In today’s ongoing series of the “Top Ten Characteristics of Top Sales Producers,” I’m going to give you a powerful way to open your closes. This is a technique that top producers use all the time, but that most sales reps are afraid of using.
If you do this right, however, you’ll have the confidence to ask for and get the sale the majority of the time. It is:
Top Characteristic Part Five: Requalify your prospect at the beginning of your closing presentation.
Let’s start with how most sales reps give a closing presentation or demo. Most sales reps get a prospect on the phone and then go through a long winded presentation, seldom checking in, and then at the end vaguely asking for the order with a weak statement like:
“So what do you think?”
A client of mine once described his sales team as “spraying and praying.” They “sprayed” a long presentation, and then at the end “prayed” the prospect was onboard and wanted to buy.
If that’s how you’re doing it now, then you know how sick of a feeling it is to finally ask for the deal (and usually be turned down).
Top producers handle this in a very different way. First, top producers get much better quality leads out because they follow Top Characteristic Number Four of fully qualifying their leads.
Next, when they get a prospect back on the phone, before they jump into their demo or presentation, they take the time up front to requalify their prospect so there are no surprises when it comes to asking for the sale at the end.
What they are requalifying for are things like decision making ability of the person they are pitching, the timeline for making the decision (especially using a trial close like: “And if at the end you like what you see today, is this something you can move forward with?”), and any other qualifying areas that weren’t covered during the qualifying call.
Here is a list of some sample questions you can ask at the beginning of your presentation:
“I know you mentioned last time that you were particularly interested in learning about ________. Is there any other area you wanted to see today?”
“You mentioned that you were the one who would decide on something like this – is that still the case?”
“I know you said you wanted to find a solution as soon as possible, so let me ask you: if this is everything you’re looking for, are you prepared to move on this today?”
“You know ________, we talked about the range of investment being between $10,000 to $50,000 depending on which program you went with. If you do like this today, what kind of commitment are you thinking of making?”
“I’m happy we have some time to go over how all this works and let me ask you: If after you see all this you agree this is what you’re looking for, is this something you can give me the go ahead to put to work for you today?”
If some of these questions seem daunting to you, it’s probably because you haven’t been thoroughly qualifying your prospects to begin with. You may be more used to the “spray and pray” model.
I’m here to tell you that you’ll close more deals, avoid more frustration, and confidently close more deals if you begin requalifying your prospects up front.
The benefits of doing this are many. To start with, if you find that a prospect isn’t going to make a decision at the end but rather has lots of concerns or objections already, then you can adjust your pitch accordingly. You can shorten it or ask for their main interests points and address those first. Then after you’ve answered any questions, you can begin overcoming some of the obstacles or ascertaining if this is a prospect who is ever going to close or not.
If you find that most of your prospects aren’t going to make a decision at the end of your presentation, then you can go back to your qualifying script and put in more definite questions so you get better qualified leads for your next closes.
On the other hand, if you find out that your prospect is indeed ready to go, then you can use more tie downs and trial closes during your presentation and then confidently ask for and get the sales sooner.
Either way, you’ll know where you stand at the beginning of your pitch and what you’ve got to do to win the deal.
Take some time this week to restructure the opening of your presentation or demo and put some of the requalifying questions you’ve read above. Or, adapt some of your own. The more you ask these kinds of questions, the stronger of a closer you’ll become.
And one last note: Don’t be afraid that you’re going to scare off buyers by doing this. Know one thing: buyers will respond to these kinds of questions. Only non-buyers will give you trouble, and wouldn’t you rather know up front who is going to buy and who isn’t?