Are you constantly trying to get your prospects to do business with you by selling them every single time you’re in front of them? If so, you’re like most salespeople out there.
But what if I told you that in order to start closing sales, you should stop selling your prospects?
The reality is that modern selling isn’t actually about selling per se—at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it’s about determining fit.
Once we know whether a prospect is a fit, then we can start to create real value in that conversation.
In this video, I’m going to show you how to stop selling and start closing sales, right now. Check it out:
Closing Sales Video Summary:
Start Closing Sales Tip #1: Know your ideal prospect.
Selling to the wrong people is a mistake that so many salespeople make—and it’s completely avoidable. More often than not, salespeople who make this mistake are focused on selling to a big, broad audience as opposed to narrowing down their ideal prospect list.
An ideal prospect can fit a bunch of different profiles. It could be focused on industry. It could be focused on title. It could be focused on a specific organization department. Most likely, it’s a combination of all of these factors, and maybe a typical set of challenges too.
Whatever your ideal prospect profile may be, knowing who your ideal prospect is—and really focusing on that group—is going to save you so much time, effort, and resources. It’s also going to help you start closing sales more often. Why? Because you won’t be constantly trying to sell all those other people who were never your ideal prospect anyway, and never intended to buy from you in the first place.
Here’s a tip: start by clarifying who isn’t your ideal prospect. Who do you not want to be selling to? Focus on identifying your anti-prospect, so you can get a crystal clear vision of who to eliminate from your prospect list. Work backwards from there to narrow down your ideal prospect profile and ultimately get a better description of who you do want to get in front of to start closing sales.
Start Closing Sales Tip #2: Only focus on ideal prospects.
I need to drive this point home because it’s so key. If you’re currently dealing with someone who isn’t an ideal prospect, stop dealing with them. Move on. Refer them to someone else. Focus your time only on ideal prospects.
One of the biggest differentiators between top-performing salespeople and everyone else is that top-performing salespeople spend all of their time in front of their ideal prospects. As a result, they’re closing more sales, more often, and wasting far less of their time than other salespeople.
Focus exclusively on your truly ideal prospects—the people who have the budget to work with you, who are going to be good customers and great clients, and who will ultimately be able to give you a yes or no decision.
Start Closing Sales Tip #3: Get rid of the rabble.
This tip builds on the earlier two points: Getting rid of the rabble may sound kind of mean, but it’s so critical. Salespeople often come across these middling prospects who kind of seem like they could maybe be someone to work with, and they spend all this time trying to sell them because—eh, they’re right in front of us, so why not?
Top-performing salespeople know not to fall into this trap. Instead, they determine whether someone is a fit up front. Those middling prospects—the rabble—are quickly determined not to be fits, and they’re gotten rid of.
Don’t be distracted by all of these different potential opportunities, most of which are kind of junk. Get rid of the rabble and focus on those people that are truly ideal prospects so you can start closing sales.
Start Closing Sales Tip #4: Disqualify prospects.
If you’ve been in my world for some time, you’ve heard me use the term disqualifying prospects. Disqualifying prospects is, quite simply, essential to closing sales.
Still, even some of my best clients who follow my advice come back to me and say, “Marc, I used the disqualification process, trying to get rid of those people that aren’t a fit. But I’m still coming across some people, and holding onto some prospects, that may or may not be a fit after all. What am I doing wrong?”
Most of the time, the problem is that people aren’t disqualifying prospects early enough in the sales process. If you wait until the sale is underway, or until you’ve spent time and effort on a prospect, then the disqualification process can’t work the way it’s supposed to. The whole point is to use it up front, so you can avoid unnecessary time and effort spent with bad fits.
What we want to do is spend the very early part of the sale disqualifying people that are not a good fit. Get rid of them during that very first conversation.
It’s so liberating to determine early on in a sale, “You know what? This person is really not a fit for what we have. They don’t have the money or they’re not really the qualified decision maker or they don’t have the challenges will solve.” Once we determine that, we can disqualify them right away.
By the way, if the prospect is not the decision maker, that doesn’t mean you just suddenly say, “Eh, you’re not the decision maker. Go away.” But you also don’t want to go through the entire sales process with that person, presenting to them and expecting a decision—only to hear them say, “Great. Now I need to go run this by my boss.”
Instead, disqualify prospects like this and then determine a good next step to get you on your way to closing sales. In this case, it may mean getting an introduction to their boss, or to someone else in their organization who can actually make a decision. If that can’t happen, it may just mean moving on and forgetting about them.
Start Closing Sales Tip #5: Have a doctor’s mindset.
Having a doctor’s mindset is key to closing sales in today’s selling world, no matter your industry. What this means is that whenever we’re in front of a prospect, we need to think like a doctor, not a salesperson.
We’ve got to stop thinking like a salesperson—or even as a consultant. Instead, we really want to think like a doctor.
Consider what happens when you walk into a doctor’s office and say, “Hey, doc, you know what? My elbow has been having an issue and I think I might need some surgery.” Imagine if that doctor came back and said, “Well, you know what, Marc? You’re in the right place. We have this incredible procedure called arthroscopic surgery. It’s unbelievable. We’re going to cut away the bad stuff, sew you back up, and in a week, you can use that elbow again. So, ready to do it?” And then imagine if the doctor pushed a contract right across the desk.
How would you feel in that situation? Of course, you’d be like, “Uh, I’m going to get the hell out of here.” And yet, that’s what most salespeople are doing in selling situations. They’re trying to close sales all the time. They’re selling all the time, before they even know what problems to solve for the prospect.
Instead, take a step back and think like a doctor. A good doctor asks questions when a patient walks in complaining of elbow pain. They take their time to diagnose. They use their expertise to determine whether there’s a fit for the treatments they can provide, and whether a particular solution is going to be ideal for them.
Using a doctor’s mindset is going to change everything for you when it comes to closing sales. It’s going to take a lot of pressure off of you and the prospect. And at the same time, it’s going to help you create a lot more value in selling situations.
Start Closing Sales Tip #6: Only present to prospects’ challenges.
Have you ever been in the middle of a sales presentation that was going really well—but then you got excited and said something like, “Oh, and by the way, let me show you one other thing that we can do,” and suddenly you could tell that you lost the prospect?
Whatever you said just didn’t resonate with the prospect, or perhaps they responded by saying, “Huh. You know, we don’t really need that…” When this happens, it can feel like you have to push a boulder up a hill again just to get back to where you were 20 seconds before.
The best way to avoid this huge obstacle to closing sales is to only present to prospects’ challenges. Don’t present the solution that goes beyond their challenges. And if they don’t have a particular challenge, don’t present a solution to solve a challenge that they don’t have because that’s going to throw them off.
They’re going to think, “This doesn’t really make sense and we don’t need that.” And worse, you’re going to give them the impression that you don’t really understand what they care most about. Present a solution that is directly focused on solving only the challenges that they have shared with you or that you know they have. Ideally, you would have discussed all of those challenges in the discovery conversation leading up to that presentation.
Start Closing Sales Tip #7: Get tons of feedback.
Feedback, feedback, feedback. You want to be getting feedback from your prospects from the beginning of your sales interactions all the way until you’re closing sales.
There’s a tendency—especially for more seasoned salespeople—to get on a roll and think, “Oh, yeah. I’m feeling good. I’m killing this one.” And we just start talking and talking and talking…and we’re not getting feedback from the prospect throughout the entire process. Even when we’re presenting a solution, we’re just talking for 10 minutes straight.
What we want to be doing instead is constantly getting feedback anytime we’re talking for significant periods of time. Ask little questions that I call feedback loops, such as, “Hey, does that make sense?” or, “Do you see what I’m saying here?” The more we’re using those little questions to bring them back into the loop, the data shows, the more likely prospects are to do business with us
You literally cannot overdue this if you want to start closing sales. Get tons of feedback. Got it?
Start Closing Sales Tip #8: Drop the hard close.
As I said at the beginning of this article, selling is not about selling. That said, it’s not about closing either. Selling is about using a process by which we determine whether there’s a fit, and then ask really powerful questions to create value and engage them in a conversation to understand exactly what’s going on by using our expertise.
When you use this process, closing sales doesn’t require a hard close. Instead, when the closing moment has arrived, you’ve already gone through discovery, presented your solution, and gotten the prospect on board. You’ve also gotten so much feedback throughout the sales that the only question you need to ask to close it, “What would you like to do next?”
And because you’ve done such a good job up until then, prospects are likely to respond, “Well, how do we move forward?”
If we can avoid that hard close, we’re going to be closing sales far more often than ever before.
So, there you have it. Now you know how to stop selling and start closing sales, right now. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.