This is a guest contribution from the team at HubSpot in conjunction with Structurely
HubSpot guest contributor bio
Dayne Topkin is a HubSpot UX Content Designer and versatile content professional born and raised in South Africa. He focuses on solving challenging user problems through content and education. By day, he sits on the HubSpot Product Team, researching user behavior and solving for the customer. And by night, he’s a blend of a storyteller, UX writer, and content designer who geeks out identifying user needs and finding the right content to meet those needs.
Often, closing a sale can seem like a make-or-break moment. And in most cases it is. If you’ve worked in sales for any amount of time, you understand the frustration that comes with a failed sales call. It’s the moment that determines whether your efforts throughout the sales process will amount to a closed deal. Choosing the right strategies at this stage of the process is critical.
It’s understandable then that many salespeople are apprehensive about the closing stage of the sales process. If you’re thinking that a “yes” or “no” depends on more than a specific closing strategy, you’re correct.
Closing the sale depends on far more than the closing strategy like whether you’ve built enough value in your product, or whether your prospect feels like you understand their biggest frustrations and can provide a solution to their business problems.
That said, using the right closing strategy can and does still make a difference. Let’s take a look at example closing strategies you can use to close more deals, why they work, and when you should use them.
Closing Strategy Examples
Closing strategies are not only meant to ensure that you make the sale but they’ll also help you bring the sales process to an end.
The last thing you want to do is have an indecisive prospect dictate the pace of your conversation and end up wasting a larger amount of time. Keep in mind that you should never rush your prospect to a decision, but there are ways to communicate the urgency to move forward in a way that keeps your prospect comfortable.
1. Adopt The Right Mindset
One of the first and most important closing strategies is to realize that you’re not selling. You’re probably wondering what it is salespeople do then, right? Salespeople help people buy. I sat down with Bryan Elsesser, Sales Director at Aircall, and he says:
“Salespeople don’t sell, they help people purchase. They help businesses solve different issues and challenges. If more salespeople can identify and adopt that mindset it makes not only approaching the close that much easier but the entire sales process too.”
As you begin a conversation with a prospect, it’s important that you reframe your mindset when you’re approaching the close or any stage of the sales process for that matter.
Adopting the mindset that you’re not selling but instead helping people purchase will set a precedent for how you approach the entire sales process.
Remember, your role is to be an ally to your customers. Help them figure how to solve the problems they’re facing in their business.
2. Trial Close Throughout The Sales Process
Talking too much about yourself and your product. It’s a common mistake that many salespeople fail to correct. It’s far too easy to enter a meeting or hop on a video call and immediately dive into a monologue about your product’s features, your company, and the services you offer. We get it. You’re excited about your product and your company but you need to slow down. Mark Wayshak, founder of Sales Strategy Academy and bestselling author, says that, and I quote:
“The most successful salespeople understand that prospects don’t care about them—or even their product or service. Prospects only care about solving their greatest challenges.”
He’s right. If you spend most of the time with your prospect talking, how will you know what your prospect’s deepest frustrations are? And how will you know whether your product can solve those frustrations?
Two of the skills you need to develop and refine as a salesperson is asking good questions and listening actively to your prospects.
These two skills will help you give your prospect the floor, give you the opportunity to uncover their deepest frustrations, and help you understand how your product can provide a solution to said frustrations.
But how does asking good questions and listening actively help you when you’re in the closing phase of the sales process? Well, before you close a deal, you need to know whether your prospect is ready to close, and asking good questions—specifically trial close questions—can help you answer that question.
WebStrategies defines trial close questions as open-ended, opinion-asking questions. They enable you as the salesperson to assess where you are in the sales process and evaluate the readiness of your prospect to ask for the sale.
Trial closing is asking questions along the way to ensure that your prospect is picking up what you’re putting down and simultaneously that you’re getting buy-in for what it is you’re selling.
Using trial-close questions can help you learn where your business stands with your prospect. These questions, depending on the way you ask them, also remind your prospect that you’re listening attentively to their needs. Starting your questions by repeating what you’ve heard from the prospect is a good way to reinforce that you’re listening. The more yes moments you have when asking trial-close questions, the more information you have. The same can be said about “no” moments. If a prospect answers no to a trial-close question, it’s likely they’ll clarify with further information.
Here are 4 distinct questions you can use as trial close questions:
- As a way to get more information
- As a way to clarify what the prospect is saying
- As a way to tie down a next step
- As a way to outline all the information you have to then use as you pitch your solution
If you haven’t already, it’s worth incorporating trial close questions as a fundamental piece of your sales strategy. It ties into the essential skills of asking good questions and actively listening. Skills all salespeople need to continue to refine and work and work on.
3. Prepare for Complex Negotiations
Another important strategy to keep in mind is the larger your deal, the more stakeholders you’ll need. According to Bryan, Sales Director at Aircall,
“If you're accustomed to selling larger deals you may feel that you only need to sell a single person. And in many cases, that's just not the case. You need to discover, all throughout the sales process, who needs to be a part of the deal. It's also important to mention that on the larger deals you're negotiating, your decision to move forward with your decision-maker, that may only be one of many different types of negotiation or decisions that need to be made. Many people forget about what happens when you hit the legal department. And red lines need to happen. . If you identify, very early on, how a business purchases a product like yours then that final closing moment won’t yield any surprises. You know that it's going to be more than one person that you need to close. You may get a yes from your decision-maker but it may not mean that you're going to do business yet.“
Larger deals generally require more decision-makers, lengthier negotiations, and interactions. Keep in mind the same applies to smaller deals, the more you understand the business and its process the easier it is for you to help them buy your solution.
Every Sales Process is Unique
It’s important to keep in mind that each and every sales process is unique. You’ll want to take these strategies and tactics and tailor them to suit your sales process and selling strategy. And lastly, if there’s one thing you can take away from this article, let it be this: closing is not limited to a specific stage in the sales process. Every interaction, phone call, video chat, demonstration, negotiation, even objection, is an opportunity to optimize for the close.
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