Great Salespeople consistently add new opportunities to their sales pipeline. Our sales training clients in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary are learning that closing pending business is even more important. Otherwise, Salespeople can easily have a sales funnel that is stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars in pitched business. If this sounds like your situation, here are the four steps you need to follow.
All Salespeople love to hear YES! We don’t like to hear NO. The most frustrating response is MAYBE. Maybe we will buy, maybe we won’t, maybe we’ll take forever to decide. Then comes the inevitable game of follow-up by making calls, leaving messages and sending emails. We all know how difficult it is to have decision makers part with the two things they treasure the most – their time and their money. So, how do you get buyers to make faster decisions?
Step #1 – Call your Buyer!
There are three ways to engage with a client. Face to Face is by far the best. There’s nothing like shaking someone’s hand and watching their body language. A phone call allows for communication via voice, tone and inflection. Email is the least effective due to the obvious lack of two-way dialogue. Fight the urge to send the email and add to someone’s overburdened inbox. While it may seem easy, it’s also less effective.
If calling and leaving messages isn’t getting a response keep this in mind. The priority you have in getting the buyer to call you back may not be the same priority he or she has. While this seems obvious, I must constantly remind myself of it. Decision makers never have enough time to accomplish all tasks, so accept the fact that your message may be a low priority that day. That’s why it may take up to six or seven messages to get a return call. Top Salespeople have incredible amounts of self-discipline to repeat the tasks that make them successful.
Many times, buyers don’t return a call because they haven’t yet made their final decision. Leaving you a message that says “I’m still thinking about it” is not likely. You have no idea what is happening in their world. Emergency situations, internal meetings and unexpected interruptions are time vampires. Patience and tenacity are required on your part.
Step #2 – Offer a Time-based Incentive
Offer your decision maker a Valid Business Reason and incentive to decide by a specific date. The VBR must have value in the mind of the buyer, so avoid promotional giveaways and freebie offers that are provided to everyone. Get inside the mind of the buyer and try to offer something of value yet is low cost to your company.
Fight the urge to reduce price. That’s what your competition does to get business. Here are a few examples of great VBRs that every company has access to:
- A first-time buyer incentive
- An extended warranty on a quality product
- Extra product that is needed on a continuous basis
- Service-based incentives that don’t have the hard cost of product
- A special privilege that isn’t open to the public
Ensure that you place a cash value on the incentive. While you’re not charging for it, incentives with a quantifiable value have bigger impact.
I would also suggest that your incentive have some management perspective to it. Consider talking with your Sales Manager to approve a few incentives that give you the opportunity to close pending business. Mention that you’ve received management consent to make this offer by the deadline.
Step #3 – Ask for the Business!
You’re trying to close the pending business, so ask for it. Offer the VBR and ask the buyer the following questions:
May I put through the paperwork?
Is there anything else I can do to assist you?
Was there anything specific you needed to think about?
Do you have the information to make the best decision?
Is there anything holding you back from deciding?
Step #4 – Create a Sense of Urgency
Should your buyer need more time to decide, remind them of the end date of your incentive offer. Be firm with that date and very careful of allowing exceptions. Consider saying something like this:
I’ve talked with my Sales Manager about offering you this. It has a specific end date of Friday at noon. Please call me if you’re interested. If you get my voicemail, leave a message or email me. I have quite a few client appointments that day. I don’t want to miss your message.
This works especially well if your Sales Manager has decided to create a special incentive to close pending business that week. Our clients usually schedule this as a phone blitz for the entire sales team. It gets everyone motivated to make the calls and see what sales can be confirmed by the end of the week.
Follow these four steps and you should see much of your pending business reach resolution. If you’re accurate with your VBR Incentive, many buyers will say YES. The ones who don’t take advantage of the offer are far more likely to be a NO. While that’s not the response you hope for, it allows you to move on to better sales opportunities.
Have you found other ways of closing pending business? Please let us know if the comments area. If you liked this post, please share it on your favorite social media platform.
Top Salespeople are always looking for new sales techniques. If that describes you, please feel free to check out our online program The Sales Skills Incubator or our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY