Closing the Deal: Do you know YOUR numbers?
A friend shared an interesting story about a time she met some co-workers for dinner and among those co-workers was an average looking guy name Jim. Jim showed up to dinner with his wife who was stunningly beautiful and could have been mistaken for a runway model. The next day, one of the other co-workers jokingly asked Jim how he ended up with such a knock-out for a wife. Jim simply answered “Well, I was the one who asked”.
The same is true in the sales world. According to Zig Ziglar, 63 percent of all sales calls end with the salesperson not specifically asking for the order (Selling Power, 2016 ). Think about all the effort and preparation you put into the sales motion only to have someone else, who took the time to ASK for the sale, win it. This happens every day and isn’t surprising at all. 70% of sales people have weak closing skills and often never ask for the order (Business Brief, 2012)!
Here are some tips to ensure you win your share of wins in the market:
- Know your Number: First, It’s important to understand the amount of effort you are exerting into the sales process. Your closing ratio is your total number of sales or “closed deals” divided by your total number of demos or “product presentations” during a given time. Say, for example, you give 8 product presentations in a week and close two of these presentations. Your closing ratio or closing rate would be 2 divided by 8 or 25%. Closing averages vary depending the industry you work in and the territory you cover.
- Build Your Pipeline with the closing rate in mind: If you have a $1M quota and your closing rate is 25%, your average pipeline needs to be $4M. If $4M seems impossible, then you need to improve your closing skills because if you continue to do the same thing, you’ll never hit your sales quota.
- Don’t Give up until at least the 5th attempt: 60% of all sales are made after the fifth closing attempt. A study at Notre Dame found that 46 percent of the salespeople surveyed ask for the order once and then quit; 24 percent ask for the order twice; 14 percent ask for the order three times and 12 percent give up after the fourth attempt. (Selling Power, 2016)
- Plan for buying delays: As stated before, don’t expect to close the sale on your timeline or on the first try. 63% of people who request/accept information from you, won’t buy for three months. Another 20% will take 12 months. Anticipate these protracted timelines to avoid frustration and correctly build your pipeline. (Getbase.com, 2013)
- Understand the customer and the closing hurtles: Make sure you know WHO is involved in the closing decision and who your competition are. Review HOW the buying decision will be made (management sign-off, legal reviews, number of required vendor quotes etc) and ask WHEN the decision will be made.
- ASK FOR THE SALE: This one is pretty obvious but remember that 70% of your competition won’t ask for the sale. Make sure you are in the 30% who DO.
- Ask for Referrals after the sale: Here is another crazy statistic. 91% of the customers say they’d give referrals — but no one ever asks (Business Brief, 2012). Don’t let this free gift slip through your hands. Always ask for referrals to open the door to that next opportunity.
In the end, sales is a numbers game. If you know the statistics and play the game being mindful of the stats, your chances of success will be vastly improved. Once you know YOUR numbers, you’re half way there. But make sure you remember to ASK for the close – it won’t happen unless you do.
What do YOU do to make sure get the close? Any creative techniques?