Sales is an artform, as much as it is a science. Last week, we discussed the scientific angle, outlining the structure of the sales process.
This week we’ll look at the more human side of the equation — the art of connecting with and convincing your potential client. Let’s discuss how we can approach the conversations involved around the structure of a sale, and how to close deals faster with higher dollar amounts attached.
Startup sales are unique in that you’re forced to sell on value instead of an established company name if you want to close more deals.
This means that the conversation elements of the sales process are even more important. Here are some points to keep in mind:
Recap, Recap, Recap.
Most people are poor listeners. Both salesperson and client tend to hear what they want to hear, and walk away with partnerships that are loosely defined and confusing. To avoid this, recap after every 2-4 questions with a focus on accomplishing two things:
- The client feels listened to. “Wow, this person actually heard what I said!”
- You gain a better understanding of their needs and are equipped to make quality recommendations.
Listen and recap consistently and you will experience a more productive conversation with a fully formed proposal at the end.
Don’t give a la carte options.
Instead, recommend specific partnership plans that are tailored to their needs.
A client may think they want options, but really, they want you to tell them what’s best. Options are confusing, and you’re the expert. Reassure them that your specific plan is the right one and guide them through it. A few choices are OK if you want to provide a high, medium, and low level of commitment for them to consider, but offering too many choices could throw them off and kill the deal.
Ask Specific Questions.
You want to have a conversation with your client — but you also want to make a sale. The goal is not to shove something down their throat, but you need to be precise and assertive to keep the process on track. Clients should feel overwhelmed by your amazing product, and walk away with a clear understanding of why they need you.
Questions like, “does that make sense” or “any questions?” are the best way to lose a client’s focus. No one wants to admit that they don’t understand something and they’ll often nod and smile and let you continue without asking for clarification when they need it.
To avoid this, guide them with questions like, “How would that work at your company?” or “Can you tell me how you would see this being implemented?”
There are many components to a sale that we’ll address in future posts, but these are the three critical elements you should keep in mind when appealing to the person you’re selling to. Actively listen and seek to understand, make recommendations, and ask questions that invite feedback. These three pieces are absolutely critical if you want to connect with your client, shorten your sales cycle, and close more deals.