Our articles over the past few weeks (see links below) have provided a roadmap in customer-focused selling leading to this final step of using communication skills and coaching techniques to close a sale.
The “art of the close” is beautiful to watch, even more so when you use communication skills and coaching techniques.
The best place to start is to ask yourself: “what places you and your business apart from your competitors?”
Your product offering should be different or unique from the rest of your competition.
Take a good hard look at your product/services and highlight the positive differences of your offering over the competition.
This is called identifying your Unique Value Proposition, and you need to create a UVP before you begin to communicate it to prospects.
To assist you in this process, start by writing a value statement that includes the following:
Make sure that you communicate these differences clearly and concisely.
A simple template for your value statement would consist of the following:
Here is an example: XYZ Ltd Is the front-runner of the B2B marketplace, providing marketing tools for the self-employed small business owner looking to grow their business and not waste a moment doing so.
When trying to “close the deal,” it is best to begin the process with a customized approach based on the specific wants/needs of the individual and the value of your solution. Then, communicate this to them and ensure they see and understand how it will benefit them.
Suppose you are a “bottom price only” seller in today’s marketplace. In that case, you are missing out as the current customer evaluates value based on quality, ease of access, and good service when deciding to buy.
Your pricing model must be supported by proof of or the strength of benefit/benefits to your customer offer.
Try and include the following points:
The truth is that no two buyers are the same, and their reasons for buying your products or services will differ.
For example, you can’t assume everyone’s reason for buying a car is the same. One could be a desire to show off, another for their kid’s first car, or another could be for the whole family.
By now, your relationship should provide you with some knowledge of the buyer’s values, but you want to know more, so use your skills in “the deep dive questioning” and ask:
You are trying to get them to relate with one or more of the following:
The more you know about each customer’s specific value, the easier finding and offer your solution for that value will be.
Sometimes closing the sale can be pretty challenging, especially if you are uncomfortable with selling.
It is here where you should look at yourself as if you were their coach.
You know that they have a sincere interest in your products, so be their coach and help them make a decision.
Sometimes things that seem obvious to you will not be so apparent to them, so you may like to remind them of the value of the solution.
Make sure that you give them all the information on the buying process and what happens next, so nothing comes as a shock to them and stops them from buying.
But don’t promise anything you can’t deliver just to get the sale. This is counter-productive, as it will destroy the trust you’ve been building up with the person.
Look at it this way. By now, you have come to the point where the prospect has emotionally bought your deal. However, they are often sitting on the fence because they do not know how to get off it.
This is where you use your coaching techniques and move them off the fence.
You have to, at some point, ask for the order. So timing is essential, a skill that only comes with experience.
Since the first interaction with the prospect, your main goal has been to flush out the truth.
Sometimes prospects can and will mask the truth because they have difficulty saying no.
They might say, “we need a little time to think about it.” But, if you look at this statement, there is no better time to think about it than right now when they have all the correct information in front of them.
You could say: “If you try to decide in 2-3 days, you will have forgotten 60% of what I have told you so far, so why don’t you take some time now and decide one way or the other.”
If their indecision seems genuine, you could arrange to speak again later that day or the next day. But it may be time to cut your losses.
There may be genuine reasons you can’t help them overcome, and you can’t force a sale, firstly because that goes against the concept of customer-focused sales, and secondly because it can come back to bite you later.
Some customers just continue to avoid taking the final step. In this case, ask yourself whether the product you’re attempting to sell is right for them. It could indicate that you didn’t listen or ask the right questions along the way, so this becomes a learning experience.
Any sales professional will tell you that the desired response (outside of a “yes”) is getting a hard “no” quickly so they can move on to another prospect.
In conclusion, a customer-focused sales strategy is critical for businesses to remain competitive. By understanding the needs and wants of customers, companies can create a sales strategy tailored to them. As part of this process, communicating value and coaching the customer to make a decision not only creates a better customer experience, but also drives sales and builds loyalty.
Other articles in this series include:
How to Improve Your Sales Skills as a Small Business Owner
The Power of Relationship Selling
Advanced Selling Skills: Customer Focused Sales
Advanced Sales Techniques: The Skill of Asking Questions
Advanced Sales Techniques: Educate and Collaborate
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