One of the skills we reinforce and model during Richardson sales training sessions is the Close: asking for the business or next steps to maintain momentum on sales opportunities. This is something sales professionals struggle with, as do clients who don’t want to be pressured into making buying decisions.
That’s why getting clients invested in the Close early on in the sales process is so important.
How this plays out is a lesson in role play — not the kind we do in our training sessions but in adopting different roles depending on the sales scenario.
Here are three sales closing techniques and roles for getting clients invested in the Close:
- Be a cheerleader. Early in a sales call, talk to the person about desired results. Learn what is important to them both professionally and personally. With that information, you can become a cheerleader giving them a pep talk. “You are in a position where this could be career-defining for you. Have you ever thought of it this way?” Then paint a picture with examples and evidence to support this statement. People who are fortunate enough to be leading these kinds of projects have the opportunity to make an impact in a meaningful way.
- Be a visionary. The more insight you can provide someone — from anticipating potential barriers or navigating within their organization to assisting them with their own internal business cases — you are helping them to become evangelists for the project, both when you’re there, and even more important when you’re not. It’s this kind of behind-the-scenes support that can make a real difference. If you can identify sponsors and then develop them so that they have this level of commitment to the project, then the Close becomes very reliable.
- Be a politician. Often, there is more than one person involved in a buying decision. With complex deals, there might even be a steering committee or other groups of stakeholders. It’s important for you to understand the political currents that can affect the Close. For example, the steering committee typically will schedule an important meeting to discuss the pending decision. This is where the team leader will take a recommendation forward and the steering team will have a conversation and make a decision. In this scenario, prepare your clients for something that they may not expect: an anti-sponsor. Be ready for the moment when that person tries to turn the conversation in the opposite direction. Ask them to identify someone, in advance, who has high credibility with the team and can bring the conversation back on track. This is crucial because deals can be lost in that moment; however, if you protect the direction of the conversation, the moment passes, and the deal can be saved.
When you take on these different roles, supporting and nurturing the deal, your clients can become so invested in the Close that it’s almost like you’re closing the deal together.