How to Close Profitable Sales – Because it costs you a lot to close cheap business!
Discover how to close profitable sales because it:
- Saves time
- Builds turnover
- Protects margin
- Enhances reputation
- Cripples your competitors
- Maximises growth
- Effectively uses business resources and…
- Keeps you sane!!
Get it wrong and welcome to:
- Inaccurate sales forecasts
- Deals left wide open for the competitors
- Competitor growth and perhaps dominance
- Hand to mouth business
- Poor profits
- Instability in the business and, the ultimate business pressure…
- Poor ability for forecast
- Loooong sales cycles
Knowing how to close profitable sales is the difference between a high stress low margin sales environment and a solid, stable sales machine.
How to Close Profitable Sales?
- Always be prepared to leave a deal on the table.
- Always build such high value in the sales pitch that the buyer is surprised at what great value you are offering compared to risks and costs.
- Always speak to everyone involved in the buying decision….as soon as you can!
Any exceptions to this?
Not that I can think of.
Just a few sales pointers to think about….
- Let the deal mature at the rate that’s been set out…keep an eye on key sales milestones you uncovered during that first prospect discussion.
- The buying process you uncovered during the first sales fact find…keep to that as closely as you can. If it revises, revise your plan, but don’t let the timelines slip!
- Keep in contact, that means with all the referrers and influencers…not just the chief and not just the cheque signatory
- Remain in open communication, continually add value through the decision making process. If you’re struggling as to how to do this – join us on the Sales Improvement Workshop where we cover every aspect of how to make profitable sales in a highly competitive space.
- But, hold the line, don’t let a prospects who drops out of communication phase you.
- Don’t get swayed to fast or too far from your original proposal during the decision making process.
- Just because the buyer hasn’t snapped your hand off on receipt of the proposal, just because they haven’t got back to you when they said then would, and just because they haven’t responded to your email….Just hold fire.
None of this means the deal is dead.
Avoid falling into the trap many sales people will happily dive head first into given the first sign of coolness from the Buyer.
You see, a regular jobbing sales person will get scared.
At the first sign of coolness from the prospect, they’ll simply assume the deal is being made with a competitor and they’re missing out.
It’s not always the case.
In fact, it’s often NOT the case.
You should also remember this
When You’re Looking for Profitable Sales – Not Every Sales in a Good Sales
Do you have a go/no go matrix in your business to decide of a deal should go ahead or not?
Maybe that’s something to think about?
Because a sale at any cost is just a race to the bottom.
And, typically the first reaction to a ‘cooler’ buyer is to start panicing, and try to cut a deal.
The first thing to get a hair cut is the price…margins get stripped out in exchange for a speedy signature on the dotted line.
Don’t be Out Sold by a Savvy Buyer
WOW…savvy Buyer who stalls few days and watch the price crumble…first lesson in Purchasing School.
But what if the Buyer then accepts your lower price and STILL drags his heels?
You’ll knock the price back up to the higher, original level?
Good luck with that…please write and let me know how you get on.
The truth is – panic, negotiate and you’ll drop credibility and the business loses profit…and you’ve got to work hard to replace what you originally had, or could have had.
Congratulations, welcome to the Hamster Wheel….start running!
Lesson? You know the lesson….hold the line.
Want to Improve Your Profitable Close Rate?
Closing Well Means Nothing If Your Sales Pitch Stinks!
Think about this…because it matters a lot if you want to discover how to close profitable sales
During your sales demonstration, you will have been careful to build a strong relationship with the Buyer, to do this you’ll have:
- Checked and double checked you’re dealing with the decision maker because your time, expertise and insights are too precious to waste.
- Build in a ‘get to meet’ the other decision makers in the process, the referrers and the influencers, the users, the budget holders…it could be a big list.
- Checked budget and budget availability because you don’t want to spend time with the wrong person or zero budget prospects
- Understood if time is not right or the budget not available – but there is still an interested party – so your role is to build the offer, create urgency and help him/her find the budget.
- Mapped the decision making process with each of the interested parties and with the decision maker/s because that’s how you keep track of where you both are.
- Understood the respective needs and buying criteria because you need to know their expectations and buying decision pathways.
- Uncovered the date the decision will be made by, based on when the product/solution need to be in place, because this will help you track the deal though your sales funnel and sales pipeline
- Worked out if you’re in a one or three horse race…and why the other horses are still in your race.
- Added such value in your sales pitch that cost will never be an objection.
- Gained the prospect’s trust and asked detailed questions around implications associated with the purchase because you need to understand motivators and pain points.
- Explored the extent of their relationships with your competitors and potential substitute solutions, or work arounds, because this tells you how much they need/don’t need your product/service
- Investigated possible hurdles too because you need to explore these thoroughly and early on in the sales pitch
- Coaxed out explicit and implicit objections and dealt with them because you NEVER want to have these bite you right before signatures are due.
- Been able to provide some kind of financial indicator, maybe not an absolute figure, but a range; and in doing so you’ll have been able to assess, respond to and justify your costing in a totally transparent way because a robust ROI is one of the biggest closing techniques you’ll have access to.
You’ll have done all that won’t you?
If you haven’t then check this out…The Sales Improvement Workshop
Join us and we’ll help you build:
- Knock out sales structures that will have your sales prospect selling to himself
- Value propositions to clear the field of your competitors
- Strong ‘yes’s into your prospects minds so they don’t ghost you half way through the process
- High converting sales proposals
- Friction-free sales process
- Killer sets of questions to engage buyers in a way no-one esle can…
Come and join us on the Sales Improvement Workshop – and if you’re a sales manager or sales leader – talk to us about how you can use this sales training course to start your own sales academy!
Closing the Sales and Making a GOOD Margin…
This relies on you doing everything you can to
- Build value
- Clear out your competitors
- Involve all the relevant decision makers
- Build decision maker specific compelling arguments
Only then can you hope to both close, and gain a good margin.
The minute a competitor enters the frame, your margin is at risk.
The minute a n unconvinced decision maker (a non-committed decision maker) enters the room – your deal is at risk.
See, these are easy doors to close BUT only if you close them as you go through the sales process!
Try to shit these doors at the end of the call, try to do a retro-fix on the holes in your sales process and you will put the sales deal in jeopardy, and you slash your margins!
These are the very basics. Miss any of these elements out at your peril.
With all that done, have some faith.
With all that in place then…how to close profitable sales just becomes a question of timing, not skill.
What Else Can You Do To Close the Sale and Get the Order?
Hold the line….BUT keep this in mind:
The In Principle Decision
The order’s not in until the signature is on the dotted line, but that doesn’t stop you asking for an in principle decision, such that your buyer gives you a ‘yes’ pending agreeing a date to get the actual order signed and back to you.
‘Mr Buyer, all things being equal, if you had to make a decision to by our product/service today, what would your response be, would I get your order?
It doesn’t stop you being highly assumptive.
I see a million sales a year drop through the cracks because the sales person is way too reticent in claiming ownership of the order and letting the prospect know that they have claimed responsibility for the order and getting it to order completion.
Own it! Push it!
Remember…until it’s a strong No…it’s a Yes.
Assume it’s your’s and it has a greater chance of being true! This also relies on your knowing when to ‘stop selling’ and ‘start owning’…we cover that on The Sales Improvement Workshop too!
Have some confidence!
Make it Easy for the Buyer to Say YES!
Your aim through this whole process is to make it as easy as possible for the buyer to say YES.
Take all the pain away, all the admin, all the responsibility to getting the order signed off, such that all the buyer is required to do is to email you a P.O.
Make Friends with the Decision Making Family
Some people refer to this as Threading – it means engaging with all parts of the group of interested parties – it could be users, cheque book, referrers, influencers, blockers, champions, owners etc etc – the list can be long and only you can decide who you need on your side – and part of that is knowing about what the decision making process is in this process. Once you know that, then you can decide how deeply you need to thread.
I mention this again, here because it’s so often a lost art.
So, get involved.
At every level.
All through the process.
No point selling the budget holder if the users have been wooed by another provider.
Your solution will never fly.
So, make sure you’ve got all the influencers, all the referrers, all the other decision makers lined up and in agreement with your solution.
Sure, this is hard work…it takes time.
It costs a lot, but it’s worth a lot.
Having done all of that here’s what you don’t do.
What You Don’t Do If You Want To Close Profitable Sales.
You Don’t Panic
Silence is NOT a coded message from the Buyer for you to think ‘Let’s call the prospect and halve the price’…unless that’s how YOU interpret and YOU react.
You’d be surprised how many sales people have that very strong connect in their head.
You Don’t Assume – ASK!
You’ve build a good relationship with the Buyer, you can ask some direct questions.
What’s the hold up?
Is there any other information you need from me?
Do I need to meet with anyone else to expedite this through for you?
Are you going to place your order with my business?
Has anything changed since we met?
Is there anyone else involved that I’m not aware of?
These might seem like wimpy sales questions – and they are.
You put power into these questions by having a strong sense of the key milestones and dates that you’be got from the prospect through the sales process.
In other works, your mapped their process for buying from you, and you’ve both agreed that this is the plan you will stick to.
See, now you know that dates are slipping, you can call the prospect out about their agreement and their actions….
My Buyer, I can see that you want the install in by the first week of Septemeber – we need a 4 week lead time, so we’re coming up to that now. Really keen that we keep to our original comitment to you, so need to know if there is anything your end likely to hold this up?
How to Close Profitable Sales and NOT Panic
So, here are a few things you can do to ring fence the times when you may be left hanging, and to prevent radio silence from the prospect:
- Put an expiry date on all of your proposals.
- Make sure you get a firm ‘yes’, even in principle, before you leave the meeting.
And: Don’t leave one meeting before setting the next
- You must ask for the business as part of your sales demonstration.
- Don’t leave the meeting without closing. Closing with the promise to send an email proposal will make you a busy sales person, not a rich one.
Stop Working for Zero Reward
If you’re serious about closing profitable sales then this is an absolute must, which you can choose to ignore this at your peril.
How and when you set this up will either make you a busy admin gofer, or will make you a fortune.
Let me ask you:
What’s the one question you could ask, once the Buyer has told you that you’ve got his business ‘in principle’ that would indicate to you what the buyer’s real intent is?
Just one question…
Do you know what it is?
That’s great Mr Buyer, I’m so glad we’ve got this opportunity to work together, now, do you have your diary for next week, I can come back in on Wednesday or Thursday to go through the paper work with you, explain the quote/conditions in full and answer any questions you have, and the you can place your order. Now, which one of those days is better for you?
Will save you a fortune in time, selling time and admin time, it will save you chasing quotes that won’t fall in your favour, it will prevent you forecasting a deal that’s never going to materialise… it will tell you if you’re dealing with a buyer who is actually willing to do business with you.
Just one questions – the guess work and the mystery falls away.
If you ask for an opportunity to come back in to present your proposal and the Buyer says ‘no’ then you have a very strong idea of where his intentions are.
That’s very useful.
Truly, very valuable.
It’s an opportunity for you to re-pitch, to re-explore, to challenge and re-close , or to move on.
So, having asked and secured the opportunity to come back and present the proposal, you can be confident that the only reason you are being accepted back to present a proposal is that the Buyer is sufficiently engaged and excited by what you had to say the last time you met.
And that the Buyer is ready to do business with you.
The Emotional Dip
But still, here’s what will have happened since you last met with the Buyer:
- As time has passed his excitement will not have increased – it will have diminished and it will have diminished rapidly and steeply.
- Plus, he may have seen your competitors, spoken with nay-sayers within the business, come up with a whole different list of potential objection or questions.
- He may have ruminated on some of your words, some positively, some negatively, but the end results is that his thinking may be lacking the clarity it had when you last met.
The Second Meeting to Sign the Order – It’s Still a Sales Pitch!
In going back with the written proposal you have a chance to remind him of what his issues are, what the cost of not addressing those issues is, why he needs to get serious about addressing the issues now and why he should select you.
This is not a duplicate visit of the first meeting.
This meeting is a chance to reinvigorate, regenerate, re-engineer and revitalise the Buyer AND get a signature.
You must walk through the door believing, acting and talking as if you’ve already won the business.
This is a highly assumptive pitch meeting and NOT a fact check.
This is about understanding how to close profitable sales because every Buyer contact is an opportunity to maximise your chances at getting the price you want and the order signed as fast as possible. To do that you must make every single Buyer interaction high value from the Buyer’s perspective. Otherwise you’re just one of the many push sales guys out there who have yet to discover how to close profitable sales with skill and mastery!
What to Tell the Buyer About the Second Meeting
When you book this meeting you must let the Buyer know that you will be returning to confirm the solution, answer any question AND GET THE ORDER SIGNED!
Get comfortable in using this language; in fact you should use this language.
Be absolutely clear with your language and your intent.
You’ve done all the hard work, this is not the time to be reticent and hang back.
This is the time to be confident.
After all, if the Buyer was going to reject you, he wouldn’t have given you all the information you need to generate a proposal.
Plus, being clear, succinct and direct when you book the second meeting, then everyone knows what is required of them at the next stage.
If you have the deal, the Buyer will easily agree to this request.
If you haven’t got the deal, and the Buyer, doesn’t want to tell you directly, then (if they are like many Buyers) they will decline or possibly accept then send you an email to cancel the second meeting.
That’s how cowards behave.
The conversation might go something like this…
I’ll prepare the proposal based on my research to date and our conversations, specifically considering your challenges, timescales and budgets, so our next meeting can focus on moving forward, getting the order signed and what happens when we start supplying you. Is that ok with you?
Should it scare the buyer?
BUT if it does, then that’s ok,
A scared buyer at this stage is your sign that you haven’t got this buyer in a state where he is ready to buy.
So You Have a Scared Buyer
It’s great that you know this BEFORE you do the proposal.
It allows you to ask another valuable question –
You seem hesitant Mr Buyer….can I ask you to share your concerns with me? You don’t feel we’ll be able to go ahead when we meet again on the 8th?
Just remember – you’re not asking for the crown jewels – just his agreement to a course of action….friction at this point is ok if it sends you a signal before it’s too late, and whilst you’ve still got time to do something about it!
If all goes to plan, your question to meet and get the order signed should do nothing more than focus the Buyer’s mind, and help him set an intention and expectation.
You need the Buyer to understand that you are there because you want to do business with him and are serious about working with his firm.
And that’s ok.
He should be too.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
In learning how to close profitable sales, it’s only to be expected that the Buyer might well push back a little, because he can see what his decision should be, but that doesn’t stop him fighting against it which means he may well end the meeting by asking you to give him time to think.
Here’s what you do:
You ask the following:
- What is it specifically you need to think about, I’d be happy to help you work it through….
- Can you give me some insight into what you are thinking, your initial reaction, at this moment?
- Is it you think that the business/board won’t support you on this?
- How viable is this proposition?
- Does it seem viable and reasonable to you?
- What are the further concerns I need to address?
- Ok– is next Tuesday or next Thursday better for you, I’ll come in, answer any questions and collect the signed paperwork…
Couple of things you may be thinking here:
Are You Being Pushy?
A little back bone at this stage means that you should know exactly where you stand before you leave the Buyer’s office.
You know whether to spend any time on the proposal because, after all, writing proposals can take up huge amounts of time.
But more importantly the Buyer knows what you expect of him!
You’re asking for honesty and clarity here – that’s all!
You are not just going to let him off the hook…drift off into the sunset and chalk this one up to ‘nice chat’ or ‘maybe sometime’
Especially not after you’ve done a thorough sales investigation, mapped out solutions, shared your expertise and vast experience, presented additional insights he’d not considered as well as help him work through the reality of his challenges and pathways to success….
If you have done your sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you have a right to ask these questions.
If you haven’t done the sales investigation and needs matching correctly then you’re not in a position to ask these questions.
Don’t even try, because you’ll sound like the worst kind of shiny suited wide boy and that just won’t wash with the buyer.
Being able to close the sale efficiently and effectively depends more on what you do at the beginning of the sales call, rather than at the end!
- Map out the buying process during the early stages of the sales call.
- Pay special attention to the role that each person plays in the buying decision and the power they have.
- Stick to the friction free sales call structure.
- Ask killer questions
- Hammer out the value prosposition so all the competitors diassapear.
- Agree delivery milestones during the prospecting stage.
- Hold the buyer to those stages adn milestone
- Hold the line because after you’ve invested all this time and uncovered a viable prospect, and because, it’s just what you must do to maintain credibility (and self respect).
- Getting comfortable with being in charge of the sales process. This is so important.
All these stages mean very little if you struggle getting comfortable with the sign off stage because that’s how you close profitable sales, since it takes practice and backbone, learn to hold the line because it’s worth it.
Join us on The Sales Improvement Workshop Soon!
How to Close Profitable Sales is just one of the areas we cover in the Sales Improvement Workshop – join us and discover how you can take the friction out of selling, build a high converting sales pipeline and drive revenue and margin up!
Fill out the contact form here or call Carol on 0779 002 1885
How to Close Profitable Sales (c) Morton Kyle Limited
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