Closing a deal is a delicate balance. On one hand, you must put the customer first, refraining from pressuring the client until they’re ready to make a decision. On the other hand, you have to generate revenue, hitting certain KPIs so you can pay the bills.
There are some important small business sales strategies any entrepreneur can use to seal the deal. Here are a few tips to go over with your sales staff at your next meeting.
1. Pinpoint the decision maker
It seems simple enough—engage with the person authorized to pull the trigger on the deal. If you avoid meeting with someone who has to ask their boss or run an idea by a committee, the likelihood of closing the deal increases significantly. Unfortunately, decision makers at each company tend to have the busiest calendars. Rather than take a meeting with a subordinate, it’s best to wait it out to get the attention of the decision maker.
Tailor your pitch to that person’s business style. Maybe they want to chat over coffee or maybe they love PowerPoint presentations. Make a concerted effort to get proper facetime with the decision maker: It’s much easier to say “no” to an email than a human face.
2. Scope out the competition
You can expect your prospective client to shop around for similar services, which means you need to keep on top of what else is out there. Can you offer something your competitors don’t for a similar price? Decide what makes you different than other entrepreneurs in your space and highlight that in your pitch.
3. Listen, simplify, and make it personal
People who excel at closing deals generally do the least amount of talking during the meeting. They listen to what the client wants and then figure out how their product can meet their client’s needs. People like entrepreneurs who look at them as humans, not revenue generators.
4. Show your customers that their time is valuable
Any transaction needs to be as frictionless as possible. The decision to close a deal should come down to a simple “yes” or “no” from the client. Identify parts of your pitch that are confusing or unnecessary and cut them out.
5. Try to establish a personal touch in the way you do business
Potential clients have a way of disclosing a bit of intimate information at the beginning of every encounter, so use that later on in the meeting or when you follow up in an email. Whether they mention upcoming business travel plans or a child’s birthday, reference it to demonstrate that you were listening.
6. Make it immediate
Don’t let a prospect off the hook without a call to action. Provide a limited-time offer or an incentive to spur the sale—discounts and free gifts work well. If you don’t close the deal in the room, let the client know you’ll follow up shortly. The method will be seen as a gentle nudge, stopping short of rushing the customer.
7. Share your passion
There’s a reason you started your business, so don’t be afraid to get a little excited when you talk about your product or service. People respond to passion, knowing you’ll go the extra mile if you truly love what you do.