How to stop selling and start closing

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How do you make sure your prospect says yes to your proposal?

Studies show that 92% of sales people give up after four "no's" without realising that 80% of prospects say "no" four times before they say "yes." This indicates that only 8% of salespeople are closing 80% of the deals.

To be part of the 8% that gets better results, you need to have the mindset of a closer—which is very different from being a regular salesperson. Both are equally important in your sales team but it’s crucial to differentiate their roles in your business to maximise their strengths.

What’s the difference between sellers and closers?

Your sales team is responsible for your business’ targeted growth, specifically in generating revenue and closing deals. Two of the major players in your sales team include salespersons (or sellers) and closers. 

“Selling” refers to the ability to describe the features and benefits of a product or service to persuade a potential customer on why they should buy it. There are different selling personality types, ranging from assertive and friendly to expressive and analytic. A competent salesperson utilises more than one type to approach different prospects, depending on which works best.

On the other hand, “closing” is helping a customer decide to say yes on their purchase. A closer, aside from having sales skills and experiences, also has an attitude that makes them persistent, persevering, and patient as they confidently turn a prospect’s “no” into a “yes.”

Are both sellers and closers important in a small business?

Having both in your team ensures that your business has sellers who provide essential and relevant information about your offerings to prospects and closers who decisively turn those prospects into actual customers. Your sellers have broader reach while your closers have more focused targets.

For both of them to be productive and successful in generating revenue, it’s important to find the right sellers and closers for your business. Hiring the wrong people results in toxic work cultures, ineffective business production and operations, and even major errors that can damage the reputation of your small business. Getting the right people with a similar mindset and values as you greatly contributes to your business’ success.

Having a closer (or being one) also directly benefits your overall business bottomline. A closer reduces customer turnover because they build and maintain relationships (i.e. it’s not just a sale for them). And while their confident attitude is a big part of their personality, closers also have sustainable and repeatable processes and strategies to consistently close deals with different prospects.

4 ways to close a sale for your small business

Here are four strategies that will give you a closer’s mindset and help you get better sales results.

1. Identify the decision-maker and involve them in the negotiations

A decision-maker has the full power to say yes or no to a closer’s proposal. So whether you’re approaching a small business or a larger organisation, it’s important to include the decision-maker/s at the very beginning. Without their involvement and buy-in, the deal won’t be closed.

It’s important to identify and involve the decision-maker in the closing process as soon as possible because this allows you to build a relationship with them and learn their motivations. This can help you in highlighting key features or benefits of your offerings that will best address your prospect’s needs or pain points.

This also allows the sales cycle to move faster because the approvals and negotiations are directly communicated with the decision-maker rather than working with a staff member who serves as a middle-person for the decision-maker.

Just remember to have the right attitude so that the decision-makers you’re negotiating with take you seriously. If you don’t move with confidence and assert yourself, they’re just going to dismiss you and move on to the next closer with a proposal. 

2. Know your real prospects (and disqualify others if necessary)

Selling to the wrong prospects is often a common mistake made by sellers. It’s easy to veer off course when you focus too much on potential, middling prospects who might say yes. But because you spend so much time trying to persuade them, you miss out on real prospects that will happily close deals with you.

Because they know the brand they’re representing and promoting, a closer understands the profile of their ideal prospect. They don’t waste time with indecisive prospects. They focus on real potential customers: People who have the resources to work with you, who are great to work with, and who can ultimately decide on approving your proposal.

Disqualifying a prospect doesn’t necessarily mean burning bridges and never talking to them again. This means that a closer will find someone else in their organisation to talk to about the deal or simply move on to the next target.

3. Pitch the product features and benefits

Traditionally, sellers used a “solution-selling method” which focused on pitching how their products are the solution to their customers’ problems. And while it is still important to highlight how your business addresses specific pain points, customers now prefer knowing the added value your products and services provide.

Because we live in the information age, most prospects actually have an idea of what product or service they’re looking for. They most likely know already what problem your business tries to solve. But the question in their minds is: Is it better than the rest? To your prospects, it’s a matter of reviewing and comparing brands and determining which one will give them the most value for their purchase. 

As a closer, focusing on the added value of your product or service will show them why it’s better than its competitors.

4. Use the right closing technique

A closer knows that each prospect will have a different personality and way of handling negotiations. A successful closer will know how to use varied closing techniques in handling different prospects, depending on their personality and how they react to a proposal.

These are some of the most common examples of closing techniques:

  • The Assumptive Close: This relies on the power of positive thinking. If the closer assumes that the negotiations will go well (and follows through with an amazing deal), it greatly influences the way they act throughout the entire sales cycle.

  • The Hard Close: You need a lot of confidence and assertiveness to carry out this closing technique. It shows the decision-maker how much you believe and stand by your product, and influences the way they perceive your proposal. It’s best used later on in the sales cycle, when you’re sure that the proposal will be accepted.

  • The Backwards Close: The typical sales cycle starts with “prospecting and qualifying” but this technique starts where most cycles end. So, when the prospect realises you’re not aggressively trying to sell them something during the initial meetings, they’ll be more receptive to your proposal.

  • The Summary Close: This is helpful when you’re trying to offer two or more products at a time. Summarising your products and services will help your prospects differentiate between them and understand that they’re getting the value they want with what you’re offering. 

  • The Puppy Dog Close: If you offer a dog lover to take a puppy home and “try it out”, nine out of 10 times, the customer will end up buying it. Depending on your business, you can allow your prospect to have a test drive of your products or services. This will entice them and make it more likely for them to sign the dotted line.

Got any more questions about becoming a closer and using effective closing strategies? Give us a call.

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