The statistics are absolutely staggering.
Studies show that close rates hover around 30-40% for top sales pros. That means for every 10 SQL’s, three to four make it down funnel and convert to a customer or client.
And for the average salesperson… they’re looking at a 20% close rate on average.
Pretty pathetic, actually.
There’s no reason why every salesperson can’t close HALF of their prospects, or more. Can you imagine the difference in top-line revenue, sales commissions, bonuses, etc. if you could lift your bar even by 10-20%? What about 50% or 75%?! Over your career that could be millions in earned income.
To do that, you simply need to know the seven steps to close like a pro. And you need to put them into practice day in and day out. Success requires focus and hustle. But I’m willing to bet that you have what it takes to dial this in.
So let’s get right to it.
Step 1 – Build Rapport and Trust
I know, I know. It seems obvious. And you probably think you’re doing a great job at trust-building already. Well, chances are you could do better. Sales is all about trust. And by trust I don’t mean you have to crack jokes and make your prospect your best friend. Trust means being honest, transparent, reliable, and consistent. The C-suite also expects you to be personable and willing to provide value, even before the deal is closed. Do these things — rather, be that person — and you’re already halfway to a “Yes.”
Step 2 – Speak Authoritatively
When you speak with conviction and authority, you become an asset and an equal in the eyes of your C-level prospect. And likewise, when you speak with self-doubt and uncertainty, you become a threat and a subordinate to your prospect. This is basic animal kingdom psychology at play. To close the deal, you must speak with authority and have a good handle on tonality. Now, this doesn’t mean let your ego have a field day. It just means to speak from your diaphragm and speak like you mean it. If you believe in the value you provide, your prospect has to as well.
Step 3 – Listen Empathetically
When you’re not speaking with authority, you should be listening empathetically. What does this entail? It means you listen like the deal depends on it. Really take in what your prospect is saying — he or she will give you all kinds of clues that you can use to craft your offer to meet their needs. While they’re talking, do not use that time to mentally craft your response. Use it to listen! Listening empathetically does so much heavy lifting when it comes to closing B2B deals.
Step 4 – Find and Agitate Pain Points
Ask probing questions that get your prospect to disclose their pain points. If you sniff any area of weakness, lean into that. Maybe you sell HR training solutions and your prospect mentions they have a hard time retaining top talent. Dig into that. Ask them specifically why they think that is. Ask them what impact this has on their department and organization as a whole. Really make it hurt. Here’s why: YOU have the antidote to their pain. And you’re about to prescribe it. But they first need to know they need what you’re selling.
Step 5 – Use Case Studies
What kind of successes have your clients experienced in the past? Maybe your product or service has been able to help them reach customers in new markets, or increase sales by 33%, or reduce waste by 15%. You get the idea. Quantify the benefits! Case studies are necessary for street cred. You need to show that your product/service has helped companies just like theirs, and in a very specific way. One solid case study is sometimes enough to move straight into the close.
Step 6 – Focus on the Transformation
You may have heard it said before to focus on benefits not features. Well I’m saying you need to focus on transformation. Benefits are great and all. But what do you think closes more deals: “You will spend less time on bookkeeping every quarter,” OR “Your manager will think you’ve ‘cracked the bookkeeping code’, and you’ll earn the respect you deserve in your organization.”
Step 7 – Ask For the Sale
Don’t forget to ask for the sale. There are several ways to ask for the sale without being pushy. But it’s important you do it — as the deal won’t close itself. A couple pro tips are to keep it short and sweet, be specific with your ask, and don’t be afraid to assume the sale. At this point you should have already overcome any and all objections your prospect had, so they’re just as ready as you to move this thing along and put ink on paper.
Step 8 – Be Patient & Follow Up
Does every deal close without any need for follow-up? Wouldn’t that be nice! Listen — the B2B sales cycle only seems to be getting longer for high-ticket B2B offers. That means you might need to court your prospect for the next two or three months before they make a buying decision. And that’s OK! Be patient, act like the pro you are, and put in those intentional touches (emails, phone calls, engaging on LinkedIn, etc.). Over time, they are likely to convert to a client.
Closing the sale should never require you to resort to unethical behavior. Just follow the steps I’ve outlined above and you’ll be closing more deals, more consistently. Just remember that the bedrock of every signed deal is rapport and trust. This is true whether it’s a $99/mo. subscription service or $20,000 software package you’re selling. But the higher the price tag, generally the more critical trust becomes. After trust, the steps admittedly become easier.
The goal here is to increase your close rate by 10-20% to start. By implementing these closing principles, you’ll be there in no time. And from there the sky’s the limit. You just have to put in the focused effort and be willing to become a lifelong learner in sales.
Until next time…