25% of buying decisions depends on the interaction with the sales professional. ~ McKinsey & Co.
The whole point of selling becomes questionable if a deal is not closed. Prospecting, meeting, negotiating and all the various steps in a sales process can become a complete waste if a close does not happen. As much as it is important to understand and apply the right sales techniques, it is equally important to master one’s closing skills as it can be one of the trickiest part of the sales process, though assumed otherwise.
Here are a few mistakes which should definitely be avoided during a sales process to close a deal successfully:
1. Not making closing a part of every step
Closing is mostly assumed to be the ultimate step in a sales process, when the reality is it includes all those decisions, big and small, which help a prospect reach the final close. Closing needs to be present in small amounts from the very beginning. While understanding the exact needs of the buyer is important, at the same time, the continuous check on the seriousness of the buyer for purchase needs to be measured. For the numerous steps before the final close, the lists of things to be done must be communicated to the prospect and it should be ensured by the sales rep that there is commitment from both sides. If the prospect is giving out any sign of doubt or confusion, questions should be asked straight away to confirm, as time lost is business lost.
2. Failure to identify the right buyer
According to Dan Perry, principal at the Sales Benchmark Index, sellers should ask three questions before approaching a prospect:
- Who can I solve the biggest problem for?
- Which customers can create the greatest margins for your business?
- Who will love me the most?
The biggest mistake salespeople could make is to approach anyone to meet their own targets without analysing client profiles carefully. Trying to sell to prospects who do not fit the ideal client profile is not only a waste of time but can also severely annoy potential prospects for the future. Sales people need to identify the right client profile, post which they can use external resources like company websites, industry reports, LinkedIn and referrals to find leads.
3. Failure to pop the question
Statistics actually scream out the fact that closing as a process mostly goes ignored. Sales reps forget to ask for business which is very important to consider. A great sales person knows that a deal is complete only when they actually ask for business at the right time. This is important because some prospects, mostly first time buyers might now know when the deal comes to an end. The sales rep needs to be wary of asking too early or asking too late, or worse of all, never really popping the question. Questions like “Are you ready to buy today?” can actually help save time and energy, than waste it on the wrong prospect.
4. Not giving needs the most importance
Any potential client would make a purchasing decision only once they need it and the timing for purchase is just right. If there are any other priorities on the client’s end, the deal will invariably last longer than usual. More often than not, salespeople who are proud of their products will focus on talking about their products, their features and benefits, without really talking about a solution to a problem. Hence, it is important for sales reps to approach buyers with a solution that fits their prospect’s exact needs as well as pitched at just the right time. Identifying the exact pain point and offering a solution to it is as important as doing so at the right time.
5. Not being transparent
Most sales reps refrain from clearly stating what they expect or want from their clients. This is either because of the fear of hearing a “no” or because they are themselves unclear of what it is that should be or needs to be expected. Being transparent about all this from the very beginning helps clients establish trust if done in the right way, and not only increases the chance of a closure but also opens doors for long-term associations and referrals. This is an extremely important part of the sales process. Every interaction should be dealt with a clear objective which is visible and laid out to both parties. Be it questions about less or no response or any signs of doubt, the right questions need to be asked so that time does not get wasted with the wrong prospects.
6. Making closing a painful or time-consuming process
In the sales world, it is assumed that closing is an easy part for the prospect. Most often than not, this is a wrong assumption. It should be the aim of the sales rep to ensure that the buyer does not feel or come under any kind of pressure so that the chances of them making a positive decision are higher. Pushing the prospect way too hard by offering let’s say discounts to make sure closing happens makes the sales rep look really anxious and desperate, and should be avoided at all costs!
What are some of the mistakes you might know of that can potentially lead to a failure of a sales process? Do let us know in the comments section! And if you liked what you read, do share in your social circles.