fully understand business needs and drivers, set the agenda and timetable, handle objections early and finally keep things moving by being persistent. Very rarely does a sales take more than six weeks to close, once the prospect has decided they need to change and buy.
Operatix work with some of the world’s biggest technology companies to accelerate sales from SMB to Enterprise markets and developing success in channel and direct sales teams. Get in touch with us for more information.