Smart Strategies: 10 steps to closing a sale

Closing the sale is the most requested topic clients ask for in coaching, yet it should be a simple step for building your business.

Most entrepreneurs start a business because they have an idea for something the market needs. So why does selling that product seem to be the most daunting task?

You don’t consider yourself a salesperson; you’re a business owner. That’s where a paradigm shift needs to happen. Successful salespeople are three things:

  1. Educators // Your customer may not even know about your product or service and why they need it.
  2. Problem-solvers // Your product solves a need they have. The best “salespeople” don’t push things on customers or talk them into something they don’t need. You are providing a solution to a problem that keeps your client awake at night.
  3. Farmers // Your customer may not need your product today, but you are planting the seeds for when they may need your product. Or they may have a friend who needs your product. As you continue to constantly plant those seeds, you’ll soon reap the benefits and continue to grow your business.

Once you understand approaching the sales process from this direction, you’ll find success!

The Sales Process

The word “process” defines sales. It is a step-by-step strategic and systematic way to consider approaching your customers.

When salespeople falter in their closing process, it’s usually because they’ve tried skipping over a step or not giving a particular step enough attention. Think of sales like a ladder: You’ve got to start on the lowest rung and climb each rung to get to the top. Miss one or two steps, and you’re likely to fall.

Make sure to follow each of these steps:

STEP 1 // Prospecting: Not everyone needs your product. Identify upfront to the best of your ability who is a likely candidate for needing your product.

STEP 2 // Make sure you’re speaking to the decision-maker. Many people in a company can say “no” or “maybe.” Find out who can give you a “yes.” In today’s business climate, it’s often a group. You need to get in front of every decision “influencer.”

STEP 3 // Speak in their language: Research shows people process information in four different ways: Analytical, Driver, Expressive or Amiable. Your presentation needs to speak in the customer’s specific language.

For Analytics, talk details. For Drivers, you need to get the point quickly. If your customer speaks Expressive language, you need to present your product in terms of ideas and concepts, not technical details. And you need to develop a relationship with any customer who speaks the Amiable language before they will ever consider buying from you.

This step is the one most salespeople try to skip over—and is the one that will certainly kill your success.

STEP 4 // Questioning process: Most salespeople know they need to listen to their customers. But you have to ask the RIGHT questions to get to the answer you want: buying your product. All questions should follow the five W’s of who, what, where, when and why. Open-ended questions will get you more information to help you solve your customer’s needs.

STEP 5 // Needs analysis: If you have done an effective job of questioning, you will understand the client’s needs and how your product satisfies those needs.

STEP 6 // WIFM: All a client cares about is “What’s in It For Me?” Everything you say should let the client know specifically how your product will benefit them. Address only those benefits you’ve identified they care about. Give the customer those benefits in an inverted pyramid format. Offer the most important benefits first.

STEP 7 // Overcome their objections: First, acknowledge the client’s concern. Address the concern and then have them repeat it back to you to ensure they understand.

STEP 8 // Re-establish benefits: Recap how you are solving a problem for them.

STEP 9 // Ask for the business: If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Most salespeople often make a terrific presentation and assume their customer will buy. You have to ask!

Timing is everything; you need to read a client’s buying signals—53 percent of their message is nonverbal. Watch their body language and be conscious of yours.

STEP 10 // Say thank you and stop talking. Too often salespeople will keep talking themselves out of the sale.

Follow this sales process step-by-step, and your business will continue to grow stronger!