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When you finally get a meeting with the prospect you’ve been chasing for what feels like years, the sales cycle is far from complete. Now it’s time for closing the deal—which requires a different kind of persistence than lining up the meeting in the first place. If you want to take these prospects over the finish line, these five recommendations from Carver Peterson Consulting will make sure you convert prospects to customers.
5 Steps to Closing More Deals
- Ask timely and relevant questions. When you go into a meeting prepared, it makes all of the difference in the flow of the conversation. Do your homework on the background of the business and the person you are meeting with so that you can prepare questions that are specific to their unique industry, growth trajectory and more. Don’t waste their time by asking questions that are on the company website, unless you are confirming relevant information. Then, prepare a list of purposeful and open-ended questions that require thought provoking answers. (Find out more about this approach in our blog, “Question Based Selling.”)
- Listen! Build trust with your prospects by paying close attention to both what they are saying and not saying. The art of actively listening, asking questions to help them elaborate and to keep the conversation moving forward requires patience. Don’t jump in to steer the conversation back to what you’re selling. Instead, continue to ask questions that demonstrate that you genuinely want to gain a deeper understanding of their goals. “The ability to actively listen has been proven to dramatically improve the capabilities of a professional salesperson,” says Keith Rosen in his article Active Listening is an Essential Sales Tool. “Ironically, listening is the least developed skill amongst salespeople.” Making listening a priority will automatically separate you from the pack.
- Identify their pains. Active listening will give you the opportunity to clearly and accurately identify the pain points of your prospect—which is a roadmap to offering them a solution that will inspire them to buy what you are selling. Don’t just focus on the first problem that you hear. Instead, dig deeper and wait for them to reveal the pain that will inspire them to make a change—after all, in most cases your biggest competition is the status quo.
- Offer a solution. Only once you know the prospect’s real pains should you develop a solution that is tailored to their unique situation. This is the phase where all of those questions and hard listening pays off, and you present them with options to solve their problems. Put together a thoughtful proposal that addresses the main issues for the customer. Walk them through how you will solve their problem and why, without being generic. Then package it up in a professional way that tells a story they can believe in.
- Prove it to them. The best way to showcase your expertise is by sharing a recent success story where you solved a similar problem. Outline how you were able to alleviate another client’s pain, and provide a case study breaking down the situation, including testimonials from the client and clear results. Then, offer to connect them with the key decision maker so they can tell you about their experience. As we discuss in Don’t Take My Word For It, there is nothing as valuable as a third party endorsement.
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