Closing the sale involves building a consensus between all stakeholders in the decision making process. You basically earn your seat at the closing table – then facilitate the process and direct the next actions.
So, how do your earn this coveted seat?
- Make your reservation.
- Invite everyone to the party.
- Connect with all stakeholders.
- Ask great questions.
- Direct the next steps.
Make your reservation:
When you want to eat at the best restaurants – and you are not already a regular customer that is known by the personnel, you need to make a reservation. The same holds true for the best customers. Make your reservation at the closing table by doing the following:
- Do your research and understand your prospect’s challenges as much as possible before your meetings.
- Do your research and understand the potential risks that may be in the future for your prospect.
- Find ways to provide value in some form to each stakeholder prior to the actual sales process – can be in the form of useful articles, tools, etc.
- Find a trusted person that you have in common, who can provide a reference for you.
Invite everyone to the party:
- Make sure that no one is left out if they have influence over the final decision.
- Ask your contact about the decision making process and who will be involved.
- Stress the importance of knowing all of the players in order to build the consensus.
Connect with all stakeholders:
- Personal and electronic contact should be made with all involved parties.
- Ask them questions about the issues that affect them and find out how you can help.
- Look for them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites and build personal connections.
- Be genuine and authentic about your interest in them, their issues, and the solutions to their specific needs.
Ask great questions:
- Plan great questions prior to your meeting that will get your prospect to voice their issues and what they perceive to be the best solutions.
- Plan great questions that will bring any issues to the table in areas that your client may not be aware are coming around the corner.
- Plan questions that will walk your prospects through a thought process that builds a solution together with you as their partner.
Direct the next steps:
- First, understand their buying process and their specific needs.
- Second, take leadership in what the next steps should be in order for you to provide a solution.
- Gain agreement from the prospect on those next steps.
My favorite closing question was actually more of a statement… “This is what we need to do next.”
What is the worst example of a closing question or statement that you have ever heard?