Aren’t we all looking for tips on how to close opportunities? But how could anyone possibly write tips to close opportunities successfully, knowing that every customer’s situation and challenges are different? Well, over the last six months, I have observed at sales trainings common challenges that salespeople face when selling with the Buyer’s Perspective, and I want to share these patterns with you. Focusing on these patterns and taking action benefits your chances of improving your closing ratios. Here we go!
1. Be selective
Increasing the probability of success starts with your pipeline. Be selective about which customers you can help grow their business. Spending time on customers for whom you cannot make a real business case for change is hoping for nothing. You become a prisoner of hope. You don’t want price to be the differentiator. What is the alternative? Where and how to start?
Focus on opportunities where you can be the kickstarter of the customer’s buying process: after meeting with you, your stakeholder wants to explore more and get others involved. Read this post to help you with that.
2. Define your business idea
Often misinterpreted, Why Change? – conversations are not about pitching your product and solutions. When your stakeholder is in love with your competitor, you should not be that stereotypical Go-Getter salesperson. Instead, come across as a business person with a good story about how you can help grow their business. This is your opportunity to show you are a Trusted Advisor. The better you define your business idea, the more your stakeholders will listen.
Ask yourself, will your business idea provide your customer a strategic advantage? If yes, then you have an excellent case to proceed.
3. Back your idea up with news, articles and stories
To get your stakeholder’s genuine attention, you need to bring third-party information to the table related to your business idea. The most robust insights come from research companies, industry articles, social media and business news channels. They are doing the work for you, and you must find them. Share these insights about the risks and opportunities you see for the customer. Don’t leave it with one message; follow up using different communication channels like phone, email, video messages, Whatsapp and Linkedin.
Customers are hungry for insights that help them move forward in their buying process. The best insights are delivered as stories. Use your experience of helping similar customers with your business idea and tell that story as if you are Walt Disney himself.
4. Most influencing happens when you are not there
Before leaving the customer’s premises or hanging up the phone, ask yourself one question: how impactful were your business ideas and insights? What will the stakeholders you just met do? What have they committed to? Will they continue with their emails as if meeting with you was just a “nice conversation”? Or will they take action and contact another stakeholder to share your insights? Ensure your stakeholder has that article, research paper or case study in their hands or inbox to share it with someone else. Enable them to influence others.
Most influencing of other stakeholders happens at coffee breaks and in lunch rooms.
5. Drive Buying Room consensus
Gone are the days of contacting the decision-maker and expecting to walk out the door with a contract under your arms. Not one but several stakeholders make decisions, often called the buying room. Treat the buying room as your treasure chest. Ensure you meet with critical stakeholders, get their opinions about your business idea and drive consensus. How to do that? Although some stakeholders may have their KPIs as their priority, drive consensus by bringing them together to focus on what they all have in common: a better business outcome for their company. Gaining consensus is the new closing.
Once you and your business idea move up the customer’s organisational chart, landing at the executive level, you must ensure you have the consensus from most of the buying room that your business idea makes sense and will generate additional top-line revenue.
Make sure you are prepared for these senior executive meetings. CEOs and business owners will ask whom you have spoken to and their opinions.
6. Calculate the business case for change
Once in the boardroom, there is only one thing executives want to know: what will your business idea mean to the top and bottom line, and what is the ROI? Be prepared and bring your calculator.
The business case for change needs to make sense, including the unique solution to make your business idea work and the quantifiable value of the desired business outcome.
Buyers are more receptive to talking to businesspeople who sell with the buyer’s perspective. In the long run, these types of salespeople will close more opportunities and be more successful. Good luck!