Have you ever had trouble closing a sale? You’re not alone. I don’t have exact numbers, but in my experience, many professionals have trouble with turning a prospect into a customer. Most people suffer from the same two main issues with closing:
- They fear rejection.
- They don’t know what to say when they ask for the sale.
Fortunately, you can overcome these problems by doing a little preparation before you even talk to a potential customer. Follow these steps to improve your selling power and make your business even more successful.
Step 1: Stay Positive
Let’s start with objection #1: fear of rejection.
If you’re afraid of rejection, consider this: most customers require between 4 and 7 touchpoints with a company representative before they make a purchase. So if you’re working with someone who knows nothing at all about your business, it might take more than just one phone call to close a deal.
Instead of feeling afraid of rejection, change your mindset and stay positive when you interact with potential clients.
Accept rejection as a natural part of the sales process.
Assume you’re going to close the sale; if not now, then another day.
As long as you follow up with prospects who have rejected your product, you can turn today’s rejection into tomorrow’s sale. (We’ll talk more about following up in Step 4.)
When you stay positive during your interactions with potential clients, you positively affect your ability to make a sale. If you allow hesitation, negativity, or a lack of confidence to enter your voice during your pitch, you give the person you’re talking to an excuse to walk away from the sale.
Practice staying positive in different situations. Smile when you’d rather frown. Practice smiling when you argue, negotiate, disagree, or overcome objections. Pretty soon positivity will be your default setting.
Step 2: Prepare an Outline of Your Pitch
Now I’ll cover objection #2: not knowing what to say.
Many sales trainers encourage salespeople to use a prepared sales script for phone sales. I think that’s a great start, but you’ve got to take it a step further. Instead of following a set script, use that as a start for your own “outline” of a sale.
I love outlines because they allow you to be flexible with your sales pitch. You have all the helpful guidance of a script, but you can improvise to meet your potential client’s concerns.
To make sure your outline sounds natural, write out every step in your own words. Practice your pitch out loud and with colleagues. Internalize the information you want to share with potential customers. Pay special attention to the close, making sure it sounds natural and inevitable.
All sales outlines should have the same focus: building up to the sale. Every part of your outline should support the sale. When you keep that focus in mind, it will feel unnatural to avoid asking for the sale by the end of your conversation.
Step 3: Expect to Hear Objections
Of course, you should be prepared to handle your prospect’s objections at every stage of a sales conversation. But there’s no better way to bring out a potential customer’s most pressing objections than by asking them to buy your product. When you ask for money, their real concerns are sure to come out.
You might try thinking of your first close as an opportunity to overcome your prospect’s objections. Listen carefully to what they say. Then directly address the objection with a specific benefit your product offers.
Step 4: Follow Up
When a potential customer says no (notice I say “when” instead of “if;” if you’re expecting rejection, it won’t affect your positive attitude!), ask again. Persistence is key to selling. If you’ve adequately overcome your prospect’s objections, they should be ready to buy. If you haven’t, you may have to contact them again later to try again.
Whether you make the sale today or some day in the future, don’t neglect the follow up. Make notes about what you talked about so you can reference them in your future conversation. Then set a reminder for yourself to drop by, call, or email your potential customer and pitch the sale again.
In this second interaction, you can take advantage of the rapport you established during the first conversation. Look over your notes from the last conversation. Be prepared with new data, experiences, or insight into their previous concerns. Remember, you’re establishing a relationship with this potential client, so keep the focus on how you can help them with your product.
Closing the Sale
The most important thing to remember is that you can close the sale. If you have confidence in your product and in yourself, your potential clients will feel that confidence. You can’t fake confidence, but you can prepare before a pitch so that you truly feel it.
As you become comfortable talking to potential customers and talking about your product, you’ll see your close ratio grow. Now that’s something to feel confident about.