Saturday, May 9, 2015

Closing: Winning Sales Tips for Closing Effectively in 2015

Among the things that deserve some focus is closing. Whether the close is a client call, meeting, contract renewal or extension, or a new partnership or business agreement, each is an important transition point from the end of something to the start of something else. Done well, closing positions you for success, reinforces client confidence, and sets you up to execute on client expectations. In my coaching and classroom work this year, I continued to see confusion and struggles around the topic of closing. To help you or your team close sales meetings more effectively in 2015, let’s look at:

1. A readiness to close checklist

2. Winning practices

3. A process for closing any meeting effectively

Closing a meeting or deal often gets fumbled due to several common missteps. See how many of the following questions you can check off with a “Yes.” Have you: – Defined the close or the commitment(s) you will be seeking at this meeting? – Shared and validated the close with your team? – Decided who will close? – Overcome self-limiting obstacles, such as:
• Concerns about coming across as pushy, confrontational, or icky (sure, that’s a word)?
• Believing that clients close themselves?
• Using a presumptive close?
• Rushing to close based more on self-confidence than on client-based facts and feedback? – A full appreciation for the importance of closing well — for you, your organization, and (often forgotten) for the client?

If we can agree that business relationships are advanced when every client or prospect interaction is ended professionally and completely, here are some reminders on best practices that lay the groundwork for an effective close that you, your team, and your client can feel good about:
• Define the team’s goal for this meeting — i.e., ask for the business, a referral, or a next meeting, etc. Be specific, put timing around it, and don’t keep it to yourself. Winning teams arrive at key sales meetings fully informed and aligned on the mission.
• Assign lead responsibility for this part of the meeting or pitch. Once accepted, be willing as a team to role play this a few times and share feedback. Even if the person making the ask is your CEO? Especially in the case of a senior, many of whom don’t receive the honest feedback they need to accomplish the team’s mission.

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