7 Keys That Will Help You Open and Close Sales (Then Lock the Door Behind You)
Let’s imagine that a sales lead is like a locked door. Your goal, in sales, is to go through that door and ‘close’ it behind you. While the function of marketing is to encourage the lead to open that door a little and peer out, your job as a salesperson, is to swing that door wide open and get inside the room.
Sometimes a sale is super easy. The lead flings open this metaphoric door and invites you in. Great. You go into the room, get the deal tied up and go find another door. But sometimes, the door is shut in your face (literally if you’re a door-to-door salesman). The answer? Keys. You need keys to get inside.
Here are 7 keys that should see you able to open the door to a sale and then confidently close it behind you…
Key 1 – Understand their business
Okay, so we’re starting with a pretty boring one. We’d love to be able to provide you with a load of killer tips that take seconds to master and guarantee you sales. But, alas, life doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s just hard work that gets you over the line.
The best way to sell to someone is to understand them. Research them, learn about them, ask them questions, listen to them and take notes. Get in their mindset. You should be empathetic and try to imagine what drives them. Figure that out and then tailor your approach.
By taking the time to understand their needs and how their decisions get made, you’re building a relationship with them and then… you’re selling to them!
Key 2 – Forget about all that ‘alpha male’ nonsense
Sales floors are often quite male-orientated working environments. Competition between colleagues can be healthy and is often encouraged. But leave your dominance BS with your work pals. Don’t pick up the phone or go into a meeting with a competitive mindset or with a desire to dominate or ‘alpha’ anyone. It’s off putting, it’s tacky and it makes people feel uncomfortable.
There are ways of positioning yourself as an authority on a subject without being overbearing. You can frame statements of fact or USPs as questions, for instance. You need to make sure you’re having a conversation. And conversations are dialogues where it’s not just you talking until you’ve worn the person down.
Don’t correct your lead. Don’t interrupt your lead. In fact, don’t think of them as a lead at all when you’re talking to them. They’re a person you’re talking with (but eventually selling to).
Key 3 – Don’t lose control of the conversation
So it’s a conversation. And you’re not being heavy handed. But you also have to balance things out. You can’t let the other person take control and lead the chat. You need to be subtle about it, but you have to steer where the talk goes otherwise you’ll not even get close to an opportunity to close the sale.
You need to be polite and indulging in the occasional conversational tangent isn’t the end of the world. Let things get too off track though and you’ll end up derailed.
Key 4 – Understand the challenges your lead faces
Convincing someone to buy something can be hard work. Convincing them to buy what you specifically sell can be even harder. People are generally happy with their existing supplier. Or at least they think they are. Drill down into the details, though? You’ll soon find that they face challenges and problems and aren’t entirely pleased with how things are going.
You know your product or service. You know the strengths. You need to get people talking about their frustrations and then present your offering as the solution.
Key 5 – Keep calm
Some people can prove to be pretty tough nuts to crack. Others are full-on, openly, hostile or just enjoy messing with sales people. But don’t despair. You might get the feeling you’re being disrespected or ignored, but even tough nuts crack if you hit them in the right spot.
First off, maintain your composure. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied, roll with the punches, laugh it off…..but stay focused. Prove yourself a match and you could well win their respect and business. Of course, some people will just never open their door – they keep it deadlocked from the inside. But you’ve got to try and wiggle the handle, haven’t you?
Key 6 – Listen
Ask the right questions and the person will want to talk. Let them. They’ll open up and tell you things that are important to them like their drives and motivations. People like to talk about themselves. You just need to make them feel comfortable enough to do just that.
Giving prospects an environment in which they can talk about their business and their frustrations, should help build trust and make you someone they’d happily welcome in through their door.
Key 7 – Keep up following up
Leads will go dead. It happens to most sales folk and it’s not rare. But don’t give up if you’ve not heard anything back. There’s no saying that they’re not keen to buy something – they might have just been too busy to do so. If you follow up with a quick one-line email or 30 second voicemail, that reminder may be all that is needed to expedite you closing that lead.
Talk to us if you’d like support or advice with your sales strategy or your sales and marketing alignment.