"My people know how to sell. They just don't close." Unfortunately, we hear these words from sales managers we speak with more frequently than you might think.
Why do salespeople struggle with closing? We have found that salespeople don't earn the right to close. Closing seems awkward when we fail to earn the right to close and are not doing it from the customer's perspective. Problems at the end of the sales process result from mistakes made at the beginning of the sales process.
To be effective at closing business, we must understand what our customers want. The only way to do that is to ask insightful questions and comprehend the answers. We must approach the sale from our customer's perspective and not our own. This begins not with the questions we ask our customers but the questions we ask ourselves. To be an effective listener, we must first learn to listen to ourselves. We must pay attention to those nagging feelings in our stomachs as we work with customers and turn them into questions. Questions such as:
Does the person I'm working with have the influence to make things happen?
Is following through with this project more desirable than sticking with the status quo?
How do I know this is a priority for this customer? Have they told me?
Is my solution the best option for this customer, including doing nothing?
Successfully winning business starts at the beginning of the sales process, not its end. We must go into the process with the right questions in mind, and the questions we ask ourselves are often more impactful than the ones we ask our customers.