1) Start by knowing your personal close ratio and that of your organization:
- Top performing companies — 46% average close ratio
- Average — 29% average close ratio
- Lagging — 19% average close ratio
2) Take your preparation up several notches. Build your industry, company, and stakeholder knowledge and prepare insights and ideas to share with your clients.
3) Know where your clients are in their buying cycle and look at your sales process through their eyes.
4) Ask informed questions that indicate you have knowledge and experience to share and to motivate your clients to engage with you. Focus on the “why” and “why not” questions, not just the “what.” Understand as much as you possibly can about the business outcome before your visit and probe to understand the decision process, access the executive, understand the risks the client is concerned about and value you must be proved.
5) Ask who the competitors are, what their solutions include, and then ask the tough questions to find out how the customer feels you compare to the competitor.
6) Speed up your responsiveness — when a client asks for something, find out when he or she needs it and beat that time frame. Anticipate and deliver before the client asks for it.
7) Find ways to take the load off the client to keep things moving. For example, if he or she says “Let’s set a phone call to…” not only set the phone call but have a document ready to e-mail during the call to advance the discussion. Take an extra two steps.
8) Develop a client-coach and clients to coach.
9) Get coached. Discuss the deal with your sales manager or team member. Start early in the deal. Do this early in the deal. Mid to late in the deal will likely be too late.
10) Connect personally. You and what you bring to the sale is the sale. Give before you get.
11) Build your solution around business outcomes and value.
12) Ask your manager to conduct a win-loss for every deal to help you win the next one.
13) Set a reasonable goal with a time frame for increasing your close ratio by putting these ten practices to work