The Best Sales Hacks Happen at the Beginning of the Sale
Don’t you hate when you get to the end of the sale, you are ready to close and suddenly, the whole process slows down? Slowing down is the last thing you want when you are trying to close deals to meet quota. Remember that old adage “You need to slow down to go faster?” It applies here. If we slow down at the beginning of the sales process, and cover all the bases, the end of the sale should go smoother. That is why the best Sales Hacks happen at the beginning of the sales process.
So here are 10 Sales Hacks that take time in the beginning and save time at the end.
ONE: Create an Ideal Customer Criteria and use it to qualify leads. If you want a higher close ratio, find better prospects. Remember that the marketing department is evaluated on leads delivered. You are compensated for deals closed. Don’t waste time on leads that aren’t a good fit. If you want an even better critera, use data to create it.
TWO: Manage your funnel. Make a little time everyday for the top of the funnel. The more qualified leads you have coming in the top, the more you are able to focus on leads with a shorter sales cycle or higher payoff. Let’s face it; with nothing coming in the top, you are likely to waste time on leads that won’t close. There are many programs to help you create and manage your funnel. SalesForce is just one.
THREE: Do your research. What things do you need to know about the company, people or industry before you walk in? What things have happened in the past that might make them wary? Why are they looking for this solution now? If you don’t have time to do the research properly, there are companies that will do it for you.
FOUR: Understand your customer. You may already know what they want to buy, but do you know what they want to achieve personally and professionally? When you know that, you can present only the information that is relevant to them. It will simplify the discussion and keep the customer focused and more engaged.
FIVE: Ask good questions and listen – really listen. Give them all the time they want to talk. They will probably tell you everything you need to know to close the deal if you let them. Write down what they say, don’t interrupt, don’t plan your answer and don’t forget to breathe.
SIX: Make sure your solution is solving a problem for them. Make sure it’s a good fit. Tell them if there is a mismatch and see if you can find a work-around. Ask the questions to let you know if it is a good fit. Don’t avoid the questions that you don’t want to hear the answer to.
SEVEN: Watch the client’s signals. Are you in step with them, or have you gotten ahead of them? If you get too far ahead, the sale will slow down. Ask for clear next actions along the way, so the sale doesn’t get stalled. End each meeting with an agreement on your next action, and their next action with an agreed upon date. You can even send a calendar invite.
EIGHT: Make sure you fully understand their buying process. What is their timeline? Who will be involved? Who else will be affected by the purchase? What processes will the purchase impact? How flexible is the budget? Who approves the budget? Who will sign the contract? Will legal need to review the contract? Create a list of these critical questions and keep them in front of you.
NINE: Familiarize yourself with the buying checklist and confirm that you have addressed everything on it. Determine if there are any items on the checklist that you can’t address and how important they are to the decision.
TEN: Prepare all the way through for the closing question. If you have done your homework, you will know what the closing questions need to be.