Back to the blog overview

Converting clients 101: Going in for the kill

Closing a customer is kind of like going in for the kill - without the violence of course. So how can you make sure all your efforts in closing a sale don’t go to waste?

Closing a customer is kind of like going in for the kill - without the violence. It’s about culminating all your preparation and hard work in the final stage. So how can you make sure all your efforts in closing a sale don’t go to waste?

Sales reps offer lots of different advice on how to close customers. Some would recommend the “assumptive” closing technique, others would claim the “Balance sheet” close (or the “Ben Franklin” close) offers you more success.

Point is: sales techniques are as varied as can be. But there are a number of steps you can always take to optimize the closing stage of your sales process.

This article is part 3/3 of our Converting Clients 101 series. Would you like to know more about lead qualification? Or are you rather looking for more information on negotiating and objection handling?

Shortening the decision cycleStartupblogs_9_inline1_300x300.png

The name of the game is to make the decision cycle as short as possible. You as a salesperson need to help your lead spend less time on collecting info, comparing options, testing & evaluating and even persuading others. How? Some pointers:

  • Make your Unique Selling Point crystal clear
  • Identify and mitigate objections constructively
  • Paint a picture of success in the customer’s terms (i.e. ROI, short- & long-term consequences)
  • Offer customer testimonials: don’t underestimate the importance of social proof
  • Provide proper onboarding, training and support – both before and after a sale
  • Keep the threshold as low as possible, e.g. by offering a free trial period

Overcoming budget or authority barriers

The infamous BANT methodology attributes objections to 2 things, amongst others: Budget and Authority. But how can you counter them?

1. Budget

Startupblogs_9_inline2_645x390_EN.jpg

Objections based on the price of your product often have deeper roots, and it’s your job to figure out what the actual motive might be. Is your lead unaware of the value your product or service offers? Does he understand the potential ROI? Keep in mind that selling is about offering value, and price will sometimes, but not always be the deal-breaker.

Budget can be an easy scapegoat, and an easy way out of the negotiation. Ask your prospect the right questions, be open and honest, and eventually you will get to the right answers. Have a look at the example on the right:

If your prospect answers yes, you’ve discovered that the budget objection is real. There’s no point trying to push the sale because your prospect simply can’t afford it. But sometimes, another argument will surface, e.g.: “In that case, we’d have to see whether it fits into our existing workflow.” In both cases, the response will allow you to move forward.

2. Authority

Although you ideally want to talk to a decision maker right away, most businesses will first delegate someone to identify whether your offer fits the mold. Only after your product or service passes the initial test will you get a chance to pitch your product to the right person.

If your customer plays the authority card, a first step is to verify whether the objection makes sense. Ask for feedback on why he’s saying no: is it the product? Your price? The timing? Ask how the decision maker defines success, what he’s looking for, and how he makes decisions. In other words: try to get to the bottom of things.

4 ways to convince your customer

1. Talk numbers and value

Talk in the language of your lead.  Be well-prepared and discuss business drivers such as reduced operating costs, improved efficiency or increased sales conversion rates. And finally, bringing metrics to the table will make your sales pitch even more impactful. Startupblogs_9_inline4_300x300.png 

2. Back up your claims with real testimonials

One of the best ways to convince a customer during the closing phase is to share examples of how you’ve helped other customers. Explain how they used to do things before, what challenges they faced, and what results they’ve achieved since they started working with you.

3. Connect the dots

The closing stage is all about engaging with your customer, and making them understand the real value of what you’re offering. Some questions to start off with:

  • How are you currently dealing with the issue?
  • What are your short-term and long-term objectives?
  • What initiatives do you have in place to get there?
  • Suppose you achieve similar results as our other customers, what would this mean for your business?

Help your customer connect your product to the value they’re looking for, and plan the questions that will get you there well ahead.

4. Don't force it

Another important tip: don’t try to force the deal. Take time in building the relationship, and make sure your customer thinks of you as a trusted expert on the topic and not a salesperson who’s only looking out for his own best interest. The prospects you’re looking for will never fall for those techniques anyway. Instead of focusing on your own bottom line, worry about helping your customer.

A Compelling Reason versus a Compelling Event

We’ve talked about compelling events before, but there’s another aspect you should consider in the closing stage of a sale: a compelling reason for your customer to act. What problem do they face and what would make them find a solution now?

To find out whether you’ve uncovered a compelling reason to act, ask your customer the following questions:

  • What caused you to identify the issue in the first place?
  • What would happen now and in the future if you fail to deal with this issue?
  • Who else within the organization might be affected, and how?
  • How will the issue impact your personal priorities?
  • How will it impact your global strategic objectives?
  • How much revenue could go lost?
  • Could it affect your reputation?                                          

An example!

Startupblogs_9_inline3_960x400_EN.png

See how easy it can be to discover a couple compelling reasons simply by keeping the conversation going, and listening to your customer? Allow him to do the talking, and to identify and understand where the issues are, before explaining how you can resolve those issues. Don’t ever offer the same generic sales pitch to each and every lead.

And finally: know that in the first place, it is not your brand identity that convinces customers to buy your product. It is not your price. It is not even the service you offer. It is the sheer need for a solution to a problem they face. This is why you need to focus on your customer’s needs (and not your product) throughout the sales cycle. That’s what we mean when we talk about speaking in the customer’s terms, and not yours.

Discover Teamleader FOR FREE through the Startup Program!

With Teamleader, we built an all-in-one solution to help deal with fundamental challenges small and medium sized companies face on a day to day basis. From managing leads and customers up to tracking your sales activity, providing customer support and following up on projects, Teamleader provides you with all the data you need to manage the most essential aspects of your business - all in one place.

But there’s more: Teamleader is easy to use, customizable, cloud-based, offers seamless third-party integration and comes with a free mobile application, helping you manage your business whenever, wherever and however you prefer to. Eager to try it out for yourself?

New Call-to-action

This article is part 3/3 of our Converting Clients 101 series. Would you like to know more about lead qualification? Or are you rather looking for more information on negotiating and objection handling?

About the author

Cedric Auman

« Deux têtes valent mieux qu’une ». C’est sur ce principe que nous nous sommes mis en quête d’un deuxième copywriter pour nous pondre des textes fluides et les traduire. Traducteur-interprète diplômé spécialisé dans la langue de Shakespeare et celle de Molière, Cedric était la personne toute trouvée. Avec Robin, il forme le duo dynamique auquel nos blog, site Web, e-books et réseaux sociaux doivent leur contenu passionnant.

Want to learn more about Teamleader and stay ahead with everythings that's new?