Your ability to close the sale has much less to do with your product, its cost or features than you might think. In fact, most times it has a lot more to do with how your business is perceived, how you perceive your client, and how aligned your values are.
Marketing, product features and pricing have a lot to do with whether a potential customer initially engages with your business. But actually closing the sale comes down to how well you can communicate your value.
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it—Simon Sinek
Plus, making a sale isn’t the end of the sales process. For a business to flourish, a relationship needs to be maintained far beyond the transaction of goods, and that comes down to how you handle the original sale.
Let’s deep dive into three tactics you can utilize to close the sale consistently and ethically.
1. Don’t Sell. Help.
You’ve created a product or service because of a demand. Businesses can sometimes forget their roots and focus more on their product, or in outselling their competitors.
But potential customers don’t see it that way. They will instead see pushy sales tactics, price comparisons and aggressive or negative campaigns.
To really get ahead, your business mindset needs to change to one of helping, not selling.
If a customer who may not be right for your business comes along, helping them find the right product or service — even if you don’t make the sale — is going to go a long way.
Even if you manage to score a sale, that customer may be back the following week asking for a refund. The time and energy spent on both sides of the sale may leave a bad taste in either party’s mouth. That could lead to negative word-of-mouth further down the track.
Instead, by focusing on helping, rather than on selling, you’ll create better experiences with your clients, leading to more positive word-of-mouth.
Often, you’ll find that just by helping a customer with what they’re looking for, they’ll stumble into why your product or service is going to work for them. Then it’s just a matter of adding value — pricing, features, etc. — and the sale will close itself.
When helping a customer, focus on their needs:
- They might be looking for something specific. Do they have a particular niche they’re working in, or are they struggling with outdated technology? Most of the time, customers have something in mind that they need, but can’t quite bridge the gap between their knowledge and what’s available in the market. You can be that bridge.
- They might not be ready yet. A lot of businesses try to push the sale there and then, most often to try to increase sales targets or bottom lines. But that’s not aligned with the needs of a customer — instead, allow them to come to you when they’re ready. You’ll leave them with a better impression of your business ethics and they’ll likely start word-of-mouth before they’ve even purchased your product.
- Have extensive knowledge of your market. If you can come across as the expert, you’ll be in higher regard when it comes to choosing between you or your competitors. Knowing your market means you can answer tricky questions, can understand their needs and even give recommendations on how they can improve their business (unrelated to your product or service).
2. Get To The Point
You have a limited amount of time to make your pitch before you lose a customer, so being able to sell in the time it takes to ride an elevator is critical.
If your product or service requires a demonstration, then have your laptop or tablet preloaded, with as little setup time required to get started.
Answering the customer’s questions in a timely manner will help your chances of closing the sale. As we mentioned earlier, being an expert in your market will make this much easier.
Getting to the point is also about pitching the biggest strength of your product or service first. This might be counter-intuitive; but in sales, it’s absolutely crucial.
The sooner you get to the crux of your product or service, the sooner you can start “adding value.” This is talking about all the things that makes your business unique, your pricing more competitive, and your features more accessible.
Early in the cycle, not only must the salesperson provide the right product information, but customers must feel they have the right information.—Harvard Business Review
3. Make A Connection
Focus on making a connection with everyone who steps into your shop, or sends you an email. This not only helps close the sale, but builds a longer-term relationship with the client.
You, your business and your customer don’t live disconnected lives. There are points of connection throughout, and making this connection makes your business more human.
Remember that you are a customer, too! What makes you choose one product over another? When selling, think about the things that would convince you, or sway you, to buy a product.
Connect with your customer by finding a common ground, and go from there. Are you selling coffee beans? Talk to them about your favorite café or coffee shop. Are you selling bath tubs? Chat to them about the last time they went on a spa holiday.
These small, seemingly insignificant conversations can have a big impact. Customers will know if you’re faking it, so above all else, be honest. Take the time to really make a connection before even attempting to make the sale.
Of course, if the customer pushes you to talk about the product you absolutely should (see number 2, above!) but never push for it, and try to make the conversation about them rather than about you.
Regardless of the way you choose to approach making a sale, you’ll need solid understanding of your own product and services and how they impact your potential clients.
The process doesn’t end when money is exchanged, either — good salespeople always know that getting referrals is a much easier sell than pitching to someone cold.