Closing Sales- 7 reasons you fail, and how to fix them
Closing a Sale is the ultimate outcome of all your effort, it is the final beat of your performance, the final step of the race, your final destination, your final Aha, your final climax, and the best & only realization of hard work you have done to make the customer sign the deal.
Sales Close is what matters. All song and dance which you do before closing has no measurable value to you, to the customer, and your company. You may say that you have established your mind-recall, brand, and a longer-term potential with the customer who did not buy, but it is more of a rationalization than reality. More than 35% of Sales People feel that Closing Sales is their biggest Challenge. Not being able to close a sale, is a frustrating experience of sales. Reaching at a point after prospecting, presenting, quoting, negotiating, product demonstration, and the whole nine yards- a lost sales can significantly demotivate and distract a salesperson. Two points to note-
Closing is like the last lap, which needs maximum energies. The reality is that most salespeople lose steam and do not put that energy, process, and tactics which are must to close.
Closing is time-critical– The more you delay, the more you have a risk of customer needs changing, new competition moving in, changes in the decision-makers, and change in priorities.
The good news is that closing depends on 40% on Sales Determination and Attitude, 40% on closing Skill, and only 20% on Customer Decision. Here are the 7 reasons why you are not able to close a sale.
Eliminate the following reasons and you will multiply your sales closure rate:
Reason #1- An Innate Fear of Rejection
Sales People are humans and the fear of rejection is the same DNA, which holds us back from asking someone out for a date, asking for extra serving with an order, asking for a raise from the boss- We are afraid of hearing a NO. We are afraid of how we will handle NO. We are afraid that after a NO, the customer will never say YES. We are afraid that our proposal will switch off the customer.
This fear, makes us continue with our song and dance around the customer, but never go for the final act. We do not bring the customer to the table for signing the deal, we do not push, we do not ask for clarity.
What to do? – ‘OVERCOME THE FEAR OF REJECTION’- Learn to hear NO, prepare for responding to NO, and as you will learn from other Blogs of mine, work on seeing that customer does not say NO. You need to have a large pipeline, have to have a solid lead funnel to give you some fearlessness. Smaller the lead funnel, the more afraid you will be to close.
Reason #2- Avoiding Pressure on Customer
We want to be nice human beings. Salespeople think that if they push customers too much to take a decision, he will reject them out of irritation. A customer could be having many problems of his own, and by pressurizing him, we are adding to his problems, instead of solving them. This cannot be a greater misconception. Few things to consider- Customer has come so far with you because he wants to buy it. By the time you come to the final stage, you have a pretty good idea that the customer is serious about buying.
Do not worry about putting the pressure, as long as you know ‘how much and in what way’ you need to put pressure on a customer to close. Remember- Remember a customer is always insecure about his money and his decision. He tends to postpone his decision and postpone spending monies. Unless you push your customers to take a call, it will not happen. Please keep in mind that around 50% of the sales are lost because either customer did not take the decision OR there was no money available by the time decision was taken.
What to do? – If your product is adding value to the customer, you should consider your effort to close as a ‘Service to Help Customer Take Decision’. Once you shift your mindset from Selling to ‘Helping’ to your customer, your approach will transform.
Reason #3- Not Completely Sold on the Product
A salesperson with doubts on the product he is selling is like a warrior having doubts about his cause of protecting his country. A Salesperson can only be a super-star when he has no fear and no doubt. Any doubt will not bring out that passion and energy to close and trust me- a customer can sense your self-doubt far better than you can yourself.
It’s a deep psychological concept, but sometimes we create doubts in our mind to use that doubt as an excuse for inaction. I have seen countless meetings where salesperson points to the product, price, and delivery inadequacies for low sales. Yes, it is important to have a better product, price, and delivery, but that should not and cannot be used as a reason for low performance. If sales are not done, the company’s capacity to churn out new products at better pricing will also be compromised. So it helps no one.
What to do? – The fact is that no product is perfect. A salesperson needs to have 110% confidence and zero doubt about the value-proposition he is providing to his customer. You need to be so convinced that you will not allow anything else for the customer. This mind-set and constant self-affirmation is the key. Seek help- talk to people who are selling better than you do, talk to the product managers, and talk to marketing folks till you develop a genuine conviction. Remember- Whosoever is most sold, sells most.
Reason #4- Not Applying Required Effort and Preparation needed to close
Getting money and a sales order from a customer is not easy. You need to be ready for the long haul. You need to be ready for all possible objections and stalls put by the customer, you need to be ready for last-ditch throat-cut offers by competition, you need to be ready for all last-minute additional ‘value-add’ customer will demand along with the order, you need to be ready with any objections or issues on the fine-prints in the deal and commercial technicalities and much more.
Mostly salespeople grossly underestimate what it will take to close the deal. Apart from that, they do not start preparing at the right time in anticipation.
What to do? -Trust me- Once you have closed a few deals with the right effort and thorough preparation, it becomes easier with every subsequent deal. You have to work on ‘show-case’ closures, where you are so well prepared and put massive effort so that you simply cruise when it comes to closing.
Reason #5- You try to be reasonable & considerate to customers’ approach
When it comes to being considerate of customer needs, go for it 100%, but when it comes to commercials and closing, be unreasonable. When I say unreasonable, it means that do not say ‘OK’ when a customer says that he is busy, or he needs time to decide, or he feels the deal is too expensive, or he feels he needs less than what you think he needs, etc..
Most salespeople (because they are hesitant to push for close) are more than happy when Customer stalls or delays the decision. They empathize with the customers, that customer has no money, no time, or no priority. The fact is EVERY customer has time, money, and priority if you know how to close.
What to do?- If you are passionate, sold on the product, and truly want to help the customer, you will figure out ten different ways to push through the stalls and reasons the customer gives to postpone his decision. DO NOT be Considerate and do not empathize, as you are doing it for the customer.
Reason #6- You Create your Barriers
It’s the fact that people see you like the way you see yourself. Similarly, the customer will see you the way you see yourself AND the customer will feel about the proposal the way you feel about your proposal. Unknowingly, we project our apprehensions and doubts on the customer. For example, if you feel that your price is too high, the customer will also feel that the price is too high, if you feel that the customer does not need this product, the customer will also feel that he does not need the product. I mentioned in the previous point that you should be sold on the product. Here I am saying BE SOLD ON YOURSELF AND THE DEAL.
I keep on saying that 90% of the concept of Sales applies to almost all spheres of life. This is just one example.
What to do? – You have to work on both ends- Technical and Psychological Affirmation & Reinforcement. Psychological Training will come through daily self-learning, where you keep on practicing, keep on analyzing, and improving the mistakes you made. As you get to close more and more deals your self-doubt will go away.
In terms of technical aspects of the deal, you need to make a conscious list of questions that are creating doubt on the proposal- For example ‘Why I feel that price is too high? Why do I feel that we will not be able to service what we are promising? Why do I feel that the product variant we are selling is not the best fit?’ and work out the answer either by yourself or with your manager.
Always keep in mind, you are not selling a product, you are selling a complete package of value-proposition, which includes Product, Service, Reliability & Quality, Strategic Relationship, Price, Total Cost of Ownership, Access to the management, Upgradability, Scalability of product and so on. No company is perfect on all counts, and as a salesperson, you have to sell the whole value and not just vanilla products.
Reason #7- Seeing Closing as a Serious, Negative, and Unpleasant Process
Every Customer wants to feel good and happy. They want to feel good while meeting you, they want to feel good through the purchase process, and they want to feel good in closing the deal. Positivity is core to any relationship or engagement. If a customer feels good and comfortable when he is interacting with you, he will buy it.
Mostly salespeople pass on the stress of selling to the customer and end up creating an atmosphere of doubt, confusion, and apprehensions. It happens when the customer is not getting clear answers to his questions when you talk negatively about the competition when you keep on changing your promises when you disagree with the customer when you get argumentative when a customer feels that you are not listening.
What to do? – you need to sense what customers felt at the end of the meeting with you. You need to project an image of an assuring, listening, positive and make-it-happen kind of person. A customer typically has a lot of stress on his own. If you can help reduce the stress, light up his day a little bit, make him feel that his problems can be solved- you will find break-throughs.
I would say that 50% of closing is how you work on yourself and a customer at a relationship and a psychological level. You overcome these barriers, and you will start enjoying the fun of closing.
Unless you start your venture, you will be always reporting to some-one. Solid skill in managing your boss smartly and ethically will go a long way in building a successful career