Many have misconceptions on how exactly to “win a sale”. You have a qualified prospect, you’re sitting in front of them, and for some reason you walk away from the meeting without a check in hand (or even without the promise of a check at a later time). Here are a few quick steps to getting more than a, “we’ll be in touch,” when you walk out the door.
1. Keep the “me” talk short!
Contrary to what you may believe, you’re not there to talk about yourself, your company, your products or your services. I know it’s outrageous isn’t it? Truthfully, you’re there to talk about their needs. They invited you in, because they have a need and the best thing you can do is give them ample opportunity to express that need to you. People are always more comfortable talking about themselves. So get them started. Give a short introduction to your services and products and then let them blabber.
2. Ask questions that address their needs
Now that we understand that we’ve been invited for their benefit and not ours, we need to exhibit this in the questions we ask. It’s best to have a few generally specific questions outlined before you go into the meeting. Yes, I did mean to say “generally specific”. These are questions that are general enough that they can cover numerous industries and professions, but specific enough to get a real answer from your prospect. For example, “What do you think are some of the strengths of your organization? Right now, where does your company excel?” Questions like this will get them talking and give you an abundance of information to use when it’s time to pitch.
Asking “yes” or “no” questions to a qualified lead, will only ensure that you don’t get any of their money.
3. Reaffirm their needs
As you’ve begun to draw the needs of your prospect out, you need to periodically reaffirm what they have been saying. Repeat it back to them, to ensure you have depth of understanding. For example, “So you really believe the extra attention to service you provide your customers is an area where your company shines!” This also give them the opportunity to clarify or correct any misconceptions you may have drawn. Beyond all else though, this step puts your prospect at ease, showing them you care and have been listening to what they are saying. People like to know we’re paying attention when they speak. It gives them a sense of establishment and power. But please, don’t just act like you’re listening, actually listen!
4. Outline specifically how you can meet those needs
This is the honesty stage. Honesty is so much more important than trying to land a sale just for the sake of being able to land it. So in this step, we want to specifically convey what needs we have heard in our conversation, and ways we can meet those needs. Don’t forget to tell them your prices in this step. Also, be sure to inform your prospect of what the expected results will be if they choose you or your company as a way to fulfill those needs. Now, it’s possible that some of the needs they have, you don’t have the ability to solve. That’s okay, tell them that. You have the potential to create a walking spokesperson for your company by not trying to force-sell them products they don’t need.
“We have not, because we ask not.” Make sure you ask for the sale, it isn’t just going to be handed to you.
5. Ask for the sale!
So you’ve introduced yourself and your organization. You’ve presented them with open questions and extracted a comprehensive assessment of their perceived needs and strengths. And you’ve provided your prospect with ways you believe you or your company can meet those needs. Why? Because you’re the BEST! So what’s left? You’re finished right? WRONG!! You forgot to ask for the money. This is the MOST important part of the entire process and the place many people get lost, forgetful and uncomfortable. You must ask for the money before you walk out. There are many ways you can do this. But you must remember you’re not there to just tell them about your company and why you’re so great and then walk out.
So before you leave, ask for the money. Some like to call it “assuming the sale”. You could say something as simple as, “When would you like to get started?” But either way, you must ask for the money, or you can almost guarantee not to get any. You want to reach your prospect while they are still “high” on your abilities and offerings. Don’t give them weeks to think about it. Don’t give them the time to look over their budget, or consider other offers, or determine, “Hey maybe we really don’t need this right now.” Never leave without asking for the sale.