9 Proven Techniques To Closing Sales Leads | Get More Sales [Guide]
Closing sales leads is an invaluable skill that should be mastered by every salesperson. After you’ve put in the hours to understand the prospect’s problems and desires, and slowly created a strong sense of rapport with them, faltering at the final hurdle can be demoralising.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the most effective methods to close sales. This article is a combination of one-time tactics, as well as long-term strategies that can gently nudge the prospect over the line, little-by-little. They can be a solution on how to close a sales call, how to close a sales pitch, or a general guide on selling better to your prospects.
Most of these methods work best for warm leads who are in the consideration or decision stage of the sales funnel, with some of them effective across the board.
1. Be authentic
Sales is a dirty word for some people, associated with a slippery salesperson whose book of tricks would make Satan blush. But sales isn’t an aggressive, unethical act that manipulates—it’s a way to help people solve their problems and achieve their goals. We purchase products and services with these two things in mind, and we want to get the most accurate, relevant information available to help make a decision.
An effective salesperson is someone who aims to understand the prospect’s goals or problems, and explains how their product can help to solve them. No nonsense or trickery is needed—just an honest conversation with the prospect’s best interests at heart. This helps to build a solid relationship between buyer and seller, and lowers the buyer’s resistance. They trust the seller because they’re being open with them.
Snake oil can get a few short-term wins, but it slowly poisons your reputation and business. It’s much more effective to be authentic, and really try to help the prospect solve their problem. This approach works well for expensive and complex products, which often need to be thoroughly explained.
2. Be persistent
Humans are cautious creatures. Only the most spontaneous of us leap headfirst into a “yes” before carefully considering our options. The rest of us are averse to risk, and mostly driven by a desire not to lose something, rather than a desire to gain something.
To overcome this tendency, a salesperson must be persistent. You can expect plenty of “no’s” before you receive a “yes,” have the confidence not to take them personally, and then skillfully address the prospect’s most vital needs to close the sale. This means contacting them on a regular basis, and at a time that suits them (more on this below). If you’re sure that the lead is still warm, don’t let them forget you.
3. Summarise the benefits
As touched on above, people buy things to solve problems and achieve goals. You buy a car to get around town, which allows you to see your friends and family more easily. You buy a hoodie to keep you warm in winter, perhaps one with a designer label that makes you look marginally cooler. You get a HubSpot plan to manage your customer relationships, and gradually grow your business. So if you’re selling something that truly helps to solve a problem for someone, it can help to summarise how it’s being solved.
For example, if you’re selling a ducted air conditioner, and you know that the customer wants an efficient system that they can control remotely, you can say “as one of the most efficient AC units on the market, you’ll save around $X per year on your energy bills. You’ll also be able to turn it on from your phone 30 minutes before you get home, so that it’s cool when you arrive.”
By reminding the prospect of the benefits that are most relevant to them, you’re improving your chance of success.
4. Now or Never Close
The Now or Never Close is when you offer something valuable such as a freebie or discount, but only if they sign up right now. It makes the prospect feel like they might lose something, which creates a strong sense of urgency and can persuade them to take the leap.
This tactic is best suited to people who are close to purchasing, but aren’t quite sure. The extra time-constrained benefit can create the motivation they need to move forward.
5. Appeal to their red and green brain
The red and green brain is a concept used to explain how we make decisions. The red brain is logical, which we use to rationally analyse the details of a product to decide whether we should buy it. The green brain is emotional, which we use to decide whether the product will fulfill our desires. When closing sales leads efficiently, you’ll need to give them rational, practical reasons why they might purchase your product, and also tap into their emotional side.
For example, if you were a Mercedes salesman, you’d explain the car’s ample boot size, comfortable seats, and reputed reliability (rational), while also highlighting how luxurious the brand is, and how esteemed their drivers tend to be (emotional). This lowers the buyer’s resistance and increases their acceptance, improving your chances of closing the sale.
6. Call at the right time
This is a tricky one to get right, especially for cold calls. It’s thought that the best time for a cold call is between 4 to 5pm, when most people are wrapping up their day, and more open to disruption.1
But if you’ve already had a chat with the prospect, it’s important to ask them their preferred time to chat. Noting this down and only calling during that time window can make a big difference to your success, because they’ll be free to talk to you, and properly engaged.
7. Use your USP
If your product or service has a USP (unique selling proposition), you’ll want to bring this to the customer’s attention, as it can help to elevate you above your competition. USPs vary depending on your style of business. A software firm might offer a 3-month free trial of their product; an arborist might offer a free health analysis for the trees in your garden, and an e-commerce business might offer free country-wide shipping for their heavy products.
Whatever your USP, it’s always worth mentioning to the customer, as it can help you to close the sale.
8. Offer a discount
Offering a discount is one of the oldest tricks in the sales book, and remains a highly effective way to close a sale. This tactic should be used sparingly, however, because it can reduce the perceived value of your product or service, and set an expectation for discounts in future. It also cuts your profits.
9. Give them two options
If it suits your product or service, it can help to present the prospect with two clear options. This shifts their focus from “should I buy this product” to “which of these products should I buy,” which can vastly improve your chances of success.
Steven Macdonald, The Best Time(s) of Day to Make a Sales Call in 2021, HubSpot
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