The single most important question asked in sales meetings today is: “How can we close more sales?”
As every salesperson well knows, good hard answers to this crucial question don’t come easily. According to Zig Ziglar, the famous author of the bestseller Secrets of Closing the Sale, many salespeople overlook the fact that the close is not an isolated and separate part of the sales process, but a part of everything in the sales process.
“So, many salespeople think, ‘I have covered everything in the sales presentation and now I’ve got to close the sale,'” Ziglar says. “In other words, they separate the close, when in reality closing is a natural and ongoing part of the entire sales process.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the customer will buy automatically just because you’ve discussed every feature and benefit. As Ziglar says, this is wishful thinking.
“[Salespeople] need to understand that the words, the ideas, and the phrases they use are all designed to cause the customer to think of purchasing on several occasions throughout the sales process,” he says.
Here are Ziglar’s four action tips for improving your close rates.
1. Anticipate how you will help the customer envision buying from you. This is most effective when you paint bright pictures of the pleasures of ownership. For example, you could say, “Just imagine for a moment that you have owned this product for a year. You sit in your office and in comes your accountant. He shows you the maintenance figures of this machine and he tells you with a smile on his face that your operating costs have decreased by 38 percent. Isn’t that what we both want to happen?”
2. Plan to mirror your buyer’s style. Throughout your sales presentation, try to coordinate your speech and mannerisms with those of your prospect. For someone who is very high energy, match that enthusiasm. For someone who is more subdued, adopt a calm and measured energy. If you’re presenting to a group, remain flexible, and try to match the dominant style of the decision maker.
3. Drill yourself on what you’re going to say in the meeting. A planned presentation is always superior to the improvised presentation. With a plan, you will have a mental road to travel. This will free your mind to observe the prospect’s nonverbal responses. You will be better able to identify when he’s engaged and know when his attention is wandering. Improvised presentations work, but you’re working harder when you could be working smarter.
4. Do not attempt to close until after you have established value in the mind of the prospect. To attempt to close before you establish value will make it appear that you are a high-pressure salesperson and interested only in yourself. This is an absolutely critical point. If you’re not confident about your ability to sell on value as opposed to features and benefits, ask your manager to help you work on that skill.