Closing a sale is not easy these days. With an uncertain economy looming, and customers who are slowing their enthusiasm to spend money and take risks. Add to that the competitive landscape and the ability your customers have to buy anything they want online, and you have at best a challenging sales environment.
And while you may be great at getting in the door, getting customers to sit down and talk with you, if you’re like a lot of sales people these days you still struggle to close the sale.
Why? Well there could be any number of reasons but the biggest is that you most likely don’t understand just how much the sales cycle and your customers have changed. Think about it, how customer’s buy, how they get information, and how they make decisions these days has all shifted. In today’s marketplace, your customers are no longer dependent upon you as the sales person for any of those things. In fact, your customers can buy whatever they want to, whenever they want to, and from whomever they want to. They can even buy it without you.
The only reason your customers are doing business with you is beause they know you, they like you and they trust you. That means it’s not what you sell in today’s marketplace but how you sell it that matters. And how you sell, it has everything to do with rethinking the sales process. Understanding which parts of the sales process are most important – and which need the most attention.
See while the process of sales may be the same in today’s marketplace how you approach that process and where you emphasize customer value is different. If you’re struggling to close the sale, then you need to re-look at your approach to the discovery process. That part of sales where you first make true connection with your prospect.
Discovery, in my opinion, is one of the most critical parts of the process because when done right you’ve made a customer for life. Do it wrong, and you not only lose the sale you lose future sales and referrals.
In the past, you could treat discovery like a step, as if as if you know your prospects name, a few things about their business, then you have done your due diligence and you are connected. But see in today’s marketplace, discovery is so much more than a step. In fact, it is an actual emotional exchange between you and your prospect, and it matters because it’s the point at which your prospect is deciding if they like you, if they trust you.
And if your prospect decides no they do not like you, they don’t trust you, and then the sale will most likely not close. If they decide yes, you not only close the sale you just opened up the door for more business and referrals. Discovery is the key to more success in closing more sales.
4 Strategies To Get Discovery Right
- Understand What Discovery Is – Discovery is the point of the sales process where you are figuring out your customers, who they are, what matters to them and how they want to be sold. Discovery is the roadmap your customer gives you to how to close the sale.
- Read The Clues – Discovery is about reading the clues. What your customers say and more importantly what they don’t say. Customer’s talk with more than words. Their body language, tone of voice, pace at which they move, all tell you how your prospect wants to be treated, how they want to be sold and what they value.
- Respond To Urgent Need – Urgent need matters because it is what is most important to your prospect, what is top of mind. If you’re there to sell widgets, and your prospect is talking about what a bad day they had, you discuss that first. If you are there to sell widgets that drive sales, and your prospect is telling you they are more worried about the widgets that attract employees, you better take their lead. See prospects cannot hear your solutions until you acknowledge their urgent need.
- Overfill The Sales Funnel – Doing discovery right is about being patient, slowing down and listening –really listening. All hard to do when you have sales goals and quotas to meet right. So the only way to slow the sales process down is to overfill your sales funnel. Have so much moving through the pipeline so that you are fine if discovery takes longer, or your prospect needs more information. This is a marketplace where as a sales person patience is a virtue, and the need for instant gratification is a curse. If you need a sale to close, you will push it to close. Push a sale in today’s marketplace and you will push the customer right out the door.
Everything about today’s marketplace has changed, so doesn’t it make sense you would need a different approach to how you connect with prospects, and how you encourage them to close the sale?
Taking the time at the beginning of the sale to use the discovery process to create trust, will position you to better connect with prospects, build the trust, and close more sales and succeed no matter what this economy does.