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Monday, March 19, 2012

How to Improve your Sales Closing Ratio - Salesmanship Tips from the Bunker

Many sales people I have talked to enjoy their jobs. They enjoy the sales process, the quota, President Club and helping improve their customers business. They are the most happy when they have a higher than average “Sales Closing Ratio”.

The sales closing ratio is the success rate of completing your sales. For example, let us say that you make ten sales presentations per week. On average you make two sales per week. That means your sales closing ratio is two out of every ten, or 20% when expressed as a percentage. The higher the closing ratio is the better. That means more commission in your pocket. I saw some statistics that show the average SCR is 25%. That kind of makes sense since if you have a $2M quota you need a funnel that is 4 times that in order to succeed. 

Factors that influence sales closing ratios are many and include such things as persuasion skills, product knowledge, and physical appearance, level of professionalism, likeability, friendliness, and verbal skills of the salesperson. All skills that can help close sales can be learned by reading books, taking sales courses or workshops, and watching You Tube videos. In the end, the responsibility lies on the salesperson shoulders. Many times it’s blamed on marketing or the customer which in fact they are just doing their job (not advertising the company value or adding objections to every step in the sales process).

So if Sales is a numbers game then the higher SCR you have among your peers the better off you are in the sales rank sheets pinned up on the Sales Manager’s whiteboard.

Here are several DON'Ts that salespeople make that causes a sales to become lost

DON’T deliver a sales message
You need to deliver the potential customer’s buying message not a sales message. Learn why a prospect wants to buy and shape your message to that need.

DON’T Ask basic discovery questions
Too often, salespeople ask basic questions about the customer that they could have answered for themselves with proper research. Instead, seize the opportunity to engage more intellectually and emotionally with your prospect. Be genuine in learning and understanding their business and needs.

DON’T ask about budget
Salespeople often ask about money or budget. This is none of your business and leads to getting off on the wrong foot. Spend your time doing better discovery and the question will answer itself.

DON’T focus on price
“Price is what you pay and Value is what you get”. Price can be a factor but many times it is not so it is better to focus on the value your product or company will deliver to the customer. Sometimes this is the differentiator that plays in your favour.

DON’T Focus on your competitors
It is important that you differentiate yourself, and your product or service, in memorable ways from your competitors. A better approach is to place competitive land mines in your story that will have the customer ask the competitor to compare themselves to you.

DON’T Focus on the ‘pain’
Many times we are told to find the customers pain points and offer a solution. Great discovery will uncover those issues while you build a rapport and relationship with your customer. I recall being in a meeting when the salesperson asked “What is keeping you up at night?”. The customer replied “Afraid that people like you will ask me that question”. The room got uncomfortably silent after that comment.

DON’T spend time with the wrong person
Too often, salespeople meet with a prospect who is not the ultimate decision maker. This becomes a waste of your time, and theirs. During your initial conversations you will need to uncover who is the decision maker and meet that person. Of course the wrong person will give you answers to your discovery questions so they bring value.

DON’T act like a salesperson in a You Tube Video?
We are not out there acting out a part in a movie or role-playing silly sales tactics. Be yourself and take that genuine enthusiasm and interest in helping customers improve their business. Honesty, Reliability and Integrity will set the stage for a professional business relationship.

DON’T forget to close every step of the way
In every step of the sales process it is always important at the end of the conversation to finish with a call to action or acknowledgement to moving to the next milestone. Customers expect it so make the effort to move the deal forward and if that doesn’t occur then it’s a good sign the customer will spend their valuable time with a competitor.

DON’T forget to rehearse your presentation
Too many times salespeople show up and throw up at a presentation. It is important to practice your presentation and seek honest feedback from your peers so that you can deliver a clean, concise presentation to your customers. Remember its Features and Benefits tied back to the customer needs that are the message elements that need to be delivered.

Happy Selling

1 comment:

  1. John

    Thanks for sharing this information as I find it to not only be a refresher but may help explain why some of the deals our team has been working on were lost to the competition. Our SCR is around the 20% mark and we are working hard to improve that.

    Brian D.


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