How to Close Profitable Sales – What Do You Need To Know?
Discover how to close profitable sales and it saves time, turnover, profit, reputation, resources and sanity.
Get it wrong and welcome to inaccurate sales forecasts, deals left wide open for the competitors to walk into and pick up, profit drains, instability and poor ability for forecast.
Knowing how to close profitable sales could be the difference between a high stress low margin sales environment and a solid, stable sales machine.
How to Close Profitable Sales?
Golden Rule: Always be prepared to leave a deal on the table.
Any exceptions to this? Not that I can think of.
Let the deal mature. Keep in contact, keep it warm, but hold the line.
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.
Not Every Sale is a Good Sale!
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.
WOW…savvy Buyer who uses that trick…stall a 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?
Get a great deal to the table, lock it in and leave it there.
Of course, make sure you keep in contact with the Buyer, make sure the Buyer has everything needed to make their decision in your favour.
But, the cast iron opportunity to REALLY protect yourself from this panic driven desperation, that costs you your reputation, credibility, pipeline, margin, commission and self respect, is to look at what’s happening during the sales process and how you interact with the buyer.
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.
- Checked budget and budget availability because you don’t want to spend time with the wrong person or zero budget prospects
- Mapped the decision making process with the decision maker because that’s how you keep track of where you both are.
- Uncovered the buying criteria because you need to know their expectations and buying 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
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….How to Sell.
As a result you’ll also have formed a relationship of value, integrity and openness, for both of you.
These are the very basics. Miss any of these elements out at your peril.
With all that done, have some faith.
Will all that in place 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.
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!
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
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?
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.
- 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 questions 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?
What it should do is to focus the Buyer’s mind.
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 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 because that just won’t wash with the buyer.
So, How to Close Profitable Sales…
Just remember, 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, which means 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.
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