We meet and work with sales managers all over the globe and a question we are asked frequently is, “Why can’t my sellers close the deal?” It is an important question to consider, but we must first establish a few assumptions.
- Sellers want to close the deal - it’s how they get paid and makes them feel great!
- Closing is the last stage of the sales cycle* – they had to work had on some form of discovery, proposal and negotiation to get to this stage
- Buyers want and need to buy - they will place the order with someone
- Buyers create a supplier short list – they see value or your firm doesn’t make the cut
So, why do so many sellers struggle when it comes time to ask for the order? Short answer: Lack of confidence! You’re likely thinking, “No kidding, Sherlock!” The lack of confidence to close business is embedded in the second assumption above - the first stages of the sales cycle*. There is no mystery here - closing with confidence is initiated at the first, “Hello.”
How many buyers grow frustrated by the seller’s lack of insight and understanding? Their nervousness is symptomatic of a lack of attention to the details working up to the close and in doing so, they diminish their ability to communicate and have confidence in the value they bring to the table.
Let’s have a look at what sales managers can do to coach their sellers to a greater level of confidence in closing business by going back to the beginning:
- Discovery requires a deep dive to gain value insights into the buyer’s industry, their customer base, the competition they manage, and the challenges they face.
- Effective proposals must have punch! Start with value insights and the measurable impact the firm’s solution will have on the buyer’s business objectives.
- Negotiations require focused preparation and deliberate planning. Know the buyer, understand the selling position and develop a winning strategy.
So, if your sellers lack the ability to close the deal, place greater importance and attention to the details at the beginning of the sales cycle then role play buyer scenarios to build their confidence in winning the buyers at the first, “Hello”!
*Note: The nomenclature used to define your organization’s sales cycle may differ but the intent will be the same. Manage the pipeline through stages to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources and increase forecast accuracy.