This is going to be a bold open from someone writing a blog about how best to close sales calls, but to be totally honest with you; I've never really been a fan of the pushy sales tactics some businesses employ. Admittedly, the 'Wolf of Wall Street' style of slimy, egotistical sales is dying out, but the stereotype still lingers. This is partially because, at their core, a salesperson rarely appears to be on the side of the consumer - their job is to make money (just like the rest of us), and the better at that they are, the worse the deal is for the customer.
Thankfully though, this is changing in step with people's buying habits - now days the decision to purchase can be made long before reaching out to a brand, so the onus is on the business to prove how they can help their customers. It's one of the tenants of inbound marketing we bang on about so much. This requires salespeople to shift their tactics, and start selling based on solving their customer's problems - a version of selling that I can get behind. As such, let's talk about some of the sales closing techniques that will get results and won't turn you into a greasy, Glengarry Glen Ross knock-off.
1. Give them a free trial or demo, where possible
We, as customers, are a cynical bunch. It's becoming increasingly necessary to see a product in action before we commit to purchase - we've all been burned before. As such, giving people a chance to take your product for a test spin before committing gives them an opportunity to see exactly how your product is going to solve their problems, and help them to make their decision. Psychologically, this also counts as giving someone something for free, even if it is only temporarily, and people bloody love free stuff.
2. Give it a sense of urgency
There's a lot of evidence out there supporting the use of limited time offers in your sales process. The reason behind this is because it taps into the psychology of 'loss aversion' - we hate the idea of missing out on something. Millennials even redefined it as 'FOMO' - the fear of missing out. By either implying that there is a time limit on this sale, or a scarcity in the product being offered, your odds of getting someone to commit shoot way up. There are some caveats though - if I ever have to sit through another ad from a rug and carpet company about how they're about to close down and everything must go, much like they were last year, and the year before that, I just might go and burn it down myself. Similarly, software companies that try and use scarcity seem to have forgotten that software can't be scarce... it's an infinite resource. Avoid obvious pitfalls like that though, and you're onto a winner.
3. Over-offer, and then pull back
There's a lot to be said about giving people more than they ask for. Here in the office, 'under-sell and over-deliver' is a common catch phrase and expectation, but 'over-selling' has its place too. If you pad a sale with extra value, then remove it to lower the price your opportunity will read it as a discount and a better deal. It's also useful as a way of getting a read on other ways you can help your opportunity or offer value, if not now, then potentially in the future. There's also the added bonus that you may make too good of a case and accidentally up-sell yourself into a better deal - win/win!
4. Address exactly what it is that preventing your opportunity from committing
Opportunities are people with goals and challenges like the rest of us. One of the most important things you can do is work out what it is that is holding them back from purchasing, and address it directly. Be open and honest about how your product is going to help them, and they'll respond. Once they know how it's going to help, and any challenges that were stopping them from saying yes have been discussed, they have no reason not to get on board.
You may have detected a bit of a trend between the four strategies above - they're all based around helping your sales opportunity. Don't sell, help. Help them solve their problems, impress their boss or simplify their lives - whatever it is they need to do. You'll shift from just creating customers to building relationships that could be worth significantly more in the long run.
If you think the above sales tactics make a lot of sense, and you'd like to learn more about how we see the world of sales, then check out our sales hub where we get in depth with a tonne of articles, tips and info.