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Not Business As Usual

Many salespeople are reporting that it is taking them twice as long to close a sale as compared to 2007. They also agree that there are fewer deals and, therefore, the need for them to close the deals that are in the pipeline is more acute. Certainly customers will not buy without clear value justification and trust in you. But what else can you do to increase your chances that you, not your competitor, get the business that is out there?

You likely have your closing checklist with questions such as, “Have you gotten to the economic decision maker?” “What is the budget?” and so on. Here’s another question to ask yourself to help you win the business and accelerate closing:

“What ADDITIONAL effort and resources can I put into this opportunity?”

You may be thinking that you are already doing everything possible and taking every extra step the opportunity warrants. And surely the resources you expend must be proportionate to the opportunity, but today, being creative in taking an extra step will pay off.

For example, can you involve a specialist or, to contain costs, arrange a conference call with him or her and your customer? Is there a senior from your team you can involve face-to-face or by phone? Can you add extra value without lowering your price? Can you do the project in stages? Can you demonstrate you go the extra step, for example, visit one of the company’s stores before your presentation to show your commitment to really knowing the customer? And how are you tactfully but clearly leveraging these extra steps and getting credit for your actions?

What is something you ordinarily don’t do that will dramatically show your customer you are there to meet his/her needs and add value? One retail salesperson whose day off was Thursday gave a customer and a prospect who wanted “to think about it” her cell number to be in touch with her if they had any questions. The prospect called her and she closed the sale on her day off.

Closing is taking longer and is more challenging. And one big reason is customers and being more careful so they don’t make a mistake. Therefore, your energy, effort, and creativity must be greater.

Following your normal process will lead to your normal results. Times are not all that normal. To bump up results, bump up what you are doing — more calls, more creativity, more ideas, greater responsiveness, more contact. It’s pretty clear that it takes more time and energy to get deals done. Do something your competitors aren’t doing. Help your customer feel safe and take the step to buy from you.

Let us know what “extra” effort looks like for you and how it has paid off. - by Linda Richardson
My skills have sharpened to close the deal over the years resulting in business as usuall for all of 2008 including the past few months. We sell nutrition and a business opportunity and do exactly what we've been doing for years only with a sharper focus and ability make the right decisions.

MitchM - by MitchM
In my few years of sales, I've always allowed a customer or client to sell themselves by listening. Creative selling will involve a few more extras like giving a cell number or talking with a customer after normal hours so you can form a personal friendship during the sell. Now, you have to ask yourself if you want a commission or a fortune.. you will have a fortune if you make a friend instead of just a sale. Think about it.. how many of your customers have worked with you for more than one sale? Focus on these customers to bring in new business/referrals so you don't have to worry as much as you did to get their business. - by Tahjia C.
Do something your competitors aren’t doing. Help your customer feel safe and take the step to buy from you.
You can bulid a highly successful career on that alone. - by Ace Coldiron
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