Sales Closing. Will you do anything for a sale?
“I’ll do anything
For you dear
For you dear, anything
For you mean
For you mean everything to me” Oliver Twist
Sales people need to recognise buying signals and in turn close the sale by asking for the business. This is not something that anyone can turn their hand to and it can be, for new sales people especially, a cause for concern as they may not be confident in carrying out this vital step.
Sometimes sales people can come across as desperate, especially if they are close to hitting their targets, and this desperation can translate into some bad practices.
I’ll do anything for you.
As the song lyric suggests, some sales people will go to any lengths to get the sale. This can include over promising on their level of service to the client, exaggerating the benefits and value of their product and of course dropping their price just to get the sale, this latter tactic of course, devalues the product, the service and the brand and therefore doesn’t instil confidence from the client that the product is any good, so therefore no amount of promises will make a difference.
Sales people are people pleasers for sure, we want to build effective relationships and collaborate with clients for a long-term relationship. The thing is, too much of this can be detrimental and can do more harm than good in the long run.
Over promising on service levels just to get the sale.
This tactic is very thin, it all sounds great in practice, however the reality is that sales people have lots of clients to call and sell to, and yet the client they close can be made to feel like they are the only client they have or that matters. From the client side this is Nirvana, how wonderful to be made to feel this way. If it can be sustained then terrific, if not then perhaps there are rougher waters ahead. The key to service levels is to look at two specific areas, the first is how easy is the client to work with, and the second is how profitable is the client to the company. I often see sales people offering the same level of service to a client spending £50K as they do to a client spending just £5K. Of course some clients are easier to deal with and see the sale a transactional so they do not need much service for their small spend and indeed some bigger clients need little servicing either. Just deliver on your promises. Call when you say you will, be there when agreed, deliver on time, and stay in touch so that no one feels left out. By contrast some clients spend very little and expect the world for it. This can be more of a challenge, so the key to working with them, is building trust, anticipation and scheduling calls. Look to find issues or problems before they arise, then solve them and tell the client, it will make them understand that you are on top of things for them, building higher levels of trust. The key reason clients micro manage providers is down to trust and control, so demonstrate you have a handle on things and they will leave you alone. Schedule service calls in the diary, informing the client that you will be around for them at that time and stick to it, that way the client feels delighted and valued.
Exaggerating the benefits or value of the product or service.
This is a very dangerous tactic, as the saying goes “you cannot make a purse from a pigs ear” and if claims are exaggerated there is only one outcome, refund and lost customer. Ultimately this is lying to the client isn’t it? The key to selling the benefit of a product is to understand what is means to the client, to do this we question effectively. Sales 101. Keep to the facts, substantiate claims with back up and proof and testimonials. Manage expectations. Talk about the effects of something in cumulative terms. Think about it, an anti ageing moisturizer doesn’t make you younger overnight; the effects are cumulative with prolonged use. In advertising by placing an ad will not produce immediate results overnight, it takes time as the readers of the ads making buying decisions in their own time.
It is important to have product and market knowledge, use it wisely, add value where needed and keep it client centric. Remember that from a client’s point of view, if something sounds to good to be true, well it often is.
Dropping the price to get the sale.
We have all done it, reduce the price, and get the sale. Often sales people do this in response to a sales objection. Over the years I have learned one vital lesson about sales. If you drop your price then you devalue your product and the client will never pay higher again. This results in lower profits, and the sales person having to work so much harder to achieve targets, as the volume of sales will need to go up. If a client asks for a discount, then ask for something in return; more commitment, higher volumes, faster payment. Learn to negotiate and hold your value. As the old Oscar Wilde quote goes “you cannot ask the price of something in you do not know the value of anything.” If you were offered a brand new Audi for £10K you might be thinking there was something wrong with it, or it was stolen. That is to point when something is too cheap it has no value. People will appreciate something they have invested in and paid full price for more than something that is discounted. Think about the things you truly value, you paid quite a bit for them right? If you did get a bargain then the glow is short lived and you do not appreciate them in the same way.
If you are in the habit of dropping your price just to get the sale, then really you are not going to be in sales for long, failing that you will eventually burn out from all the effort. Your clients will no you as a cheap skate, always dropping your pants for the sale, you will not be taken seriously and in time you will have to move on.
In sales we have to understand and learn what value is to a client; learn what makes a price worth paying. Hold your value. You will get more sales, higher sales and client loyalty. Be a good person, and don’t compromise your values just to get the deal. In the long run, you will be grateful you did.
Thanks for reading.