This article is about how to close a deal in one call. I mean it — literally one conversation with a stranger that ends with a signed contract. There may be industries in which this technique doesn’t apply, but, for the most part, if you think this is impossible in your field, you’re wrong.
You’re likely unknowingly extending a sales cycle for the sake of extending it. You can either waste time for both you and your prospect, or you can take a shot.
It’s said that only 2 percent of sales are made on a first meeting. But in my experience, that statistic is true only because salespeople believe they cannot close deals in one call. The members of my sales team close 50 percent of their sales on the first meeting. Here’s how you can do the same:
- Be indifferent.
This is not easy. You need to actually feel indifferent about whether the prospect buys what you’re selling. Describe what you have to offer, shut up, let them voice their concerns, and be OK no matter the outcome.
To practice this skill, get in the mindset of describing two dinner options to your significant other. You’re not selling one or the other: You don’t care which one the other side chooses — you just want to make the call. Reach this state of mind.
- Implement short, simple contracts.
Get a good lawyer and say you need a simple agreement that is one to three pages, if possible. Listen silently as your lawyer explains why this is impossible, then repeat what you need until he or she makes it happen.
It’s also a must to invest a few dollars in an app to electronically sign these agreements. There are plenty to choose from, and using one removes a lot of friction from the process.
- Always offer a pilot.
Make the first commitment extremely approachable but not free. People love pilots. People don’t love taking big risks with unknown companies. Salesforce might be able to get people to sign up long-term, but you probably can’t.
I know, I know. Churn, KPIs, your boss’s and board’s expectations — I get it. But sell more stuff and deliver on what you promise. Your boss and board will be fine.
- Paint a picture of simple execution, then deliver on it.
Explain what you do in simple terms. I know everyone says this, but trust me: You’re still probably not doing it well. Even highly intelligent, data-driven folks like simple.
If your spiel uses lingo the general population won’t understand, any decision maker you meet with will assume a partnership will be complicated.
Find a couple of people who aren’t involved in your business and explain the business in one sentence (I used my mother-in-law). If they do not understand, don’t think, “They don’t get it.” Assume you’re not explaining it well. You can call my mother-in-law if you’d like.
- Be quiet, and whatever you do, do not ask for the business.
At the end of your call, let the decision maker think and decide without prodding. You’ve said your piece; now say nothing.
And, for God’s sake, do not ask potential buyers for their business. It’s a sales call; they know you want their business. It feels desperate, and you can’t afford to give off the scent of desperation.
Don’t attempt to fool unwitting buyers into purchasing subpar solutions. If you’ve created a great product or service, engage in human conversation with other humans. Then determine whether you can truly help them, and get out of your own way.
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