Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Closing the Sale - Sales Tips for Small Businesses

It would be nice if your business could always “corner the market” on whatever product or service you are providing. Unfortunately, the very nature of business dictates that you’re going to have competition. Instead of taking a passive approach to your business, you need to be proactive and make sure you and your sales force are an effective team. Even a small business can benefit from a smart sales strategy. One popular sales adage is the ABCs of selling: Always Be Closing. That’s a nice sentiment but it will take some work to get there. Here are a few helpful hints that can help your small business close the sale.

Avoid the Hard Sell

Despite what you might think about being an aggressive sales agent, that person on the other end of the line doesn’t really appreciate the hard sell. Just tell it like it is: let your potential client know what you’re offering in simple terms and how it can ultimately help their business. Go for the pleasant conversation versus the unrelenting pitch.

Keep Your Ears Open

You might have perfected your pitch and could even be reading from a script of helpful talking points (not a bad idea) but you also have to be fully engaged in the sales call so that you can recognize when your customer might be on the verge of closing. This can happen if they start asking questions about things like delivery time or shipping costs. Even something as simple as positive affirmation from them about what you’re saying can be a good indication. Make sure you respond to these comments in a positive way.

Ask Questions

The best way to understand a customer’s needs is through asking a lot of questions about their company. Learn about what they do, ask them about the challenges they’re having. Find out what problems they need to solve immediately. The goal is to keep them fully engaged and that can only happen if you are asking them to respond to you. Listen to their answers. Delve deeply. By asking questions, your prospects open up and will give you various opportunities for you to find solutions.

Make Them a Special Deal

Everyone likes a bargain. If you can offer a special deal to a customer it could make all the deference between closing the sale and getting a firm “no thanks.” This doesn’t mean you have to give away free stuff but there is probably a lot of “wiggle room” when it comes to processing fees, shipping costs etc. If you are making a special offer, make sure they know it’s just this one time.

Be Specific

As you zero in on the final moments of your pitch, you want to make sure you lay out the deal in very specific terms. This means providing your customer a direct “how many”, “how much” and “when will it arrive” statement.

When you’ve closed the sale, don’t pop the champagne cork right away but instead take a moment to recognize what worked and what didn’t. Then use that knowledge on your next call: ABC!