Most salespeople would tell you that there are few better feelings in life than closing a deal. This is
because guiding a customer through the sales process and coming out the other side with dollars
committed isn’t a matter of blind luck. It’s a craft — based on equal parts data mining, psychology,
intuition, and other skills.
Many sales staff have been under unprecedented pressure this year. The COVID-19 pandemic
triggered changes to the economy that made many buyers cut back on spending. Now that the
economy is slowly recovering, sales opportunities may be improving. Here are four steps your
salespeople can follow to improve the odds that those chances will come to fruition:
1. Qualify prospects. Time is an asset. Successful salespeople focus most or all their time on
prospects who are most likely to buy. Viable prospects typically have certain things in common:
● A clear need for the products or services in question,
● Sufficient knowledge of the products or services,
● An identifiable decision-maker who can approve the sale,
● Adequate financial standing, and
● A need to buy right away or soon.
If any of these factors is missing, and certainly if several are, the salesperson will likely end up
wasting his or her time trying to make a sale.
2. Ask the right questions. A salesperson must deeply understand a prospect’s motivation for
needing your company’s products or services. To do so, inquiries are key. Salespeople who make
great presentations but don’t ask effective questions tend to come up short.
An old rule of thumb says: The most effective salespeople spend 80% of their time listening and
20% talking. Actual percentages may vary, but the point is that a substantial portion of a
salesperson’s “talk time” should be spent asking intelligent, insightful questions that arise from
pre-call research and specific points mentioned by the buyer.
3. Identify and overcome objections. A nightmare scenario for any salesperson is spending a
huge amount of time on an opportunity, only to have an unknown issue come out of left field at
closing and kill the entire deal. To guard against this, successful salespeople identify and address
objections during their calls with prospects, thereby minimizing or eliminating unpleasant surprises at
closing. They view objections as requests for information that, if handled correctly, will educate the
prospect and strengthen the relationship.
4. Present a solution. The most eloquent sales presentation may be entertaining, but it will
probably be unsuccessful if it doesn’t satisfy a buyer’s needs. Your product or service must fix a
problem or help accomplish a goal. Without that, what motivation does a prospect have to spend
money? Your salespeople must be not only careful researchers and charming conversationalists, but
When you alleviate customers’ concerns and allow them to meet strategic objectives, you’ll increase
the likelihood of making today’s sales and setting yourself up for tomorrow’s. Our firm can help you
identify optimal sales strategies and measure the results.