August 17, 2017 By Colleen Regan
June 7, 2017
What Not to Do When Trying to Close a Deal
We all make mistakes. That’s just one of those facts of life that we all have to terms with. But when it comes to sales, one slip-up can cause a deal to disappear, and you’re left wondering what went awry. So to reduce those faux pas that are preventing you from selling, we pulled together advice from some of the best and brightest sales minds out there, to teach you what not to do in order to close a deal.
Don’t Fear Rejection
Not every sales call is going to end in your favor, and that’s just something you have to accept. Otherwise, you may subconsciously drag your feet during the sales process on order to avoid the word “no.” “Many salespeople wait for the perfect moment to close because they’re afraid of hearing no,” says Steli Efti, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder/CEO of Close.io. “But by the time they ask, it’s too late. The secret to closing is asking early, asking often, and embracing the no.” And you’d be smart to heed his words: Efti has helped generate millions of dollars of sales throughout his career.
Don’t Stop After the First “No”
Along those same lines, just because a client rejects an offer doesn’t mean they’re shutting the door on you completely. “The first ‘no’ often means ‘no, not that way’ or ‘no, not that product,'” says Tom Hopkins, who, after earning his first million from sales by 27 years old, has dedicated himself to teaching practical, how-to strategies for generating sales results. “Unless you only have one product, you must be creative to come up with variations on your solution that may be more amenable to the buyer. You can keep the sales process moving forward.”
Avoid Sales Jargon
Unbeknownst to us, we made a mistake even in our headline. At least according to Hopkins, who explains: “I teach sales pros the importance of avoiding sales jargon. ‘Closing a deal’ would be jargon. It has a negative connotation in the mind of the consumer. That phrase creates images of the stereotypical, aggressive salesperson pushing their products on others. So, my ‘not to’ advice is not to come across as a stereotypical salesperson.”
Don’t Go Straight to Selling Your Product
Here’s a little update to an old adage: There’s no “I” in sales. Okay, we know that was a bit cheesy, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Just take it from Michael Pici, director of Sales at HubSpot and the man responsible for growing HubSpot’s sales product from $0 to more than $10 million in revenue. “People are selfish—they only care about what they’re experiencing,” he says. But, “today, salespeople need to be two things in order to be successful: incredible listeners and great storytellers.”
Here’s how Pici and HubSpot finds success: During discovery mode, they ask open-ended questions about a client’s goals and challenges; they then use those answers as the script to a story, painting a clear before and after picture for the prospect. “A person’s needs and challenges are unique to them and can change at any given time. A salesperson’s role is to uncover the unique needs of every person they speak to and only then should they start to introduce the features of the product or service they’re selling,” says Pici. “You need your pitch to be powerful enough to break through your prospect’s bubble of indifference so getting their attention early with the highest value prop to their unique context is the way to do that.”
Don’t Assume Everything is On Your Timeline
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The world doesn’t revolve around you. Well, that’s true in the sales game as well. “When trying to get a deal closed, don’t use your own sales deadlines as a means of creating urgency,” says Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, a B2B marketing and sales acceleration firm. “The prospect doesn’t care that it’s the end of your month, or that you’re almost to quota. Those are your drivers, not theirs. Focus on their outcomes, their objectives, reinforce the opportunity (and opportunity cost) of moving forward (or not) to drive urgency and decision on their own behalf, not yours.”
Don’t Keep Selling After a Firm Yes
So your client says yes; they’re going to buy your product or services. That’s great, and that’s where you should, you know, stop talking. “When you have the sale, stop selling,” says Denise Brosseau, Ceo of Thought Leadership Lab and co-founder of Springboard, the women’s startup launch-pad that has led to over $7B in funding for women entrepreneurs. “If the person you are selling to has said yes and you just keep on talking — giving them even more reasons to buy, you may instead talk them out of doing the deal with you. When you have heard a yes, smile and say thank you.”
Max Altschuler, CEO of Sales Hacker Inc., which generated more than $7.5 million in revenue last year, echoes this point—in a way. “Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. Don’t throw in new items, new terms, new details at the finish line,” he says. “Keep it as simple as possible so it can get through legal and accounting and anything else it needs to get through quickly and easily.”
Don’t Rush Things
“Do not try and close a deal until your contact has found ways to justify the purchase to themselves and to others,” says Craig Elias, creator of Trigger Event Selling and chief catalyst at Shift Selling, Inc. So what does he recommend? “I use a RIPES model for justification: Risk avoidance. Image. Productivity. Expenses. Simplicity.”
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