Five Fundamentals for Closing More Sales
Recently I met a friend for coffee. Greg is the owner of a technology company that has the ability to revolutionize a niche within the energy sector. The company’s technology has been validated as solving a very specific need of companies that do extensive work at deepwater sites. He contacted me for advice on how to close more sales.
Greg is a genius at what he does. For at least the past five years, he has lived and breathed the problem he is trying to solve. He is a Malcolm Gladwell level expert. He has invested at least 10,000 hours in solving this problem.
However, although he is an expert in that niche, he has given no thought to how he will share and promote his solution.
When we met, I could see the strain on his face and in his voice. He didn’t know where to start. He had no movie in his mind of him putting in the necessary activity to confidently go out and find customers.
He asked me for some tips. I shared the following fundamentals with him. They may seem obvious. However, from my experience, many who are in the product development and service delivery game overlook the obvious when it comes to business development and sales.
Many who are in the product development and service delivery game overlook the obvious when it comes to business development and sales.
1) Your network is your asset
No doubt there is much intellectual property within the product or service you are offering. However, without a network of relationships to be your customer, partner, or brand ambassador, you cannot achieve and maintain leverage. Treat your relationships like gold, and give more than you receive. Our world is governed by the great law of cause and effect. The rewards we receive in business and in life match the service we provide. Put your relationships first, and they generally will be there for you.
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2) Your ears are more important than your mouth
More than any other people, subject-matter experts are prone to speaking more than listening. They have studied their subject so much—and in some cases been put on such a high pedestal—that when they get into conversations with prospective clients they feel the need to do all the talking. Based on my experience, this is a ticket to failure. Subject matter experts need to learn to talk less and listen more.
Subject matter experts need to learn to talk less and listen more.
3) Today’s activity will determine tomorrow’s results
Earlier I mentioned one of the great laws that governs our world: the law of cause and effect. This law applies to sales activity as well. I am a huge proponent of entrepreneurs getting out of the office and, well in advance of commercialization, sharing their progress with prospective clients. This is the only way to achieve a steady stream of customers out of the gate. Devote time each day of each week to building relationships, finding pain points, and sharing your solution. You may get away with a day or two of no activity, but you can be sure that a week or more of no activity will show up on your company’s financial statements.
4) When the time is right, ask for the sale
In my experience, many customers have a hard time pulling the trigger. Keep in mind that most customer situations are quite complex. Customers and their purchase decisions are subject to influences that may not be obvious to us entrepreneurs and sales professionals. Clients need to be lead. This is not to imply that we should be pushy at any point. That is the wrong game. However, once you have validated that your company’s solution is an answer to the problem, you should focus on helping the potential client to break down the internal barriers to the purchase decision. This starts with the potential client acknowledging that he or she wants to buy. So ask the question.
5) Be yourself
To be effective at closing sales, we need to be effective at opening sales. From my vantage point, the best way to open a door is to be who you are, to leverage your own uniqueness and subject-matter expertise. Clients can smell a phony from a mile away. A phony is someone who tries to be someone they’re not. That may work for one sale, but it is unlikely to work for multiple sales.
These fundamentals aren’t rocket science. However, there is a lot of gold in the obvious, simply because most people overlook it.
There is a lot of gold in the obvious, simply because most people overlook it. - Chris Spurvey
Can you suggest any more tips that can help entrepreneurs to generate sales? I welcome you to leave them in the comments below. Let's work on this together.