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6 Problems Keeping You From Closing More Sales Opportunities

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Your business spends valuable time, effort, and money to close sales, which makes it devastating when a deal falls through.

You're looking for ways to improve your closing tactics, but where do you start?

We researched the top problems that keep most businesses from closing sales opportunities, plus solutions to help you fix them!

Why is closing a sale harder than prospecting it?

Closing has been cited as the most challenging part of a sale among top quota-carrying reps, and the average close rate across all industries is just 19%.

Why?

Sales veterans like Grant Cardone say it’s because most reps make the common mistake of seeing selling and closing as the same thing—when they’re not at all.

Finding a lead and introducing them to your business is an entirely different beast from nudging them toward a final and definite “yes.” It’s showing someone a scenic river vs. asking them to jump into the water with you.

You have to be bold and make sure your intentions are crystal clear, or else you’ll end up wasting your and your prospect’s time. But you also have to be accommodating and patient, so you don’t deter the potential customer away as they consider your offer.

Achieving that balance is easier said than done, which is why we put together the six common reasons why your prospect hasn’t given you a “yes” (plus solutions) below.

PC: HubSpot

1. Create an upfront contract with the prospect.

Every sales conversation needs to end with an action or next step toward closing the deal, and the best way to achieve that is by being upfront about both of your goals from the beginning.

You can’t deliver your pitch and expect the customer to take the initiative. Instead, get the person to agree to a game plan, so you’re both on the same page right away.

You can do this by creating what Sandler’s Training calls an upfront contract—or an agreement with the customer about what your current conversation’s goals are and what actions you can take afterward.

Those actions could be to:

  • Close
  • Set up another call (possibly with other team members)
  • Decide it’s not a fit

This ensures that you’re not wasting your own time if the prospect isn’t interested, plus it shows that you respect their time when you follow through on what you said you were going to talk about.

Giving the prospect actions to take also empowers them, because it makes them feel like they’re a part of the deal, instead of just listening to you talk (which we’ll cover next).

2. Listen more, pitch less.

Customers will always choose a guide who cares about helping them solve their problems over a traditional sales rep who only wants to give their pitch. And there’s no better way to show you care about your prospect than to actually listen to them.

Remember that most potential customers are working with you because they have a problem they’re trying to solve. When you let them talk about that problem, you get the chance to actually learn more about their pain points, plus identify how your product or service can potentially solve them.

Giving someone a chance to talk about themselves has also been proven to trigger the same pleasure receptors as eating chocolate.

Listening to the prospect is an immediate way to get them to like you, which is why top closers have been found to listen significantly more than they pitch.

PC: SuperOffice

3. Sell a solution instead of a product.

Ever notice that prospects tune out when you talk about your product or company?

They don’t care about your business—they just want to find a solution to their problem with someone they can trust. So if you want to close the deal, your pitch needs to frame yourself as a guide who will lead them on a journey to success.

Your product or service is just the tool that will help them reach the top of the mountain—which is why you need to sell the image of the potential customer achieving victory with it, instead of just selling the product or service by itself.

What is it going to look like when the prospect succeeds with your product or service? How great are they going to feel when their problems are solved?

These are the things your sales pitch needs to focus on if you’re going to close a deal (not where the product was made, or why you decided to create a service).

You can make sure your sales pitches emphasize helping customers find a solution by using the Storybrand setup:

1. Identify who your potential customer is and what they’re trying to accomplish in 3 minutes (no longer, or you’ll lose their attention)

2. Address the problem they’re trying to solve

3. Introduce yourself as the guide who will help them get what they want

4. Explain your plan to solve their problem, without overly emphasizing how great it or your product is (remember, it's about the prospect, not you)

5. Give concrete steps to call the prospect to action

PC: Medium

4. Tackle the prospect’s fear of change.

It’s not uncommon to have your prospect completely on board for a deal, while their higher ups are still debating over whether or not they should take it.

But why does that happen?

In a recent study where sales professionals were asked to identify what their buyers’ biggest challenges were, the top response was “building a case for change.”

The prospect’s supervisors are often comfortable with the status quo and aren’t sure if they want to take time to implement a new product or service on top of what they’re already doing.

So how do you convince them it's worth the time and money to make a change with your product or service?

You need to emphasize how little work they need to do by constantly mentioning:

  • Customer training
  • Custom solution options
  • Perceptions of values and risks
  • Easy implementation

You’ll also need to directly address the prospect’s fear as normal, empathize with it, then nudge them forward—because just ignoring their anxiety will get you nowhere. Continue building up the prospect’s pain points, and don’t be afraid to point out that nothing is going to change until they take action.

The fear of change will only outweigh the pain of the present, if you don’t take steps to show the customer they don’t have to jump through any hurdles to solve their problems.

When they ask, "What could go wrong if we do this?" you need to ask, "What will go wrong if you don't?"

5. Use the customer’s objections to your benefit.

Not all “no’s” are bad. In fact, research has found that some customers are more likely to say “yes” after they object to a certain amount of options.

Saying “yes” comes as a relief to the prospect when they see a handful of options that didn’t previously fit their needs, because it tells them they have agency in their buying decision and know what works best for them.

Being able to say “no” essentially increases the value of the “yes.” So don’t be afraid of rejection, because it’s not necessarily final.

Acknowledge the customer’s concerns, then validate their point of view by moving on to another option. And if there isn’t another option, avoid talking them into something they already said wouldn’t work for them.

50% of prospects are typically not a good fit for what you sell. So the sooner you figure out who isn’t a good fit, the sooner you can move on to the next deal and save valuable time.

6. Speed up the closing process.

You most likely have an arsenal of tools you share with prospects during your closing process, like powerpoints, PDFs, battlecards, and case studies. But they’re useless if they don’t get in front of your prospect.

That’s why texting can exponentially increase close rates, because they’re opened 99% of the time and can include any important links or images you want your prospect to see.

Texts are also typically read within 90 seconds, which is a kind of speed that’s invaluable when you’re trying to close deals. You can’t get the same short, immediate exchange from email or voicemail, let alone know if the customer actually saw your message.

5% of calls are answered, and 15% of emails are opened—but almost all texts are read.

The typical franchise development close rate is about 0.5%, but our average close rate through text is 3% - six times higher! Selling six times the number of franchise locations makes a huge impact on us and our clients. - David, Brand Journalists

Related: 13 Texts You Should Send to Warm Leads to Close More Sales

Keep Learning How to Improve

Research shows that curiosity and an agile mind are the biggest predictors of sales success in a rep.

Those are both traits that go hand in hand with learning and adapting—which you can do by always staying on the lookout for ways to improve your closing tactics.

Our Closer’s Handbook can help you get started!