[caption id="attachment_25050" align="alignleft" width="209"]By Judy Taibi of Taibi Group[/caption]
Most sales professionals think that "closing the sale" is the last step in the process of securing a prospect's commitment to do business. The first steps of closing a sale begin at the start of engaging a prospective client. It is not an isolated, single event.
The reality of today's economy is that no one can really be sold.
With the abundance of information online, prospects may know as much or more than we do about competitive offerings. There may be a genuine uniqueness to your product or service, but it may not be of measurable importance to a potential customer. Make your sales process the differentiation between you and others. Uncover what emotionally motivates your prospect, discuss your offering in terms of satisfying those needs.
Don't spill all your candy in the lobby.
As professional salespeople, we are proud of our services or products and want to impress folks with our knowledge. Guess what - they probably don't care. Until you learn what kind of "candy" they like, you may be offering a long list of benefits and features that only you think are important. Remember: Professional selling is not about telling.
Listen and sell first - educate later.
Closing the sale early on is a discovery and qualification discussion that uncovers the surface and underlying reasons why the prospect is meeting with you. Missing the emotional tag that motivates your customer may result in missing the sale.
Be disciplined - your compensation and lifestyle depend on it.
Learn about the business or industry of your prospect and develop a list of pre-call questions to gain credibility. Most people are passionate about their work. Demonstrate that you have taken the time to learn about their world if you want them to learn about yours.
Get to the budget and decision-making process BEFORE launching into an elaborate presentation.
If there are insufficient resources or the real decision maker is not involved in the process, you may well be wasting your time and energy.
Judy Taibi is a business owner with over 25 years of experience in senior sales, management and leadership roles. Sandler Training is the global leader in innovative sales, management and leadership training.