February 17, 2016
Boosting sales is a top priority for any sales-focused organization, but sometimes the pressure rises to close more deals to boost earnings for the quarter or achieve sales goals. Whatever the reason you need to accelerate sales, there are a variety of tactics you could employ to do so.
Of course, the most effective sales strategies aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every company is different, as are your sales approaches, products, services, and let’s not forget your customers. Strategies for accelerating sales are often very customized to meet a company’s distinct needs, but it’s helpful to examine what other successful sales organizations have employed to close more deals – whether it’s an urgent need or you’re simply aiming to shorten the sales cycle.
To learn what sales strategies leading sales professionals use when they need to accelerate sales and close deals faster, we asked a panel of top sales pros and business leaders to answer this question:
“What’s your best example of a sales strategy that can be used to close deals faster?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
MEET OUR PANEL OF SALES AND MARKETING EXPERTS:
Rob Boston has been in sales and sales leadership roles for nearly a decade. He currently works with a software startup, Media Fusion, that’s created a powerful media management platform for video producers.
“There are about a thousand sales strategies that can work for you, and which ones you use depends on…”
Your specific product and market. There are, however, some truths that hold true regardless of who you are, what you’re selling, or who you’re selling to. They are:
Courtney is a well-traveled word snob and a technically creative writer. She’s got an amateur photography habit and a treasure hunting fever. Her specialties include digital media analysis, direct sales and marketing, hotel and restaurant management, creative writing, technical writing, blogging, yoga, teaching, and team building. Presently, Courtney is a digital media analyst for Hotel Marketing Works.
“You’ve introduced, presented, and given them the numbers; now you’ve got to close them. I think the most important strategy in any sale is…”
Silence. It’s that moment immediately after you’ve stated the price or offer; it’s that necessary moment of pause. You have to allow your customer the opportunity to either agree or object. It’s a painful, agonizingly long pause (especially for overly eager, aggressive salespeople) – but it’s crucial.
Anticipate the objection and overturn it. This is where the closing circle begins and you’re going to take customers through it as many times as necessary. This is where you’ll go back to building up the value of your product or service, adding in facts and points not previously mentioned and getting the customer to agree with you. Then you close them again. Then you pause… if you get another objection… round the circle you go again. The rule of thumb is to stop when you’ve gotten the same objection twice. Otherwise keep closing them until it’s a deal.
Neil Bondre is the Founder of The Interview Professional. Neil has been mentoring students for almost a decade now throughout the entire interview process including areas in accounting, finance, consulting, engineering, investment banking, private equity, sales, and medical school.
“The best strategy for closing deals and landing new business is…”
The top salesman needs to focus on what is closest to money now (short term view) and what can make consistent money in the long run.
Selling Power magazine said, “To his powerful and famous clients, Barry Maher is simply the best sales trainer in the business.” Barry has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, and CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week and USA Today.
“I’ve worked with thousands of sales professionals and innumerable non-sales people who had to learn to sell. Here are my three of my very top Dos and Don’ts…”
Mike is CEO of Mike Rodriguez International, a professional speaking, training, and consulting firm specializing in leadership, sales, and clients’ services.
He is a sales expert and author who has been promoted by Barnes & Noble. Mike has been featured on CBS and Business News & World report and has lectured at Baylor University. His clients include names like Hilton and the Federal Government.
“There are several critical components to land and close deals faster…”
First, when your approach with a current prospect puts your attention on what is prompting the prospect to talk with you, then you have the ability to listen and learn, from their perspective, about what their key driver is to buy. We call this their need or pain. In addition, once you determine the need or pain, based on what the client has told you (not what you think) then you must immediately determine how that pain is impacting their business.
This is important because if you are selling them a solution to a problem that they don’t have or one that doesn’t affect their business, they probably won’t buy from you.
Next, uncover the time frame that they need to get the service or product in their hands. If they don’t have funds until next year, then you have a delayed sale. If they need help meeting their budget in order to buy, the you can close the sale faster if you can help them meet the budget. Secondly, find out what happens if they miss the deadline to get the service or product in their hands. This creates a reevaluation of their need or pain that is impacting their business.
And finally, never feel the need to push because of your quota or deadlines. Buyers buy only when they see value and when they like and trust you. All are built when you focus on their needs and provide effective solutions that make sense.
Allison Arthur is the Marketing Manager for the Kini Group, a company blending proprietary metrics and frameworks, smart Business Intelligence and reporting software, insightful analytics, and creative problem-solving to help businesses achieve their bottom-line goals, improve margins, and build profit growth.
“Companies hoping to close more deals should start by focusing on…”
The deal itself. Understanding what the customer wants and meeting this need is crucial to closing the deal. Start by reviewing your existing customer trends – by region, size, industry, product line, purchase frequency, and more. Once you pull insights from customer behavior within your data, start pigeon-holing your prospects into the customer personas they would fall into as customers. Are you selling them the wrong product? Or just selling them at the wrong time? This data can provide very definitive answers as to why your leads keep telling you no and help you build a strategy to get them to say yes.
Mike Smith is the Founder of SalesCoaching1. He started the company in 2005 with a vision to simplify the sales functions of business and has arrived at a program to help grow and motivate sales teams. After having served as Area Vice President for a Fortune 500 sales company, Mike moved his expertise to helping other firms with the selection of better quality applicants and growth of companies in their sales results.
“In a vast number of cases when I have been working with client companies or highly successful individuals in sales, the questions I get most often is, ‘Mike I need to close more deals! What is the secret?’…”
The real answer lies in the qualifying stage of the perspective customer meeting. Too many sales people never take the time to determine if they are dealing with a true prospect or a suspect. You can find this out in a customer questioning format that will give you the best chance at recognizing if you have a real prospect.
You must have these three aspects to have a prospect, there is an abbreviation that will be easy to remember: M.A.N.
M = Money: Does this prospect have the resources to pay for your product?
A = Authority: Do you have all the parties needed who make the final choice?
N = Need: Does this prospect have a real or expected need for your product?
If you want to close more sales it is critical to get this information before you begin your presentation. Most sales are lost because the sales person is not talking to the final decision maker. You will waste less time and close more often and faster if you discipline yourself to determine if you are dealing with the MAN!
Prospects can buy, suspects can’t!!! If one of the three above are missing, you have a suspect.
DOUG DEVITRE, CSP
Doug Devitre is the author of Screen to Screen Selling: How to increase sales, productivity, and the customer experience with the latest technology (McGraw Hill October 2015). Awards include National Association of Realtors Business Specialties Hall of Fame and Entrepreneur of the Year from University of Missouri-Columbia, and Doug was also bestowed the top honor of Certified Speaking Professional Designation by the National Speakers Association.
“If you are looking to reduce travel time and in-person appearances but you want to create more impact with customers than using the phone, then it is worth your time to…”
Pursue the skills necessary to integrate web conference presentations into your sales process.
Most web conferencing software will offer online tutorials to help you make the most of their product’s capabilities. A salesperson can also get the skills needed from researching online, taking seminars, and getting coached.
According to the Association for Inside Sales Professionals Leadership Survey, the number one priority for sales managers in 2014 was training. And, according to their credential’s curriculum, training was lightest on web conferencing. Now is the time to get on the curve, before you are behind it.
There are a few key areas in which a salesperson should focus in order to up their web conferencing skills.
Consulting with Visuals
Examine whether your presentation slides are prescriptive or diagnostic. Remote sales presentations delivered with bulleted slides in a linear order – like a webinar – miss the mark. This prescriptive approach assumes the customer needs to know what the salesperson knows in order to make the sale. However, real customers have real problems and need their questions answered now, not five slides later. To remedy this, first ask the customer for permission to initiate a conversation with screen share enabled. Then when complex problems need to be simplified visually, insert a visual (slide) on to the shared screen that summarizes the options for the customer to consider. This way you are only bringing up the slides that compliment the natural course of your conversation. You’ll find you won’t use half of the slide deck but rather will use images that speak exclusively to your customer’s needs. Not only does it customize your presentation but also saves valuable time for both people involved.
Most web conference tools such as Zoom.us or Join.me are equipped with a whiteboard feature. If not, download Doceri Desktop (iPad) which will overlay your desktop and mirror on your customer’s device screen when the screen share feature is activated. (Think of it like John Madden’s telestrator over a football game.) Confirm questions, affirm answers, and suggest next steps based on what is best for them while making annotations on visuals. This “back of the napkin” way of problem solving is customer-centric because you not only created it with them in real time, but more importantly it demonstrates that you are closely listening to their wishes and understanding what is in their best interests.
Make it Easy for Your Customer
The best trained customers are the most profitable. Why? Because you repeatedly save time for them — and yourself — by becoming more efficient in explaining and understanding advanced concepts, eliminating rework of documents that come from simple misunderstandings, and increasing ease for your customer to buy again. Web conference tools have a feature that allows you to create a PDF document of the annotations on presentation visuals, websites, and other learning aids discussed during the conversation. This PDF of screenshots and next steps should be included in your follow up email so that your customer can better remember details, revisit information quickly, and ultimately increase the likelihood they will take action.
Customers are demanding a more personalized experience that solves their specific issues in the shortest amount of time possible. Sure, there are barriers to adapting to new technology and, like anything new, it poses some possible irritants along the way. However, much like the customer has a choice of who they do business with, you have a choice whether you are going to adapt to emerging technology in order to get your clients the clear answers they need, when they need them, or wager the costs of doing business as usual.
SPENCER X. SMITH
Spencer X. Smith is a former VP of Sales at a Fortune 100 company turned digital marketing entrepreneur. He teaches business planning and Internet marketing classes at the University of Wisconsin and has conducted over 3,000 in-person sales meetings.
“There are several top sales strategies I recommend to land and close deals faster…”
There’s a fine line between being a pest and being a stranger when it comes to follow-up. How often do you contact the prospect after you deliver your proposal? What do you say? If you follow an effective sales process you’ll land and close deals faster, but what does that process look like?
Here’s what not to do – use email subject lines like “Following Up,” “Touching Base,” or “Checking In.” Aren’t those just more polite ways to ask, “Want to buy my stuff?”
Instead, follow-up messages should fall under two specific categories: training and social proof.
Since your potential customers will almost never have the industry knowledge you do, follow-up with them by offering guidance first. The more training you can provide, the more they’ll trust you. Instead of crafting one-off emails, send resources your company already has (articles, recorded webinars, training videos, etc.) so your prospects can learn on their own time without taking any of yours. Think to yourself, “Will this follow-up message help my customer make a better buying decision?”
Use your follow-up calls and emails to share success stories with your potential customers. Instead of sharing what’s important to YOU, though (you just closed a big new account or client), share the problems you’ve been solving for your customers. What issues did they have that you helped fix? If testimonials aren’t available or can’t be used in your industry, just use anecdotal evidence instead. Think to yourself, “Will this follow-up message help my customer feel good about making this decision?”
DREW STEVENS, PH.D.
Drew Stevens works with sales professionals and their teams that struggle and transforms them into wealthy professionals. He is the author of 8 books including Split Second Selling and Selling the New Norm and is currently working on Million Dollar Sales Ideas.
“To increase sales and close more deals, it is more important that…”
You and the buyer are equals. This is important because any other relationship makes you nothing more than a vendor to the buying organization. When this occurs you not only subordinate your position to the buyer but to the entire relationship. If you don’t think that’s true then it will be interesting to see how you respond to the following set of questions.
If you have had specific answers to these questions then your position has been subordinated and you are not a buyer peer. When you are a peer of the buyer they look to you for advisory services and think of you as a colleague that is there to help them with competitive positioning or even a revenue problem. Buyer peers look at each other as equals not as transactional vendors.
Ross Simmonds the founder of Foundation (content consulting & creation),Hustle & Grind (subscription service for entrepreneurs), and Crate (content marketing software – beta). A Digital Marketing Consultant who has worked with Fortune 500 brands along with some of the fastest growing technology startups, Simmonds is the author of two books: Stand Out (Content Guide For Entrepreneurs) and Hustle Manifesto (How To Escape The 9 to 5). He’s also an avid writer and thought leader on business.
“We live in the information age. One of the most overlooked yet powerful parts of the selling process is…”
Lead nurturing. The ability to nurture a lead prior to going in for the sale can help speed up the process when it’s time to sell.
Make an effort to ensure that the information you share on social media is relevant to your target audience and relevant to your industry. If you’re working in healthcare, you want your clients to believe that you’re not only a trustworthy sales professional but also someone who understands the healthcare industry. A tool like Crate will help you find content worth sharing so you can establish that trust early on so when it’s time to close, the rapport has already been established.
Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO of LiveHive, Inc., whose sales acceleration platform empowers sales leaders with deep buyer-based engagement analytic insights into sales team effectiveness. Suresh has over 20 years of operations and senior management experience in the software industry, including serving as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software.
“One of the best strategies for accelerating sales and closing deals faster is…”
Emerging sales acceleration technologies can help sales teams hone in on the best opportunities faster, increase quality connects, and speed the sales cycle. Using these types of tools, companies are experiencing up to a 30% increase in their quality connects. Research has also found that these types of tools, which integrate buyer-based engagement analytics and advanced automation, can shorten sales cycles up to 18%.
Sales acceleration tools give teams more time in the day to focus on building sales relationships through automated capabilities, such as email sequencing, group email, and sales templates. Email sequencing allows you to build and test a process for speeding up prospecting and qualification so that teams can spend more time on closing. These tools also leverage powerful behavioral analytics to give sales teams deep and real-time engagement insights. So sales teams can quickly and easily reach out to hundreds, even thousands, of prospects with a single click – yet get engagement insights based on individual prospect interactions. They can see in real-time how a prospect engages with their content – from opening an email to clicking on a link or an attachment or how long they view a particular page in a document.
These types of tools let sales people focus their time on the most engaged prospects and not waste time on prospects who aren’t interested. Furthermore, they help sales people understand how and when to follow up, so they can refine their outreach based on a prospects’ interests and interest level.
Alex Berman is the Chief Marketing Sumo for InspireBeats and is responsible for generating over $12 million dollars in B2B leads this year. He and the team at InspireBeats have sent over 1 million cold emails to funded startups and software as a service companies in the last two years.
“To accelerate sales and close more deals, sales organizations should…”
Have a buy button on the site and direct customers to it on the call. We run a lead generation company for startups – which means the customers we talk to are usually founders and have buying power. What we found out is when they say, “I have to talk with my team,” or, “Give me a few days to think about it,” they’re usually just making excuses. Once we implemented a buy now button for all of our B2B packages and started pointed customers to it directly on the call, our time from initial contact to close went down from two weeks, to same day – very good for an B2B sale.
Alin Cruz is the VP of Franchise Development for 911 Restoration.
“The best advice I have for sales professionals seeking to accelerate sales is…”
Don’t make sales – make friends! No one wants to be sold to, but everyone wants to be appreciated and that’s what friends are for. Making a sale to a friend is easier than making a sale to a stranger, and so closing deals quicker means becoming friends sooner and stronger than you would otherwise.
Xand is the Brand Evangelist on the PeopleMetrics Marketing and Sales team. When she’s not talking about customer experience, Xand is playing with her two dogs and planning road trips along the east coast.
“To close deals faster, sales professionals should…”
Set up a system that will trigger a feedback opportunity during an important part of your sales process. This way, a buyer will be able to let you know how they feel about the deal in an online space, and not face to face. You’ll be able to differentiate yourself from other sellers by providing a method of feedback and being able to act on it. Seven in 10 buyers have never been asked for feedback on the sales experience. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those people who hadn’t been asked said they would definitely or likely respond. This means that you can let your buyer know that not only during this sales process will they be listened to and taken care of, but well into the client experience. If someone responds positively, all is well – keep going, and maybe even speed up the process. If someone responds negatively, you have a chance to fix a problem right away and close that deal faster.
Haroon Ahmad is the Director of Public Relations at JotForm, a popular online form-building tool based in San Francisco. Its simple drag-and-drop interface along with conveniently sortable submission data allows you to create forms and analyze data without writing a single line of code.
“As the Director of Public Relations at JotForm, I need to make sure I’m being effective with my time. A few strategies I use to close deals faster include…”
Knowing who the decision maker is. Instead of wasting time and energy pitching to the wrong person, I find out who the decision maker is and put all my efforts into creating the best-case scenario to close a deal.
Another strategy is being honest with potential partners and/or clients. You want to convey to the client that you care about their business and not just the deal that can take place. The more honest you are, the more likely the client will want to work with someone they trust.
And finally, the last strategy I would recommend is be informed and educated on your competition. When you’re going in to close a deal, you want to know what your competitors are offering, and how your offer is better than theirs. This is a simple study, and can end a potential sale — so don’t blow it.
Tim Robertson RGD has worked in international agencies such as Great North Communications and MarchFirst in Chicago, and BCG in Toronto, for major brands such as Bell, Bacardi, Audi, Novartis, and SC Johnson. His technology background includes the social media technology startup Jugnoo.
“When you need to accelerate sales and close more deals…”
A few years ago I was introduced to a new technology that had a lot of potential. It was a business solution for newspapers that were stuck with declining fortunes. It helped them increase advertising revenues in an era of shrinking profits. The director of digital ad sales at the San Jose Mercury News came up with a very innovative idea.
Because newspapers had local sales agents who knew their market very well, he set up a daily deal program much like Groupon, only for his own paper. The program he created, called the Mercury News Daily Deal, gave local businesses a daily deal in the newspaper combined with digital coupons online. This innovation boosted advertising revenues for the paper by over $150,000 per month.
News of his success spread through the industry, and in a matter of months several technology companies in the U.S. sprang up with online platforms that would allow media companies to create their own Daily Deal. My plan was to bring this technology solution to Canada. I contacted the best solution provider and made a deal with them.
My next challenge was one many business owners face: How was I to reach the prospects I needed to get in front of? For one, I had worked in the technology sector for many years and did not have any connections in media companies, let alone newspapers. As well, newspapers are old and established industries, making them seem even harder to penetrate with a new idea.
It seems like every day there is another social media, content marketing, or other lead generation strategy for reaching key prospects. But there are three major forces changing the market:
First, it’s getting more expensive to invest the time necessary to make a lot of these methods worthwhile.
Second, when someone is looking for a solution to an urgent problem, they may have already searched, but not found, what you have to offer. And third, technology is getting in the way of the personal contact that closes deals.
I discovered a very effective way to reach out to executives in that industry. It uses something that is very basic to human nature: the power of curiosity, and the allure of having a solution to a very pressing problem in the palm of your hands.
I created a letter campaign that did three things: One, the letter got across the benefit I was offering right away. Two, it addressed a problem that was keeping the CEO up at night. And three, it facilitated a phone meeting without anyone feeling imposed upon or “sold” to.
I delivered my letter to the publishers of Sun Media, Postmedia, CTV, Intercontinental, and other media companies across Canada, about 10 in all.
Two days later I had the Publisher of Sun Media interested and on the phone, the VP of Sales at the Chronicle Herald taking my call “because my boss told me this was important,” the Digital VP at the Winnipeg Free Press contacting me to set up a meeting, and the CEO of Postmedia Network, personally picking up the phone and calling me directly.
In another venture, I needed to connect with one of Canada’s top “Profit 100” technology companies. We were looking to set up a distribution deal to export technology to the Middle East. I used the same campaign again. Four months later we were in the boardroom of major banks in Dubai and Kuwait with the new technology offering in hand.
Victor Clarke is the owner of Clarke, Inc. He has successfully evolved the company from an offset printer to a marketing services provider. In his spare time Victor officiates high school football and lacrosse and is the bass player in the Barleydogs cover band.
“B2B sales can be lucrative to a salesperson and their company, but it’s not just about making the sale. In B2B selling it’s the…”
Relationship you have to win first, and you may have to think outside the box to succeed. Here are six sales strategy examples that can boost your closing rate. Apply all of them and you’ll have a powerful system.
Sixty percent (60%) of a buyer’s decision is made before they will officially reach out to a sales representative. If you want to connect with them earlier in their “journey” (which is very advisable because it will make the deal easier to close) you cannot start off with a sales conversation. Instead you want to be a resource and help the buyer fully understand their challenge or opportunity to be addressed. They will talk about symptoms and you can share what you’ve seen or experienced in their industry. This helps you gain trusted advisor status and can set you up for referrals.
The Marketing Benchmark report by Marketing Sherpa found as many as 61 percent of B2B marketers sent leads to salespeople without any qualification. This means a lot of time is wasted by salespeople writing emails and making phone calls. Cold calling, or even cool calling is practically futile unless you apply strategy #6.
Instead you should have a documented description of a sales qualified lead. List the indicators that say a lead is sales ready. A solid marketing system can send you good leads, but only if the system understands what you are looking for. If you don’t have structured marketing support, use strategy #1. You’ll never sell to another unqualified lead again.
If everyone gains from the sale, it is easier to close deals. It also extends the length of the relationship. Look for ways you can apply win-wins regularly with customers and prospects.
It’s one thing to be an expert in what you are selling; it’s another thing entirely to relay the value of a service or product to a potential buyer. In B2B the bottom line is what really matters. You have to understand their goals, challenges, plans, and timeline in order to position your services as a solution. In many cases an analysis stage in your sales process is necessary to demonstrate how far the prospect is off in their status quo. Use an evidence based sales-pitch and build a case for what’s possible in their organization.
Buyers these days are a lot more picky about who they listen to in a B2B context. The expectation is you have researched their industry and business, and can speak directly to their interests. Once you’ve got their ear, they are more willing to listen to a sales presentation. If you gain adviser status they will even ask you to help them make important decisions. The biggest factor is timing. Watch for events that might trigger their willingness to modify their outsourcing. These include changes in their organization, pivotal events, and situations that impact their clientele.
If you do what you say and follow-up, you’ll close more deals. It can only be accomplished through discipline, using a process, and the support of technology. If you aren’t using a customer relationship management system (CRM), then get one. It’s critical for tracking conversations and setting up reminders for yourself to take action. If the timing is not right for your prospect, get permission to follow up. Use calendar invitations for meetings to ensure they aren’t forgotten. Send follow-up emails the day of the conversation. Always be on the lookout for a helpful blog post or ebook that you can send their way to maintain your adviser status.
In the B2B world, transactional sales tactics don’t apply. It’s often about going the extra mile and exceeding rather than meeting expectations. Protect your reputation by applying these sales strategies and examples, and you’ll succeed in B2B sales indefinitely.
Chris Leavitt is one of the top brokers at Douglas Elliman, the largest real estate company on the East Coast. Now with nearly 20 years in luxury real estate, Chris consistently proves to be an exemplary broker and boasts an impressive record of success in both the South Florida and New York City markets.
“Real estate is all about landing and closing deals, so I’ve developed several strategies that I rely on to accelerate sales…”
Whether it’s a multi-million dollar luxury condo in Palm Beach or a one bedroom studio apartment in the middle of nowhere, I’ve found myself utilizing a series of strategies that have helped me lead a very successful career in the real estate business. Here are a few that I absolutely live by.
Make Sure Everyone Is On The Same Page
I’ve seen too many deals fall through because of a serious lack of communication between brokers, potential buyers and sellers. In order to land and close a deal with maximum efficiency, it’s absolutely vital that everyone is up-to-speed. A lot of clients have a large team to handle different areas of the home-buying process, and the only way to have everything run smoothly is if there’s constant communication between all invested parties.
Know Your Seller
The first thing I always strive to find out is why exactly the seller wants to sell their property. If I know the motivation behind selling, I’m confident I can negotiate a better deal. No one knows the property better than the person selling it and sometimes it takes some legwork to get to the bottom of everything. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper when it comes to your deals. It will help you in the long run. I guarantee it.
Don’t Rush Things
I feel there’s sometimes this desire to land and close deals as quickly as possible without conducting due diligence. Rushing through deals is not the same as being efficient. In my experience, it only creates more complications down the line, so really the best way to land and close deals faster is by slowing down and making sure you have all your bases covered.
Avoid Stress at All Costs
In the real estate business, and all business really, stress always lurks on the horizon. It can be overwhelming and has the potential to hinder any deal you might be in the middle of. Overall, the most important sales strategy to land and close deals is to stay calm. Find an outlet that you love and treat yourself. I consider myself a spa connoisseur and have to take weekly trips or else I can’t perform my job to the best of my abilities. It’s hard sometimes to take a step back to relax a bit, but it will ignite a flame within you to help close whatever deal you’re working on.
Executive Coach, Author, Professional Extraordinaire, Chavaz is a referral-only Speaker and Executive Consultant who has worked with companies in the private and public sectors, including the leadership of Fortune 200 Companies.
Multimillion dollar corporations’ executives know Chavaz as their go-to person because he provides individual attention, unyielding commitment to excellence, and an unprecedented level of integrity.
As an author and speaker, Chavaz is known to stand firmly as one who simplifies complex professional problems and personal issues, using a “put it in layman’s terms” style that has been praised by scores of employees, entrepreneurs, and executives.
He has provided managerial development material as well as work-life balance text to leadership of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) as well as the US News & World Report 2013 top ten pediatric health specialty facility, the Children’s Mercy organization. In addition to being a catalyst for corporate success, Chavaz has a passion for the arts and community enrichment.
“Sales professionals are so busy learning how to ask open ended questions that they neglect…”
Mastering the ‘Art of Implication Questions.’
Sales professionals can use Implication Questions to probe for the consequences of the potential client’s problem. This positions the sales professional to present themselves or their product as the solution. Implication questions helps you to pin point the point of dissatisfaction: the customer’s answer to your implication questions is how they tell you where it hurts, in their own words. You can also use Implication Questions to search out the general difficulty the customer is feeling. Use questions such as, “When your equipment breaks or is inconsistent, how does that effect your employees?” or, “When this particular equipment stalls, does that create work backlogs that cause employees to go into overtime; does that increase your payroll costs?”
When a potential client answers your implication questions s/he should have an eye opening experience of how great the problem, if left unsolved, could be; your job then is to provide the solution.
Jason Parks is a proud Buckeye and the owner of The Media Captain, a digital marketing agency based in Columbus. Jason has been featured in the New York Times, Inc., Yahoo News, Search Engine Watch, and Entrepreneur.com. Jason has also assisted in launching successful digital campaigns for Fortune 500 brands along with local, family-owned companies that have gained national attention.
“One of the most effective strategies for accelerating sales and closing deals is…”
After I speak with a prospective client and they are interested in our services, I send them a personalized card in the mail through Postable.
To create and send the card online takes me less than five minutes and costs less than $3.50.
The personalized touch is always appreciated by the potential client and has led to a drastic increase in closing the deal for me.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation – a document filing service that helps entrepreneurs and business owners to incorporate and form LLCs. Deborah is an attorney and formerly practiced law in the area of corporate law and intellectual property. She purchased the company out from Intuit back in 2009 and now has become a successful entrepreneur. She is the mom of two and loves working with entrepreneurs on a regular basis.
“One of our best sales tips for closing deals faster is to…”
Make product/service suggestions to customers in our normal course of communication. When we communicate with clients about current orders, or requests (even customer service issues), we add a sentence or two about other ways we can help them. So, for example, when we incorporate a new business, we not only answer the clients pending question, but we also let them know that we can help the client with their annual filing or Tax ID. This is a great way to get the client thinking about other services we offer about which they might not have known. It is also a good way to add value and establish our company as a trusted advisor by suggesting services the client might need in the future. Natural suggestions of product offerings (not a hard sell) during standard customer service communications can be a great way to increase company sales and improve our close time.
Jonathan Farah is a relatively new entrepreneur with a career focus in digital marketing. He is a founding partner of techallstarz.com and thecryptostore.com and marketing director of Encrypted Labs.
“The best sales strategies for accelerating sales and closing deals I’ve learned from my years of experience in sales and sales cycle architecting…”
EDUCATION. A large difference between the old and new sales strategy lies heavily in educating potential leads. The older way of selling consisted mostly of scare tactics and over complicated terminology to convince a lead they were unknowledgeable and needed your help. Depending on your market these tactics would go one of three ways.
1.) Immediate sale out of fear.
2.) Consideration and sale later (4-6 week).
3.) Angered and offended lead = no sale.
We have torn this approach apart and reconfigured it by leveraging resources available to us today. By providing educational content throughout blogs, social accounts, and videos, we have the ability to capture inbound clients who are looking for answers. This increased inbound focus allows our sales team to focus on leads who know they need our help and, therefore, increase the sale to contact ratio.
I compare these two approaches in a simple way: sale by standoff vs. sale by steak dinner.
Jim Herst is the CEO of Perceptive Selling Initiative, Inc. and helps businesses build sales and accelerate cash flow.
“The best sales strategy for accelerating sales and closing deals is…”
Strategic prospecting, which generates self-identifying buyers. This enables receptive presentations (face-to face, mail, electronic, or whatever). The ratio of closes is greatly increased and the time saved is significant. Various methods of such prospecting are available.
Patrick Bedford is the COO for WatchesOnNet.com.
“Sales effectiveness is dependent on…”
Being a good salesperson, which is all about excellence in four key areas:
John Vespasian is the author of seven books about rational living, including When everything fails, try this, (2009), Rationality is the way to happiness(2009), The philosophy of builders: How to build a great future with the pieces from your past (2010), The 10 principles of rational living (2012), Rational living, rational working: How to make winning moves when things are falling apart(2013), Consistency: The key to permanent stress relief (2014), and On becoming unbreakable: How normal people become extraordinarily self-confident (2015).
“There are three top strategies I recommend to close deals faster…”
Too many sales are lost because salespersons do not bother to follow up on prospects that do not fit their ideal customer profile. This is a major mistake. If someone shows interest in your product you should follow up properly on that lead, even if the person looks too young, or too old, or too poor, or too whatever. A good salesman should follow up every lead and try to close every sale. Do not rely too much on predictive statistics about a mythical ideal customer. Customers are defined by their buying behavior, not by their demographic profile.
A good salesperson does not have downtime. He does not have any time of the working day when he is not directly or indirectly trying to close a sale, making a sales presentation, or following up on a sales lead. Working time is working time. Use it wisely to maximize your results, and do not waste a minute on empty talk, braggadocio, and gathering useless information. It is up to you to reduce your unproductive time to a minimum, preferably to zero.
Comparisons tend to be psychologically destructive more often than not. Each individual has different background, experience, and motivation, and it does not make any sense to undermine your self-confidence by comparing yourself constantly with people who are more successful than you are. Instead, you should try to learn as much as you can, and see how you can improve your sales performance. The best approach is to compare your achievements today with the much greater achievements that you expect to attain in the future.
Kayla Ethan works at Rebateszone and has written articles on major media outlets like Huffington Post and Lifehack. In her spare time, she loves to rock climb and snowboard.
“There is never a single strategy that contributes to an effective sale, but a combination of best practices. However, the most important thing in making a successful sale is…”
Not selling the product, but selling a solution.
Customers will be fascinated by what you are offering and will make all the right sounds, delaying endlessly in the process, but the truth is that they will not buy it unless they feel an urgent need for it. This is even more so when dealing with companies. The whole process is likely being monitored by a bench full of old people who did not make the company successful by going on spending sprees.
So, if there was one thing that I would tell anyone to focus on, then it would be to make the company/person feel the need of what you are selling.
Sean Tepper is the author of Earn More, Work Less, Live Free which teaches entrepreneurs, business leaders, and business professionals how to generate more revenue and profit in less time. He has been a business consultant for 10 years, serving small businesses on up to Fortune 100 companies.
“The single most effective sales closing strategy I have used in my later years as a consultant, has allowed me to consistently close over 50% of my leads into paying customers. That closing strategy is what I like to call…”
Here is how this strategy is quickly implemented. Most prospects are somewhat hesitant and nervous to see the price within a proposal. This is natural. Sticker shock, especially for high priced services such as consulting, can be intimidating. The objective is to soften the price and make that price far less intimidating. More importantly, the value needs to be displayed in a way that overshadows the price. In other words, the value needs to trump the price so the price becomes a non-issue.
With Price Juxtapositioning, I create a price table or chart with three columns. Column A is the line item description, Column B is the Value, and Column C is the price. Column A and Column C should be in black text. Column B should be in gray text so it is visible but does not stand out, over and above Column C. I will list every request from the prospect first and then list value-add services thereafter. These value-adds should be highly valuable and easy for you to implement. You will need to explain the benefits of implementing these value-adds now, with the total service offering.
Provide reasoning on why they compliment the requested services and what the impact will be on the prospect. These value adds should be added at a significant discount and in some cases, at no additional charge. You will also need to explain why they are a lower cost. In my case, I explain that these solutions have already been developed. We spent our own time and money, up front, to create a solution this is easy to implement in your business and has proved to be effective for businesses like yours.
Overall, the value column should add up to be a substantially higher number than the price column. This clearly shows the prospect all services (or products) they are receiving, at a much more reasonable price.
Erik Luhrs is “The Bruce Lee of Sales and Lead Generation.” He is the creator of The GURUS Selling System, author of BE DO SALE, and the ONLY expert in the world on Subconscious Lead Generation, and Persona-Positioning! Erik is a Master Practitioner of NLP and certified in The Silva Method and Accelerated Learning. And he has been featured by Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Fox Business News, Selling Power, and Chief Executive.
“Depending upon tricks or tactics at the end of a sales process is…”
Too little, too late.
In order to get more deal opportunities and close them faster the most important step is to focus on what comes before the prospect is in the pipeline: lead generation and positioning.
Positioning, if done well, pre-frames your company/product/service in the mind of the market. This bypasses a lot of the pointless value building that salespeople try to do later.
Lead generation, if done well, connects with the prospect at a subconscious level and immediately drives attention and response.
Basically, well executed positioning and lead generation create the impulse to buy, then sales simply ties up the loose ends and signs papers.
Aleksandar Bibovski is a co-founder of KickAssGrowth, a growth hacking consulting agency that helps startups and well-established companies achieve rapid and sustainable growth.
“For us the best strategy to accelerate sales is to…”
Start with asking for the client’s expertise on something, then give something for free and follow-up. After follow-up we over-deliver and give them unforgettable customer support. Repeating this process bring us more than 100 satisfied clients in six months.
JAMES A. GARDNER
James A. Gardner leads client development efforts from Boston for Connective DX, a digital experience agency. He started his career with P&G before graduating from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Since then, James has served clients with McKinsey & Company, led complex digital projects with Boston-area agencies, and built several high-performing marketing teams.
“The most effective strategy for accelerating sales and closing deals is…”
If you’re doing your job as a client development professional properly – that is, you’re matching your product or service’s benefits with real and pressing needs where there’s compelling value being created – then accelerating win-win deals is easy: simply ask. That’s right: ask them directly how you can collaborate to close their purchase as quickly and painlessly as possible. By asking, you can remind your prospects that the sooner negotiating and contracting get wrapped up, the sooner work together can get underway, and the sooner they’ll start realizing the upside of their purchase. If you find your deals dragging on and on, ask yourself if you’re creating value for your clients and successfully communicating it in a way that’s exciting and motivating. Chances are, you’re not.
Adam Honig is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro, a personal sales assistant app that helps salespeople make more money. Throughout his career, Adam has gained experience at every level of a sales organization – from a salesperson to VP of Sales at a company he co-founded and helped take public.
“The best sales strategy for landing or closing deals faster is to…”
Kill more opportunities.
That might sound counter-intuitive, but maintaining fewer deals in the pipeline enables a salesperson to form high quality relationships with a few people, instead of low quality relationships with many. If you’re working too many deals, you can spread yourself thin and hurt your close rate. If you suspect some prospects aren’t a good fit or are dragging you along, move on.
Christian Habermann is the founder of Auctus Marketing which is one of Boston’s top SEO & Digital agencies. Prior to Auctus, he co-founded Goji.com which was listed on the Inc. 500 List 3 years in a row and has been one of the fastest growing online auto insurance sites in the country.
“Over the years, I have learned that the best way to speed the close of a deal is…”
Via trust. During the course of a sale, one of the most important elements and perhaps the most important is to prove to your prospect that you are indeed the best person for this job. I have found that by sharing examples of past success stories, offering access to current clients, and providing your prospect with a detailed plan which illustrates the value of your service/product and why it’s second to none gets your prospect in the door quicker. I have relied on this for years and simply never offer those end-of-the-month discounts to close a deal which I find really diminish perceived value.
Beth Bridges is the Vice President of Digital Identity and full-on marketing technology geek at J – I.T. Outsource, a managed I.T. services and digital development firm in California.
“The single most effective sales strategy to close deals faster is…”
To have a powerful marketing strategy that enhances your reputation, builds trust, and gives value to a prospect before the sales team ever reaches out to them.
Kornel Kurtz serves as President and CEO of WebTek, a web design and internet marketing company located in Central PA. He serves as lead Sales Consultant and works on his company to test and measure the most effective sales and marketing strategies.
“To close deals faster and increase sales…”
We work from a targeted list of prospects that we really feel we can help with our services by doing some preliminary due diligence. Since we are in the website design/development field, we start by evaluating their website to see if it accurately depicts the desired image. We also evaluate if we feel it is converting visitors to leads the way it should. If it doesn’t, we add them to our target list.
We then work through our list and send them a well-written email briefly describing what we found and how we can help. We conclude by saying if they prefer us NOT to call them next week, to let us know. Otherwise, we look forward to talking with them. They will then receive a follow-up phone call. This way we have found that it is not a surprising cold call, which often gets rejected. Rather, it’s a setup with a warm introduction email. If we can get our foot in the door, I believe we can educate prospects on where they are lacking and what they need to improve their bottom line and get a strong ROI. This seems to work very well for our company.
Sean Higgins is the co-founder at ilos Videos. You don’t need to be first: Microsoft didn’t make the first OS or word processor, Apple didn’t make the first mobile device. You need to be better, 10x better, to help the customer in a way that matters.
“The key to closing deals faster is to have…”
A strong ‘why buy now.’
The ‘why buy now’ is the reason your customer needs your product. It can save them time, money, whatever. You just need to clearly be able to demonstrate real value. A plea of, “Think of how much this will save you,” isn’t convincing anyone. Step one is make sure you have a strong ‘why buy now.’
Step two is making use of exploding offers. Exploding offers are deals, discounts, or extra features/benefits that you can throw in if a customer can move quickly. The customer already needs to be interested in getting your product for this to work. Use this in situations where your decision maker is dragging his heels.
Gina Estrada is a registered representative who offers securities through AXA Advisors, LLC (NY, NY 212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC, and is an agent who offers annuity and insurance products through AXA Network, LLC and/or its insurance agency subsidiaries.
“I have a few strategies I use to keep from dragging out the sales process…”
I believe the biggest time saver is not to present to non-decision makers!!
Mike Williams has been starting and running sales organizations for 25 years. He currently runs the Indianapolis operation of Security Pros, a regional Electronic Security company in the U.S. Midwest.
“No matter what your product or service is, the only way to close deals faster (in the B-to-B world) is to…”
Demonstrate how much money your customer isn’t getting until they implement your deal.
While the return on investment (ROI) discussion can seem uninteresting, it is your job to make things more exciting. If you sell production equipment to manufacturing companies, talk about the increase in ship-able product that will result from your deal, and express it in dollars: After our gear is in place, you will be shipping $2,400 more product per day. There is a version of this no matter what you’re selling; if your customers are retailers it might be weekly sales that they aren’t getting today that will start as soon as your deal is done. If you sell broadcast media airtime, the calculation should include the dollars they are wasting on whatever failed advertising they currently pay, plus the increased sales (in gross margin $/day, month, etc.) that will come to them only when the deal is done.
If (and only if) the customer agrees to this analysis, you can point out the penalty for waiting. Don’t be shy about putting this in dollar terms and hammering the customer on magnitude. “We can do the deal next month if you prefer, but at $60/day you will be cutting this month’s profits by $1,800. That’s more than enough monthly for you and your wife each to be driving a brand new Lexus.”
Eric Berggren, Managing Director of Axios Partners, leads clients to innovate and manage their customer value for revenue and profit growth. His approach consistently generates tangible results highlighted in Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and popular business books. Eric lectures on B2B marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and is published in Kellogg on Integrated Marketing, among other publications.
“To accelerate sales and close more deals, sales representatives should…”
Bring information that makes your buyers more confident in their decisions. Package that information to enable your buyers to get credit for that good decision within their own organizations. The challenge is that the most effective information depends on how the buyer views your product or service.
Strategic buys: If the buyer views your product as a strategic purchase and sees that their alternatives are highly differentiated in their performance, calculate the value of your offering relative the buyer’s next best alternative to your offering in dollars and cents. While your buyers may understand how your product outperforms the competition, they often don’t know what impact those differences have on their bottom line. Why? Because gathering the data is time consuming and hard to validate without first-hand experience with each alternative. Vendors who build credible customer value models and share those results with customers shorten sales cycles and improve their win rates. When sharing those results, put your buyer’s name on the cover of the value calculator report so they can use it within their own organization to sell on your behalf and get credit for the incremental revenue and cost savings that your offering delivers.
Non-strategic buys: While your product may be strategic to you, it may not be strategic to your customer’s business. If your buyer doesn’t consider your offering to be strategic to their business or your offering has very little differentiation from the competition, buyers don’t want to spend the time to do a full value assessment. In these cases, the buyer wants a justifier or compelling proof of some meaningful difference with value that is self-evident. Here you don’t need to calculate the monetary value specifically for this customers, but rather share specific examples proving that similar companies experienced the value. We call this sales collateral justifier case histories.
The key is to match the right type of information with how the buyer wants to evaluate an offering and sharing it in a form that makes it easier for your buyer to use internally. Think of the sales process as helping your buyer succeed within their organization.
Patrick Sprouse, President of Autus, has over a decade of experience in the commercial real estate sector. Mr. Sprouse has held numerous positions in commercial brokerage, real estate technology and executive operations on regional, multi-market and national scales. Currently Mr. Sprouse is providing management and technology consulting service for a private real estate services company based in Washington, DC with over $1.5 billion in 2015 revenue. Mr. Sprouse has an extensive background in business management, sales engineering, project management, software selection and business analysis as well as organizational change and brand management.
“When implementing a sales strategy to land and close deals faster, first it is important to…”
Understand the difference between strategy and tactics. Often salespeople and sales managers mistake tactics for strategies. Examples of tactics could be utilizing proven objection countering scripts, or making sure you ask for the sale 100% of the time. A strategy is more global in nature, and helps to create situations in which you can utilize those tactics. An example of a strategy may be enhancing lead generating and marketing in a specific vertical or demographic that has a high close ratio or a higher revenue per transaction average.
One of the best strategies to land and close deals is utilizing customer/client segregation. This requires quality data about your customers and the larger market. And it also allows you to go after similar groups of customers with pitches, hooks, and solutions that make sense for those customers coupled with focused marketing (opposed to broad campaigns). Many businesses are already employing these strategies – too often informally and on the ground level. Utilizing enterprise and company-wide data to better focus sales and marketing teams – specifically, getting front-line sales team member input on these customer groups and the data – will bear fruit.
One of my clients recently purchased a company that had been family run. The price setting and strategies had been top down for many years, and while the owners had been looking at sales data they weren’t utilizing their front-line team’s knowledge. When the acquisition was complete, my client interviewed the front-line staff he had retained in order to set his sales strategies. From utilizing front-line input and marrying that with the data and customer groups, he found that price elasticity was high and he could reduce marketing costs slightly while refocusing some of the marketing channels and raise prices without any impact on sales. By the end of the first quarter post acquisition, he had made a 33% return on about his $38 million investment. Of course this is anecdotal, but it is also emblematic of how even the right strategies utilizing input from all levels can indeed reap immediate benefits.
Tom LaVecchia is the Founder & President of X Factor Digital Marketing.
“To accelerate sales and close more deals, sales representatives can do several things…”
1) State the purpose of the meeting ahead of time so there are no surprises. “This is our third meeting regarding our proposal. My goal is to arrive at a decision point in order to move forward with the plan we discussed.”
2) Bring a printed version of the contract, PO, and Insertion Order at the meeting in order to get a signature.
3) Set a shot clock, “This price and/or terms are good until xxx, then they are off the table and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and we may not be able to furnish the same price / service that this deal represents.”
Mark Donnolo is managing partner of SalesGlobe and expert in bringing creative thinking to the sales process. He has also authored books on the subject: What Your CEO Needs to Know About Sales Compensation and The Innovative Sale.
“To win business, your company’s solution needs to…”
Solve the true customer challenge. Uncovering what that really is often requires some creative thinking. When a customer says they have one particular issue, think about what other elements might be feeding into that problem. Dig deeper to discern whether there are larger issues at play and understand what’s really critical to the solution.
Selling an innovative solution to a customer is powerful. It differentiates your business and solves the customer’s core challenges not just surface-level outcomes. To get a signed contract, however, follow these next strategies: co-developing the solution with the customer, getting buy-in at the highest level, accounting for change management, and listening to the end user.
Mike is a specialist in the field of business revenue improvement. He has taught his clients sales skills, sales management, customer service, and negotiating tactics for the last 22 years. He has helped hundreds of individuals and companies like IBM and P&G grow profits, sales, and select sales winners.
Michael Roth joined Sandler in 1992. As a Sandler client he successful used the Sandler System to grow his company 47% in a depressed economy.
“To close deals faster you need to use…”
A proven repeatable system, which has extremely high reliability. The Sandler Selling System can be simply explained in these seven steps:
Jordan is the Founder & CEO of CloserIQ, the sales recruiting platform for startups. His previous roles include Head of Analytics at PayPerks, Sales Manager at ZocDoc, and Trading Strategist at Bridgewater Associates. Jordan holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computer Science from MIT.
“Here are a few of my favorite strategies to close deals faster…”
A weekly team meeting can help managers ensure that reps’ sales activities and pipeline priorities are on track to produce target performance. If you have a longer deal cycle, you can do less frequent check-ins, but it’s important to build a habit of reviewing each individual rep’s KPIs. These meetings will help your team ingrain the intermediate goals they should keep front-of-mind at all times — and help you catch problems early.
As popularized by Predictable Revenue, segmenting the sales process into specialized roles (like a lead generator, a meetings coordinator, a closer, and an account manager) can help create more consistent and speedy results. After all, salespeople are more efficient if each rep is responsible for only one part of the sales process. This way, your reps can really master their domains. Plus, it will help you define super-targeted performance metrics and goals for each role.
Your quota period should be long enough that your reps are not constantly bouncing in and out of target range. But beyond that, make your quota time frame as short as possible — you want your reps to feel the right amount of oversight to motivate them to constantly hustle. Monthly, quarterly, and annual quota periods are fairly typical and can allow a rep to plan out their own strategy. If you’re using a quarterly or annual time frame, it’s probably worth considering the benefits of moving to monthly.
John Niggl is a salesperson at InTouch Manufacturing Services, a quality control firm in Shenzhen, China, where he has worked in sales and marketing for two years. Previously, Niggl worked in B2B, door-to-door sales selling office supplies on behalf of Quill.com and then selling electricity contracts for Liberty Power across Massachusetts, as well as in parts of New Hampshire, New York, and Maine.
“Salespeople need to be people people, there’s no doubt about that. A great salesperson can empathize with the prospect, understand their needs or troubles, and deliver their product or service as an effective solution. But the best elevator pitch in the world can’t hold a candle to…”
The pre-framing and rapport-building techniques of modern marketing. For the majority of successful businesses with an online presence, the sales process doesn’t begin with a cold call, a hand shake, or the exchange of business cards.
Instead, the sales process begins with GIVING – specifically, giving information and value to a prospect, without any sales pitch at all (at least not immediately). Many people might be familiar with the concept of long-form sales letters – those 5- to 10-page letters we used to get in the mail advertising a product.
But what we’ve seen in the last 10 to 15 years is a shift to web-based sales letters that don’t simply pitch a prospect with an offer. These successful sales letters instead feature FREE information that is highly targeted and helpful for potential buyers. By offering free advice that genuinely delivers value, prospects quickly begin to do two important things:
They begin to hold the salesperson or business delivering the information as an AUTHORITY in their industry, and they begin to TRUST that person or business.
And these are two of the most powerful effects in sales. If a salesperson can achieve these, they can land and close deals much faster.
As Zig Ziglar famously said, “People listen to those they like and buy from those they trust.”
Curtis Boyd is the CEO of a Los Angeles based Online Reputation Management company, Future Solutions Media. The company services over 900 customers nationwide.
“We’ve developed a sales strategy designed to land and close deals, as fast as humanly possible, and it’s effective because…”
Ely Delaney is also the author of Networking Tidbits: 25 Ways To Connect, Grow & Succeed Through Networking along with the the creator of the popular training course, “How To Become A Networking Rockstar To Grow Your
Business,” which has over 800 students in the course.
“The #1 way I’ve seen that we can shorten the sales process is probably one of the most simple you’ve heard…”
Give them what they want!
When I’m talking to a prospect, my goal to ask a lot of questions and frame my response to exactly what THEY actually said they want. It’s consultative selling. “Let’s put together the perfect package FOR YOU!”
This way, they are involved in the process. They love the idea of it. (It was their idea after all.)
They know exactly what they are getting.
I close 90% of my clients in the first meeting by designing the conversation this way. Those that don’t close here are usually not really ready and what they answered wasn’t what they actually wanted (e.g., confused and not actually serious prospects).
For those that don’t close I still follow up with but more in a “touching base and sharing” way. Not really pitching.
When they become ready, they reply back and we close the sale. If they don’t’ reply, I’m not worried about it.
Sarah Pike is a contributing content coordinator for CableTV.com and freelance writer. She loves traveling to far away places, user-friendly content, and all things Instagram.
“One of the best strategies we’ve discovered that helps to accelerate sales is…”
We’re always looking for new ways to close sales. We’re in an interesting spot since we sell services. Often if someone is thinking about buying cable or switching to a new provider, they’ll research multiple options. So there’s a good chance they’ll visit our site to see what options they have and then move on elsewhere to compare more options. One sales approach that has been successful for us in closing deals is retargeting ads. We’ll use both retargeting ads on other websites as well as Facebook ads. This serves as a visual reminder for consumers so if they move on after leaving our site, we have a better chance of bringing them back and making the sale.
Chris Huntley is the owner of Huntley Wealth Insurance and multiple websites, including Insurance Blog by Chris, a site that receives over 19,000 visitors per month and brings in 1,000 leads per month.
“In regard to accelerating sales and closing deals, my approach is…”
I am more of a rancher than a wrangler. A lot of salespeople put too much emphasis on the close. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I am an entrepreneur and closing is imperative…but long-standing relationships are the key. Aggressive tactics and shortsightedness can collapse even the best-laid plans.
My best piece of advice to close deals faster, would be to pinpoint a problem that you are going to solve for your target – then get in there and solve it! Not only will this increase your chances of closing the deal but you will cultivate relationships that stand the test of time. The key to a super successful business is not just the close – it’s retention and expansion, and at Huntley Wealth we never lose sight of this.
Landon Bennett was employee #5 at Rigor and leads the sales organization. He’s an entrepreneur at heart with a passion for solving strategic business problems, providing value, and supporting technology/business teams at enterprise web companies. Rigor is the fastest growing web performance & optimization company in the APM space and Atlanta’s #1 place to work!
“A sales strategy that is incredibly successful at Rigor is the…”
Land and expand model. In 2015, over 20% of our new ARR came from upgrades or expansions within current accounts, the majority of which were within the first six months after the initial contract. This has also led to negative net churn every year since we founded the company in 2011 (Rigor is also bootstrapped). Our web performance and optimization platform is most valuable to enterprise B2C publishers and e-commerce organizations. If you’re selling enterprise SaaS it can be difficult to round up all decision makers from multiple business units to close an enterprise-wide deal. Further, this will likely lengthen the sales cycle and leave the deal vulnerable to more roadblocks – decision makers leave, the company cuts back on a budget because of a poor earnings call, etc. Most line-of-business executives have their own budget. If you can close a smaller deal with one team, enable them to be successful with your product/service (client success), how much easier is it reach out to other business units with that message? They may even walk you in the door themselves (see Slack’s growth for reference).
Enterprise companies love scalable strategies and technologies because it enables improved context, communication, and visibility in decision making. In fact, most large organizations have a high ranking executive that is focused purely on scaling out new technology purchases to all relevant teams. It’s a mutually beneficial model. Land within one team, help them to be successful, and scale!
Tonni is a sales leader with an accomplished background as a top performing Account Executive. She directly contributed to the success of Pardot, a fast growing Marketing Automation company, that was acquired by ExactTarget and then by Salesforce. Tonni gained further experience and made her mark on two additional tech startups, PeopleMatter and SalesLoft. After participating in scaling the sales teams at 3 different startups, Tonni was brought on as the Director of Sales at Terminus, a B2B Account-Based Marketing company. She is driven by the opportunity to build a unique sales team, focused on showing value and building long-term relationships with buyers.
“The sales strategy which worked well for Terminus was…”
Account-based marketing. This involves a coordinated effort between the sales and marketing teams to align as one “smarketing” team. We sell an account-based marketing product, so we decided to drink our own champagne and actually structure all of our efforts in this manner. In just nine months Terminus was able to grow from $0- $1 Million in revenue using an ABM strategy which enabled us to close deals fast.
Here’s how we did it. We defined which accounts had the highest propensity to buy Terminus, used the account profile as the context to build personas for our target prospects, and then launched a multi-channel strategy which involved both sales and marketing using different activities to drive interest and engagement in those accounts.
Here’s an example: We ran a campaign to all video marketing companies because we have a customer in this category. We had marketing warm up these accounts with Terminus targeted display ads, a marketing email from our CMO, and a direct mail campaign. Then the sales development representatives (SDRs) took over and had a series of calls, emails and social touches which all had the same message: “Find out how X customer uses video content effectively in their Account-Based Marketing strategy.” This was relevant to the audience because they are video marketing companies and we cited a competitor of theirs. Lastly, mid-way through the campaign, we released a blog post (you could also do a webinar) on this topic that the SDR can share with the prospect. They would also get an email from marketing about this content. Ultimately, we drove the message home across a number of channels about how video marketing companies can be successful with account-based marketing with us doing ABM.
Being startup, we didn’t have the resources to completely define our entire TAM (total addressable market) which is the best way to build an ABM strategy, especially since we were still learning and tweaking our ideal account fit, a.k.a. an ideal customer profile (ICP), as we went, so instead we defined our best-fit accounts and then used “groups” to determine where to start our efforts. This practice is also known as “tiering” accounts. We defined our best-fit accounts, or Tier A, as B2B tech companies using Salesforce and a marketing automation platform with at least three marketers and 50-5000 employees. Then within this large group of companies we organized accounts into groups or “tiers” based on type to enable us structure a message that would be compelling and relevant to that audience.
Using a concentrated account strategy, we’re able to impact multiple decision makers in an account and reach them across as many channels as possible to be sure we get their attention. Then once we scheduled a meeting, we would continue to use our own product and other channels to share messaging with stakeholders in our accounts, based on where they are in the buying process. This helps to drive them through the funnel faster and contributed to our rapid growth.
Jennifer Brandenburg is Chief Revenue Officer for LiveHive, Inc. She has over 20 years of sales experience managing sales operations and growing sales organizations. She formerly served as regional VP, CRM OnDemand sales at Oracle Corporation, where she increased ASP by 100% and closed over $16 million in revenue annually.
“In today’s B2B sales landscape, to land and close deals faster you need…”
Sales analytics. Sales analytics make prospecting and qualification faster and more effective by letting sales reps prioritize opportunities, so your sales team doesn’t waste their time chasing down bad leads. Sales analytics give reps insight into prospect engagement, so they can also personalize and time their follow-up better. In addition, sales analytics give leaders greater insight into the team’s activities. I can quickly see if a rep has had the right level of engagement and – if not – identify what they’re not doing that they should be and coach them to success. Sales analytics help speed rep onboarding and coaching to accelerate processes and close faster.
Xavier Chng is co-founder of a team building company, Cohesion.sg, providing novel games such as Bubblesoccer, archery tag, and laser tag to corporate clients.
“In the midst of a fast changing business landscape, businesses are forced to adapt or be left behind. There are several techniques that I employ to close deals faster…”
Fastest fingers first. Be sure to reply your emails at lightning speed. Having a responsive business is the first step to closing deals faster.
Attention to details. Most businesses fail to solve problems that a customer needs to solve. Canned responses will not do the trick. The key to successfully close a deal is to identify the problems and help a customer solve them. This requires time, effort, and experience to reply in a manner that is personalized and sincere.
Succinct replies. One way to impress your customers is to impress them with your ability to summarize facts and numbers that can be understood in less time than it takes to whip up scrambled eggs.
Take the leap. Do not be afraid to ask for your client’s budget. Quote them according to your prevailing rates and throw in freebies to add value to your products or services. This will not only give you an edge above your competitors but will make your clients feel like they are valued. At Cohesion.sg, we ensure that our staff are prompt and succinct with their replies. Inculcating such a culture throughout the company will only increase efficiency but productivity as well. Departments are able to communicate seamlessly and issues are surfaced immediately for the team to work on those issues together.
Billy Bauer is the Managing Director of Royce Leather Gifts.
“The most effective strategy sales organizations can use to close deals faster is to…”
Spend more time qualifying leads. The better you qualify a potential lead, the more likely it is to close. Most people send out endless proposals to anyone who asks. Rather than spending time on everyone, focus on the top few hot leads who can really make an impact on your business. Then, market directly to them.
Matt Hallisy has been teaching salespeople in highly commoditized industries how to distinctly stand out from the competition and create a rabid response to their products or services. He does this by teaching his students the concept of Sales Seduction, the art of attracting the subconscious mind to instill an obsessive need to buy from them.
“To close deals faster, I use a method I created about 10-15 years ago…”
I call it the Sales Seduction Sequence. It works best in industries where the typical prospect assumes from the beginning that they know more than the salesperson (and they view them as lower social value).
It’s a simple three-step process:
Christiano Ferraro is an entrepreneur who currently runs his own management consultancy firm. Originally from Canada, he migrated to the U.S. with the intent to become better connected with the entrepreneurial culture. He supports businesses by employing objective transparency to drive progressive change in sales, marketing, and operations.
“The best way to accelerate sales and close deals faster is to…”
Position your products as solutions to customers’ problems.
One of my favorite sales positions involved managing channel business for an industrial camera company. What made this opportunity so interesting? The product was the same, but the application was often different – that made each selling situation unique. My performance however, remained optimally consistent.
Now industrial cameras can generally be viewed as a commodity unless you are referring to the latest technology or particular customization. Our products, generally charged at twice the price of our competition – not a great position to be in…or did that really matter? What I realized was that the product wasn’t the important factor at all really – what mattered was what it was used for. What problem did it solve in the eyes of the purchaser and how can it be leveraged to optimize that solution value?
So that’s what I talked about. Their situation, their project, their timelines, their complexities, their responsibilities within the company, and how this project impacted them. It’s these very impacts that actually matter – not what you sell. When you address the impacts that the client cares about, the sale becomes a formality.
A sale doesn’t happen when you get a no. So why not eliminate the no first. All that’s left – yes.
David James is the Founder and Director of Business Growth Digital Marketing. David was a specialist marketing expert in SEO, Search, and Digital marketing at some of the leading digital marketing agencies, including Mindshare of WPP where he consulted for Mazda, SAP, LG, Zurich Bank, HSBC, Bigmouthmedia, LBI which is a part of Publicis Modem, and ultimately leading the boutique agency Direct Traffic Media.
“The main sales tactic we have found to be effective in accelerating sales is…”
The proof of our work. We aim to deliver top tier quality so that it sells itself and makes it easy for the salesperson to close the sale. We know that the quality product that we deliver won’t be produced by anyone else. Our sales pitch is usually along the lines of:
We find it works and we get good quality clients off the back of this sales approach.
George Athan is a business growth expert, professional sales trainer and CEO of MindStorm Strategic Consulting. By focusing on 4 key performance areas of Strategy, Innovation, Marketing, and Sales, George has helped companies in over 50 industries achieve rapid growth.
“I use a three-prong approach to land and close deals faster…”
First I make the prospect sell me on why they want me or feel that they need my services. This changes the dynamic of the conversation because other salespeople are trying so hard to sell themselves looking weak in the process, whereas my approach draws the prospect in. Simple phrases like, “Out of all of the companies out there, why did you come to us?” Their answer reinforces the fact that we’re the best choice and I didn’t even have to say a word.
Second I continue building leverage on whatever their answer was by asking questions like, “Why is that most important for you?” As an example, the prospects original answer may be that he likes the fact that MindStorm offers a 100% money back guarantee based on results. When I respond with, “Why is that most important for you?” the prospect would respond with something like, “I want to make sure that the sales trainers I hire will increase sales at my company with its training and I find it comforting to know that you are willing to guarantee performance,” or, “I pay nothing.” After agreeing with the customer that we are the best choice for them (being that this is their big concern), we move to the third stage. Find the scarcity.
It’s important that you don’t artificially create scarcity because you will quickly lose trust, rapport, and the sale. I find the scarcity. At any given time we only take on a certain number of projects, we only allow a certain number of projects to go a certain price points, or I myself will be part of a limited number of projects, so if a client specifically wants me involved, well, there are many companies out there that need my help but only one me. The less you are available, the more you are valued, and the more you’re sought after.
This combination creates the ultimate cocktail of emotions. The prospect adamantly feels in their mind that you are the best choice for them but don’t know if you’re willing to help them. This is a completely different approach than what your competitors are doing.
K.B. Lee is the Founder & CEO of Ever Bamboo.
“My top three hacks for landing deals include…”
LinkedIn, SimilarSites.com, and going to industry trade shows.
We identify high quality leads on LinkedIn, SimilarSites.com, and at trade shows as an attendee. We don’t believe in closing deals faster because people don’t buy when you’re ready to sell. Customers buy when they’re ready to purchase.
I have gotten quite a few sales by meeting potential customers at a trade show, even when I don’t connect with them until a few months later or connect right away but follow-up in a few weeks. You don’t come across as desperate when your focus is to nurture the relationship instead of close the deal. That ultimately works in your favor more often than not.
An entrepreneur, speaker, and worldwide connector, Michael is recognized for new ways of thinking about technology, telecommunications, and having the audacity to believe common sense is still the best medicine for life. Michael is best known for founding Telecomquotes.com, helping businesses by being their defacto CIO, and finding unique ways to make their technology “roll up its sleeves and go to work”.
“Once, a dear friend told me, Michael, you talk too much and listen too little. This candid feedback, impacted my personal and professional life greatly, because it was TRUE. So, going back to 1st Grade, I retooled my sales (and life) approach…”
Discuss what success means to the customer, agree on the action steps and then move forward confidently, because Prepared isn’t Scared (this last one isn’t from 1st grade, but from Russell Wilson, SB winning QB @ 24).
Jonathan Kendall, CCP, CPS, CMCT is the President and CEO of Pop Up Selling Sales Training. An educator, global advisor, keynote speaker, and selling-business coach, Jonathan teaches organizations and individuals how to use and expand their skills to best develop their organizations. For over 25 years, Jonathan has owned and managed a diverse group of interrelated companies around the world specializing in the break-through Leadership & Management, Innovation, Technologies, Selling, and Learning.
“When it comes to accelerating sales, it’s important to remember that…”
There is no magical hack for closing a deal! Big pressure tactics, fancy pitches, smooth sales people, over promising, or lots of bells and whistles do not create a high closing rate. The closing is always – WIFT, What’s In it For Them.
If there’s not a compelling value-add, there’s no close. It’s not enough to have a great product or service; if it does not add value that’s more than the cost, it’s doomed.
What’s the concept of value? The Pet Rock had value to people who needed a stupid gift! The iPhone is valuable to people who want to be a part of a tech community. The Tesla is a statement that the owner is wealthy and still wants to save the planet (and is kind of cool too). The corporate leader wants to increase efficiency and profits. Do you do that? Yes? Then close it; don’t waste time. Clear WIFT will close the deal.
Daniel DiGriz is Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides marketing leadership for brands that want more clientele. Daniel is author of All Marketing is Dead and is external Marketing Director for multiple organizations. His ideas have appeared in Inc., SmartBlog, MediaPost, and Success Magazine, and he is a frequent presenter at thought leadership conferences.
“The critical strategy to close deals is…”
Also the crucial skill set of a high-producing salesperson. It’s not aggressiveness or people skills; it’s the ability to tailor all answers to prospect questions, all sales deliverables, and all interactions to the innate personality signals of the individual stakeholder or lynch pin decision maker in a group. The prospect is either going to need a thorough presentation of the details around what they’re buying, a bottom line summary of what it can do, insights into how it’ll look, feel, and what it’ll do for them personally, or how it meets the needs of each stakeholder in their ‘pack.’
The mistake some rookie salespeople make is trying to provide ALL of that, in an effort to be comprehensive rather than rapidly assessing who they need to win and the core psychological motivators of that target. Dumping it all in becomes overwhelming and pulls the sales process into four competing directions. Choosing a single focus based on the audience keeps the sale moving forward, in a streamlined way, without it feeling pressured. That results in a higher close rate, which is what all of us really want.