By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling®
One of the common complaints I’ve heard from Sales executives is that their people aren’t strong closers. To me this is a reinforcement of the fact that far too much emphasis is placed on closing. It’s as though a poor 3-act play can be salvaged by a strong ending. Many peoples’ impression about selling and closing is based upon experiences they’ve had in B2C transactions. Whether a retail store, buying insurance or buying a car, chances are the buyer and seller won’t ever do another transaction. The realization that if you leave they will likely lose the sale causes them to use high pressure closing tactics.
B2B salespeople often enjoy the benefit of multiple meetings/conversations. They reap what they sow during buying cycles. The better job they do in uncovering buyer needs and associated value, the more likely they’ll win the business.
Sellers are under constant time pressure each month, quarter and year to achieve quota. These pressures increase when pipelines are thin. My belief is that sellers issue premature quotes or proposals and close before buyers are ready to buy, therefore pressuring buyers and potentially putting opportunities in jeopardy.
Before earning the right to close, I believe buyers need to be aware of:
- The business outcomes they want to achieve
- The reasons they can’t achieve the desired results
- The capabilities needed
- Some type of proof (i.e. references or a demonstration)
- The price of the offering being considered
- The cost vs. benefit to understand potential value and payback
- How competitive offerings compare in terms of functionality and price
- Any implementation/conversion plans /costs if needed
A seller earns the right to ask for the business if and when a buyer has all they need to make a buying decision. One of the most powerful motivators for buyers is a clear understanding of the potential benefit on a monthly basis so they understand delaying decisions means deferring benefit. If sellers do a good job, placing orders can be a logical conclusion for buyers. Some will volunteer to buy but if they don’t, the attempts to close will go much better.