This month I’ll focus on timing, specifically, the short window of opportunity that exists with most senior level executives. Your window of opportunity remains available only while you are in front of that person. As soon as you leave, your prospect is on to the next burning issue and you become out of sight and out of mind. Getting that prospect’s attention a second time becomes much more challenging and, in many cases, impossible. To succeed with this prospect, you must quickly get his attention and cover enough ground in the first meeting to get a commitment to work together. This actually shortens the sales cycle in what is typically viewed as a very long sell cycle.
Try this exercise. It will immediately help you become more effective closing sales.
Many sales professionals believe that closing is the act of asking for the business. They’re wrong. Asking for the business is simply the asking part. Closing is the getting it part. There are a number of events that can take place between the asking and the getting, most of which can delay or eliminate getting it part.
My wife and I just returned home from a trip to Italy. In the walled city of Pisa, home of the leaning tower, we were repeatedly approached by an army of peddlers, offering great deals on counterfeit watches, handbags, belts and sunglasses. Most of their attempts to close were very transparent and ineffective.
We just returned from a trip to Cancun where, once again, I was struck with how easily, the people with something to sell, ask for your business. In America and Canada, a huge percentage of salespeople seem almost embarrassed to ask – even when they’ve earned the right. In Cancun, the salespeople haven’t earned the right, haven’t even shaken hands, and they’re already asking. It’s the way that business has been done for centuries. It’s honorable. It’s a way of life.
I’ve written about how to be more effective at closing time, but what happens when the opportunity isn’t closing, doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to closing, and you know you need to move things along? Here are some do’s and don’ts:
Happy New Year! The holidays, now a week in our rear-view mirror, expose one of the biggest weaknesses that salespeople have. Nearly all salespeople head into the holidays intending to get as much business closed before Christmas as possible. Did you? Good. The problem is that only the top tier of salespeople succeed at getting most of that business closed – before Christmas. The rest, good intentioned and committed as they are, tend to run into two problems. 1) They have difficult reaching prospects; and 2) they have trouble getting them closed.
I wrote about Closing Urgency in last week’s Baseline Selling Tip. One salesperson, who believed I wrote it for him, proved himself correct. I had an unusual print job that needed to be completed within a week. My assistant was having difficulty identifying a local printer that could handle the job and get it done on a timely basis. “Bob” learned about the print job and with as much urgency as I’ve ever seen, contacted a one of his closable prospects, a printer. He and the printer both showed considerable urgency, appearing in my office within an hour.
Most salespeople could use a little help at closing time. It’s not with the prospects who say yes or no, it’s with prospects who can’t say yes or no. They need more time, need to think about it, need to discuss it, need to compare your offerings, or need a better price. Today we’ll discuss what salespeople can do about all that.
Last week I conducted a live Baseline Selling seminar on Overcoming Objections. Today I’ll provide you with the lessons learned from the Objections seminar. Use it as a checklist to gauge how you’re doing and if there’s something you don’t understand, email me for more info at *protected email*.