“Always be closing” is a phrase that’s been drilled into the heads of salespeople for decades. And while pushy, aggressive sales tactics may have worked back in the day, the nature of our modern, connected culture means that these types of sales efforts tend to fall flat on their faces more often than not.
Now before you go get your torches and pitchforks, know now that I’m not saying that you need to ditch the idea of closing a sale entirely—that doesn’t even make any sense. But what I am saying, however, is that there’s a far more effective way to go about it.
Buyers don’t care about being sold to, but they do care a great deal about making purchases that solve their own unique set of problems. This is where you come into the picture—in a time of savvier, more knowledgeable buyers and greater corporate transparency, your path to success is found by lending a helping hand to your sales prospects.
The following three steps are key ways you can ditch the “always be closing” mindset for good, thus helping your sales prospects more fully solve their problems:
* Step #1: Do Some Digging
One of the first things you should do if you want to truly help your customers is … take a deep breath—okay, are you ready? Shut up. Might sound harsh, but it’s true …
Quite simply, you need to let your prospect do a lot of the talking if you want to have any chance of making a successful sales pitch. You won’t learn anything by blabbing on about how great your product is. But as you listen, you’ll discover exactly what you need to know to make a sale.
One of the best methods for doing your digging is to make the right inquiries. Find out if there is a question, concern or pain point that your product or service can directly address—this is what you’ll want to zero in on. If a particular prospect doesn’t have a relevant pain point, you can stop wasting your time (and theirs) on a bad lead and move on to someone else you can really help.
By using simple, open-ended questions and focusing on what a person needs, you’ll be better equipped to learn what truly matters to your prospects and find ways to help them.
* Step #2: Pinpoint Your Prospect’s Positioning
By asking questions, you can also determine how far along your sales prospect is in their purchasing decision. After all, there are several stages of the buying decision process, and the type of assistance an individual needs (and their readiness to make a purchase) is directly related to which stage they are in.
For example, a prospect who is just beginning to perceive a problem or need should likely be passed back to your marketing team. Customers who haven’t even begun vendor research typically aren’t ready to make a purchase, and as such, would likely be wasting their time speaking with you.
As prospects get farther along in their decision-making process, however, they become more likely to benefit from your help. Prospects who have researched potential solutions to their needs and have committed themselves to devoting resources to finding a solution to their problems are usually much more ready to make a purchase.
Determining where your prospects are in this process will help everyone involved make more effective use of their time—and get better results, too.
* Step #3: Make the Necessary Adjustments
After you’ve dug deep to discover your prospect’s pain points and pinpointed where they are in the decision-making process, it’s time to put that information to work.
A canned, run-of-the-mill sales pitch isn’t going to help your prospects make their decision. You need to use what you’ve learned to tailor your message to their unique needs.
As you continue to build your dialogue around what your prospect actually needs and make them the focus of your message, they’ll gain a better understanding of what you have to offer. When this happens, you won’t be selling your product—instead, your prospects will sell themselves.
By ditching the “always be closing” mindset and focusing on how your product or service will legitimately help a prospect’s unique needs, you’ll form meaningful customer relationships that will help guide the conversation towards a successful outcome for everyone.
By now, you know the drill—I want to hear what you have to say about this important aspect of modern-day sales. How do you help guide your sales prospects through their purchasing decision? What do you do to help your sales team avoid the “always be closing” mentality?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below. I look forward to seeing what you have to say! Until then, thanks for reading, and have a great day!