Negotiators tend to get stuck when it comes time to close a deal when they keep hearing "no". There are some simple tricks you can learn to help increase your closing rate. Here are three tips that will turn that "no" into a "yes".
Start with a Close, end with a Close
From the moment you meet your potential customer think about how you are going to close the deal. Always greet them with a smile and form a relationship. People will rarely sign a deal with someone they don't like or respect. Ask as many questions as possible about the problems they are having that your product or service may resolve. This is not when you start selling, it’s simply asking questions and listening to the answers. Gather as much information as possible so that during your presentation you can sell directly to the problems they’re experiencing.
Your presentation is where the selling takes place and it should be the only time you’re in sales mode. Your presentation should be a little different every time, since you want it to be tailored to each individual client's problems. During your presentation, point out every resolution to the problems they explained earlier. The presentation should be enthusiastic and hold their attention. If there is more than one person in the room, talk to everyone as a group.
Once the presentation is done, your selling is done. This is where you sit back as calmly as possible and listen to reactions. You should become very consultative when answering any additional questions or concerns at this time.
The Mini Pre-Close
During your presentation, as you’re selling to the customer’s concerns, squeeze in as many mini pre-closes as possible. The more times they say yes to a small question the more likely they will say yes to the big question. This puts them in a habit of saying "yes" instead of that dreaded "no". The best way to do this is after you make a point about one of the problems that your product or service can resolve simply ask, "This solves your problem, right?" As you ask this question nod your head and chances are they will agree with you.
After completing your presentation repeat this process one more time before you sit back and listen to responses. Do this by simply asking all of the same questions again. This may seem repetitive, but this is just giving the customer time to realise how wonderful your product or service is.
Get them emotional
Once your presentation is complete and you’ve answered any additional questions or concerns now it is time to “ask” for the deal. This is the most common mistake ever made - people don't ask for the deal. Be assertive and ask as if you assume they will say "yes" (commonly known as an assumptive close).
You might have to do a little more work at this point. This is where you need to get them back into the emotional state of mind. People buy for emotional reasons, not logical reasons. Studies show that pictures help to put people into an emotional state. You can achieve this by drawing a simple picture, maybe a graph showing statistics or a picture of your product – it doesn't have to be fancy.
Another easy way to get someone in the emotional state of mind is to talk into their left ear. This triggers the right side of the brain, which is the emotional side. So be sure to be seated on the left hand side of the decision-maker in the room.
Supplied by negotiation experts The Gap Partnership US.
While many people like to think of themselves as good negotiators, many do not understand some of the simple rules, which can quickly label you as inexperienced, which of course is not a position you wish to be in, especially when pitting yourself against a skilled and seasoned negotiator. By steering clear of the following five pitfalls, you should be able to navigate your way through any negotiation with ease.
1. Don’t negotiate blindly
Before beginning any negotiation, you must determine two things: your desired outcome and your bottom-line tolerance level. If not, you will have no direction and will likely be dissatisfied with the outcome of the negotiation.
2. Don’t start the negotiations
If at all possible, have the other person put the first number on the table. The reason for this is simple, as illustrated through a hypothetical example. X is willing to sell his widget for £100. X asks Y what he is willing to pay for the widget and he says £150. By Y bidding first, X earned an extra £50 even before the negotiations were underway.
3. Don’t avoid the process
Negotiating is a back and forth process that takes time. Many people who are uncomfortable negotiating try to avoid the process by being upfront with their real bottom-line number. This causes negotiations to break down, because the other side simply will not believe you. The expectation is that your opening number will be high/low and move from there. In fact, if you are responding to an opening bid, it is assumed that your target number is the number exactly between the two currently on the table. If you step up to the negotiation table, be prepared to play the game.
4. Don’t bid against yourself
A skilled negotiator will try to get you to bid against yourself and a rookie negotiator will fall for it. This happens when the skilled negotiator gets the rookie negotiator to increase his bid without moving himself. To gain respect, say: “I’m not going to bid against myself. I’ve put a number on the table. It’s your move.”
5. Don’t be afraid to walk away
When people are negotiating, they can easily become caught up in the moment. When this happens, there is a very real possibility of committing to a position one later regrets. The way to avoid this trap is to be prepared to walk away when you reach your predetermined tolerance. It is important to do this for another reason. The other side may be bluffing. By walking away, you clearly indicate your position to the opposing party. Understand that many negotiations are completed after several sessions. This will allow you to walk away with the confidence of knowing that if the deal happens, it will be on your terms.
Marcela has never read a sales book. She has never learned about sales techniques. So can her passion for her product alone be enough to sell?
With her confidence in her product and her ability to answer any questions about it, Marcela feels well equipped to sell Rico Mexican Kitchen's products to anyone. What do you think of her sales technique (as seen in the video)?
You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com
Whether you’re selling your knowledge or products crafted by your own hands, there are online platforms to help you reach an audience of customers and make sales. Here is my top ten:
Business services If you’re an IT contractor, graphic designer, business coach or expert translator, these sites might help you:
Personal services If health, beauty and wellbeing is more your thing, here’s where to head:
Handmade crafts There is a growing number of sites for the artisan and handmade community. Here are just three of them:
Emma Jones is Founder of Enterprise Nation, the home business website, and author of ‘Spare Room Start Up – how to start a business from home’. Her next book, ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’, will be published in May 2010.
Working as a life coach and business mentor for the last three years, I have come across many challenges and issues mums face in trying to run their own business; time management, dealing with guilt etc. However, one of the major obstacles mums seem to come up against time and again is that they have difficulty selling their product or service. They aren't 'sales people'.
Ask any businessmum to describe her business and its benefits and she could probably explain to you in glowing and passionate terms what she does and why she does it. Ask her to sell you her business and she clams up. Why? Although I've asked for the same thing simply using different wording, many people assume that use of the word 'sell' implies pushiness or forcing a product or service onto someone who isn't interested. For example, when you think of a salesperson, how do you picture them? A bored girl in a shop, a car salesman? Or something different?
It makes sense that when starting out with an opinion of sales like this, it is always going to be difficult to sell yourself or your business. So, why not challenge those long-held beliefs? Think about all the people who have to sell in their line of work and how many of them actually fall into this category. Can a different picture of a salesperson be developed?
Alternately, why not classify the action of selling as something other than sales. For example, informing or enthusing (choose a word that suits you and your personality). If the burden is simply to inform a possible client about a product rather then sell, does this lift the pressure? Is the process approached with a lighter heart?
The second thing a lot of mums assume about selling is that it implies concluding with a sale, often by 'coaxing' or 'pressuring' a client into it. It doesn't need to be this way. If you truly understand your market and what they want and can present a product or service in such a way that it appeals, sales will be created simply by making people aware of what is on offer. Assuming the demand is there, of course.
Some other great ways to combat the no sale are:
Selling needn't be stressful or pressured. Approached positively, it can simply be a celebration of what you do and who you are and, in the end, aren't people more likely to buy from someone who's enthusiastic about their business than someone trying to force it down their throat?
Alli Price, Motivating Mum
"I keep six honest serving men - They taught me all I know, Their names are what and why and when -- And how and where and who."
Six Honest Serving Men, Rudyard Kipling, 1903
As you and I know the secret to successful selling is to ask the right questions.
If we do this skilfully, we become seen as a problem solver and the dynamic or ‘power base’ shifts from a seller/buyer relationship into that of two equal partners. You are then not selling…you are simply helping the customer to buy.
In order to sell effectively we need to know what will make the customer buy from us. In order to do this we need to ask them….and listen wholly and exclusively to what they say!
A highly effective type of question is known as an ‘open question’. These are often prefaced by either ‘who?’, ‘what?’, ‘when?’, ‘why?’ ‘where?’ or ‘how?’.
These are all questions that will encourage the customer to talk about their current situation and needs. If we are listening attentively (and many sales people I work with do not!) then we are able to gather the right level of information and are able to tailor our ultimate presentation to show how we can meet their specific and stated requirements.
Here is a list of some of the possible questions:
‘Who’ questions • Who will be using the product? • Who will need to be trained to use the product? • Who will sign off the order?
‘What’ questions • What problem are you looking to solve? • What impact does this problem currently have? • What do you look for when you are buying new widgets? • What else?
‘When’ questions • When are you looking to introduce the new widget? • When would you need delivery? • When would you want the training programme to start?
‘Why’ questions • Why do you say that? • Why is that an issue for you? • Why do you need to change the process now? • Why do you think that?
‘Where’ questions • Where will the widgets make the biggest impact? • Where will you need the delivery to go to? • Where do you get your widgets from currently?
‘How’ questions • How can I help you solve that problem? • How quickly will you need the widgets? • How would that work in practice? • How will this change the way you currently work?
A word of caution here…in order to maintain rapport it is important to use open questions naturally and conversationally otherwise it could feel to the customer that they are being bombarded.
Likewise, if we can link our next question to the last customer answer we are more likely to demonstrate that we have actively listened to them, show understanding, and ultimately be more successful in matching the benefits of our proposal to what the customer is looking for.
This linking of questions takes time and lots of practice but is superbly effective.
When selling it's often very easy to forget that a feature is what a product is… an intrinsic characteristic of the product or service.
Examples of features are:
All very interesting (or perhaps not!) but of no real concern to the buyer who really wants to know what the product will do for him/her.
In other words, the benefits.
For example: “This promotion will increase your sales (feature) which means that you will get increased turnover and profit” (benefit)
Or…. “The new display unit is compact and eye catching (feature) which means that you will get more impulse sales at the till points (benefit), therefore increasing your profits” (benefit)
Never forget… the product features are important but they are unlikely to clinch the sale without making the link in the customer’s mind to the specific benefit they will derive from the product.
That is what the customer is really interested in!
Most people mistakenly believe that using telemarketers is limited in use to cold calling sales activities. But telemarketing can turn be used to turn many opportunities into business, there a literally hundreds of ways to do this but these are our Top 10 ways to use telemarketing.
ONE: Appointment Setting
Appointment setting is, always has, and always will be, a primary way that companies generate new business. Organisations usually place a great deal of emphasis on appointment setting, and also a significant proportion of their budget. Why do they do this? Because there’s no more effective way to close a sale than a chance to sit down with a prospective client in a face-to-face meeting. Appointment setting is a cost effective and intelligent use of telemarketers to generate new business for your organisation.
TWO: Seminar Booking
In recent years, telemarketing has proven itself to bring exceptional results for those individuals and organisations that deliver seminars. It doesn’t matter how good your seminar is; if delegates aren’t booking you’re losing out. Using a telemarketing team to book your seminars means getting the good news out to people that could greatly benefit from attending your seminars.
Working from existing mailing lists or cold calling people with industry links to the seminar subject or topic is a great way to put a telemarketing team to work for your seminars.
THREE: The Follow Up
Using follow up calls is a powerful and effective way to make the most of your direct mail or email marketing. The recipient has already had the opportunity to consider your offer by mail and now telemarketing offers a renewed chance to capitalise on that offer for both parties.
Follow Up calls can also be made after literature or sales enquiries, chasing up interested parties and converting prospects that may have otherwise dithered undecidedly about purchasing your goods or services from a brochure. Follow up interest by using a dedicated telemarketing team to convert interest into action.
FOUR: Market Research
One of the truly time-tested uses of telemarketing is market research, often used for product review and customer feedback. However, these days it can be used to cover a full range of quantitative and qualitative data collection.
Using the latest integrated technology, telemarketing interviewers can handle everything from small executive level surveying to mass nationwide customer feedback questioning. Doing Market Research via the telephone is a highly cost effective method of conducting large-scale market research and can cover vast geographical locations from a single base. Of course, given the right permissions, data gleaned from your market research telemarketing can be used to target the prospects for your next telemarketing campaign.
FIVE: Customer Reactivation
Your organisation should keep a record of all current customers and all those people that were customers but are not actively buying from you. Telemarketing is an effective way to reconnect with and reactivate your dormant customer database and using data that you already have in your systems. By using telemarketing, your company can win you up to 50% of your past customers back!
Outstanding invoices and missed payments can really cripple a business and hinder a company’s progress and development. If you’re struggling to recoup outstanding sums, then telemarketing can be an effective method of collecting what’s owed to your company. Working from a list of your debtors, a tele-collections team can identify individuals or companies that owe your organisation money and ensure that you have the correct contact details for them. If you then wish to take a payment, these can be handled through an automated system or passed through to your own payment teams.
SEVEN: Selling Advertising Space
When you’ve got space to sell, you can’t rely on people just coming to you. You need a team of dedicated telemarketers that can directly sell your space to the people that need to advertise. This isn’t simply cold calling; it’s designing a campaign to target those businesses and individuals that might benefit most from the opportunity to use your advertising space. A team of experienced telemarketers can target likely clients and more effectively approach hundreds of potential clients, rapidly improving your chances of new business generation.
EIGHT: Database Cleansing
The information in your database is quickly out of date. By using telemarketers to work through your data, you can correct, delete or amend the details of your existing customers, leads or prospects. By making sure that your data is up to date and accurate, you can increase the rate at which your sales staff can make sales. Data cleansing may also be a legal requirement in various industry sectors, so it also keeps your nose clean with industry’s regulators. Make your existing data work for you by purging useless existing data.
NINE: Lead Generation
Using telemarketers to generate leads means increased sales revenue and greatly reduces the amount it costs to make a sale. When you use telemarketers to generate your leads, you free up your sales teams to do what their good at – which is making sales!
TEN: Selling to Existing Customers
Last, but certainly not least, telemarketing provides a successful route to improving sales by selling directly to those that are already using your products or services. Existing customers are much more easily converted because you don’t need to convince them of your expertise, reputation or benefits.
With an existing customer, you can use telemarketing to offer extended service, upgrades and further features on something they’ve already bought, or offer them a completely new product or service. If the existing customer is happy with what they bought from you in the past, the worst that can happen is that they will simply reject your new offer. But since they were willing to listen in the first place, it wasn’t a hardship and you can still call them again in the future with new offers.
Telemarketing offers organisations of all sizes the opportunity to expand and develop their customer base with reduce costs and impressive results.
If you are involved in the Telemarketing industry, you will undoubtedly be familiar with the term ‘The Gatekeeper'. This is the individual whose job it is to prevent people getting access to the Decision-Maker. Typically, this is a personal assistant or a secretary, but in some companies, it is even the receptionist or switchboard operator.
Here are ten top tips for getting past the Gatekeeper:
Whoever is acting as the Gatekeeper between you and the Decision-Maker (DM) is just doing their job. Part of that job is managing demands on the DM's time. Seeing the Gatekeeper as the enemy creates a self-imposed psychological barrier that it will be difficult, if not impossible to remove.
Management never gets treated the same as the workers. If someone believes that you are important, they will treat you differently. Using a relaxed and calm voice, speak slowly and articulately and don't divulge more than is necessary. During the opening seconds of your conversation, if the Gatekeeper senses that you are their senior, they will not risk offending you by probing too deeply.
Remember that whilst the Gatekeeper's role is to restrict interruptions to the DM's daily routine, they do know a great deal of important information about the DM and the business. Use this opportunity to check that the person that you want to speak to IS the decision-maker. Check your facts with them. Ask simple, non-intrusive open questions to try to build up a picture of both the Gatekeeper and the Decision-Maker.
The Gatekeeper has several distinct ‘powers'. One of them is the power to connect you with the right person. However, they do not hold any decision-making powers. When the Gatekeeper asks ‘Can I tell him/her what it's regarding?' - do not try to pitch your product or service to the Gatekeeper. Firstly, it will waste your time. Second, it will irritate them because they will just be waiting for an opportunity to tell you that they cannot help you. No matter how desperate to connect with the DM you are, do not sell to the Gatekeeper.
Don't be awkward, don't try to sneak past the Gatekeeper, the chances are you'll get cut off at the knees. Actively engage with the Gatekeeper. Don't get too personal, don't pry, but you can gently probe. If you can't get through to the DM, engage the Gatekeeper so that they have a positive and friendly attitude towards you when you call again. You're unlikely to become best friends, but building a relationship and a rapport with them will help them want to help you.
If you are nervous, stressed or tense, you will transfer those feelings to your voice, your behaviour and choice of words. All of these will make an impact on how the Gatekeeper perceives you and therefore how they receive your request for access or information. Take some deep slow quiet breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth to put yourself at ease. When the Gatekeeper answers, smile and confidently greet them with energy and ease.
Unless you are a particularly good actor, don't use a script on the Gatekeeper. They are likely to hear the scripted tone in your voice. Instead, plan how you will approach them; what approaches you might take depending upon the range of responses that they might make. Plan your responses to key objections but leave yourself room by improvising the dialogue.
Do you know that whilst you are speaking to the Gatekeeper, you are consciously or unconsciously employing a transitive verb to do something to them? A transitive verb is, if you don't know, a verb that can be done to someone else such as ‘I CHARM You, I AMUSE You, I PRESS You'. In Oral Communications, verbs are used as tactics to get results from other people. It's essential that you be in control of the tactics that you are playing. Think about what tactics you will play throughout your PLAN.
This is largely irrelevant because you want to speak to the DM nonetheless. However, in order to bypass the Gatekeeper, use the DM's first name only. Ask ‘Can I speak to Jenny please?', it sounds like a personal call. Remember your goal is not to inform the Gatekeeper; your goal is to bypass them to get to the DM. Next, they might ask ‘Is she expecting your call?'. Simply and easily reply ‘Yes, I sent him some information through from our Head Office, we need to discuss it before close of business today'.
It's not the best solution, and this tip often splits Telemarketers down the middle. You can always ask if you can be put through to the DM's voicemail. Just like in a sales environment, quickly point out a benefit for the Gatekeeper of doing this. If they say that the DM is ‘out to lunch' or ‘in a meeting' and you've already called several times, point out that you've already taken up a lot of their time and ask if they can put your through to voicemail to save bothering them further. Of course, Marketing is a personal art and what works for one, will not necessarily work for another. These Top Ten Tips should be the starting place for developing your own personal method of bypassing the Gatekeeper, rather than seeing them as cast iron instructions to be rigidly followed.