Sales and Sales Management Blog

July 25, 2012

Guest Article: “Help! I Can’t Close Sales: 5 Ideas to Increase Your Close Ratio,” by Jill Konrath

Filed under: Closing Sales,sales,selling — Paul McCord @ 3:08 pm
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Help! I Can’t Close Sales: 5 Ideas to Increase Your Close Ratio
by Jill Konrath

Recently I got an email from Ahmed that said, “Do you have anything on how to close sales? Getting into an account isn’t a problem for me. But I get stuck after submitting a proposal.

“By this time, I’ve already sent them all our marketing materials and given them a demo. They seem interested. Then, after they get my proposal, nothing. What am I missing?”

I can’t tell you how many times salespeople have asked me to help them get better at closing. However, despite what you think, it’s not the real problem. 

Your inability to close is a symptom. What it really means is that your prospect does not think it’s worth making a change right now. In short, it’s nice to know about your offering, but not necessary.

Five things you can do to get better at closing sales.

1. Know your impact. Make sure you’re clearly able to articulate the business value of your offering. You should ensure that you’re talking about key business drivers such as reduced operating costs, increase sales conversation rates or improved efficient. Adding metrics makes your message even more impactful.

2. Be a storyteller. Share examples of how you’ve helped other customer improve. Be able to explain how they were doing things before, the challenges they faced, and the results they’ve achieved since working with you. 

3. Slow down. Based on what you said, you may be moving things along much too fast. You’re showing your stuff, sending collateral and giving pricing. It’s highly likely that they don’t feel like you’re focused on their success. Take time to build the relationship so that they truly feel that you’re a credible resource, not a self-serving sales guy.

4. Connect the dots. It’s imperative to engage your prospect in a discussion. This helps you/them determine if your offering makes sense for them. Here are some good ones to start with:

  • How are you currently handling your needs in this area?
  • What are your objectives relevant to the business drivers this product/service addresses?
  • What initiatives do you already have in place to get there? 
  • If you achieved results similar to our other customers, what would this mean for your organization?

See where I’m going with this? If your prospects aren’t making the connections between what you sell and the value they could get from it, it’s because you’re leaving it to happenstance. 

Don’t let that happen. Plan your questions ahead of time. They are your greatest tools in getting to a yes. 

5. Stop trying to close. Instead, focus on helping your prospect determine if it makes good business sense to change. If it does, they’ll say yes. If not, they’ll stay with what they’ve got. 

Today’s prospects are too savvy to fall prey to any closing techniques. The more you try to do it, the less they want to do business with you. Instead, put your emphasis on the front end of the sales cycle.

Before you know it, your prospects will be saying, “How soon can we get going on this?”

Jill Konrath is the author of two bestselling sales books and is a popular speaker who helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business.  You can learn more about her at her blog or her website.

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1 Comment »

  1. Great tips, thank you! In response to your fifth tip, how do you feel about using technology to facilitate more of a relationship rather than an immediate close? Particularly in the luxury (high-end) retail setting, so many customers are ‘just looking’ or ‘I’ll be backs’. Rather than trying to close the sale that day, what about using an iPad or iPhone to get the customer’s basic information through a mobile CRM, and send them your information so they come back to you?

    I think sometimes salesmen, particularly old school ones, fear utilizing technology because it could be skewed as cold or impersonal – I view it the opposite. You can connect with your client in a way that they are comfortable. Let’s adapt to them and maintain the relationship!

    Comment by Elise — July 27, 2012 @ 9:39 am | Reply


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