Why most sales individuals fail to close
Closing deals is an art, how many times have you heard that line? Do you agree? I don’t. Closing deals is a science, it’s about knowing your market and above all standing your ground. Before I dig deep into this post, I want to give you a quick disclaimer: Some of the tips I am going to pass out might be specific to SaaS sales. Having said that, I believe it might help you become a better sales individual overall!
With all the above said, let’s dive in and see if I can help you become a better sales individual!
You don’t know your competition well enough
How many times has a prospect said “Well we are getting this product 20% cheaper from your competitor!”
Poor sales individuals will struggle to come back from that.
A good sales man would ask “Can you name the competitor?”
But it does not end there. Once you know who the mystery competitor is, you need to know your competition well enough to know if what your prospect is saying is even possible.
I am not saying buyers lie, what I am saying is that they usually make a quick glance of the competition and assume that they are comparing apples with apples. If you know what your prospect wants, and you know what your competition offers, you will know instantly if a fair comparison is happening.
Ironically, a sales individual will spend hours in knowing his prospect but not knowing his competition. In all my years of selling, I have truly discounted when I know an apple to apple comparison is happening.
But this cases where the only objection is pricing, what about when you are being compared as a viable solution and your competition is also in the running? Your market knowledge will decide how confident you are at handling all the comparison questions that are coming your way!
You are letting your prospects push you around
Prospects don’t always want to commit paying for a software. A poor sales individual will let his prospect push them around, not give them clear answers or just let them ask for extension after extension on a trial.
Every sales individual I have trained has had his issues with ‘tough conversations’. When I call it a tough conversation, it’s exactly that. Sales individuals struggle to ask clear questions like “What is the hold up in going with this?”. “What is stopping you from committing to my product?”
Anyone who has worked with me, will tell you that I am very comfortable with denying trial extensions. I am comfortable tell my prospects “That is not a fair comparison.”.
The next time you find your prospect stalling, don’t be afraid to have a frank and clear conversation with your prospect.
Here is an excerpt of an email I wrote to prospect who was trying to ask for repeat product walk-throughs without any serious intent to buy:
I will be happy to do another demonstration. However, I would not like to waste your time or mine.
I would like to ensure that you are looking for a solution in the immediate future.
Many of you reading this article might find this aggressive or direct. But you must understand your time is equally precious as the prospect’s. You need to make sure you have that tough conversation with your prospect.
Your initial qualification sucked
Qualifying a prospect to make sure he is a good fit for your product is vital. Go back to the last 5 deals you lost and verify that your prospect was a good fit for your product. If not, you have a problem.
Working on a deal and losing it is a reality. You cannot win every deal in your pipeline. What is not acceptable, is spending time and money on a prospect that should not have been a prospect in the first place.
Your manager is mostly going to talk to you about your active deals. As a sales individual, you should be investing time in figuring out why you lost a deal.
If you are in a SDR-AE setup, you need set clear expectations with your SDRs. Not to mention, you need to make sure you can have a tough conversation with your SDR when the time comes.
And finally.. you need to a better job of showing value
This is the most obvious suspect. You simply don’t understand your product or prospect well enough to show them what is truly valuable. Showing value is essential to closing a deal and most prospects avoid committing to a product because they are simply not convinced about it.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this. Not to mention, there are books written on how you can show better value and be a consultant as opposed to a sales individual. But the good news is, there is plenty of information on how you can fix this.