Ever notice that some tele-sales reps consistently out sell other reps?
Why is that? Why do some reps continuously lead the pack in terms of sales and revenues and others don’t?
Sure, knowledge and experience play a role in their success, but when you scratch the surface you quickly discover that highly effective tele-sales reps all have one thing in common: they are exceptionally good closers.
They know precisely how to get the client to commit, take action and buy the product. This is not an accidental trait. It’s a habit they have formed. In fact, there are seven closing habits that highly effective reps share. Here is the first.
Habit #1: Great Closer are Prepared for the Close
Hide behind a corner in your office and watch a top closer. Very rarely do you see them pick up the phone and start dialling and smiling. What you’ll see is that virtually every top closer takes a few extra seconds to plan out their call on a pad of paper.
A good closer begins by assuming a sale has been made and then works backwards from the point. They ask themselves, ‘what must be done to get me here?’ While each rep will have their own individual approach they all focus on three core components of the call:
First, highly effective closers have two sets of well-defined objectives.
Primary objectives are those objectives that they want to achieve on that particular call. Depending on the situation, the primary objective is often to get the sale – dollars in the door. But not always. For example, the primary objective might be to get the prospect to attend a webinar . The primary close is not the monetary sale but rather the commitment to the webinar. The sale might come next. Whatever the case, the rep knows the end game of that call and writes it down. This sets the tone for the rest of the planning.
Great closers also have secondary objectives. A secondary objective could be a contingency objective. For example, the primary objective might be to close the monetary sales but failing that, a webinar might be the contingency objective. A secondary objective might also be an action that the closer would like to accomplish in addition to the primary objective. Perhaps it is a cross sell or a referral.
Once the objectives are clear, the next step is defining a strategy. A strategy is nothing more than the ‘way’ the objective will be achieved. Typically, a good closer will address three issues.
Questions – Prior to the call, a highly effective closer will have a handful of key questions that are designed to direct the client’s thinking. Almost like signposts, these pre-planned questions point to the challenges or the opportunities that a client might be experiencing. These are the motivators that must be tweaked if a successful close is to occur. Motivators are what gets a prospect to take action … and hence, buy.
Selling Points – An effective closer will jot down the key selling points that will have the strongest impact on the prospect. Usually in bullet form, the selling points revolve around the ultimate benefits the prospect will derive. Writing them down on a sheet of paper ensures that they will not be forgotten or diluted when presented.
Objections – Finally, great closers are never caught off guard. They will note the major objections that he or she is likely to encounter and are prepared to respond accordingly.
The Close or the Advance
The third area that closers focus upon when planning is the ‘close’ itself. Top closers are not hesitant about writing down a closing phrase or two. For instance, “Would you like to give it a shot,” or “When would you like to get started?” “How many do you need.” The act of writing the close imprints the close on the mind of the rep and increases the likelihood that it will happen.
Similar to secondary objectives, highly effective closers prepare a back up ‘close’ – called an advance – that they can apply if closing the monetary sale is premature. An advance is action that the client agrees to take (e.g., attending that webinar) by a given date and time. Effective closers do not say, “Attend the webinar next week and I’ll give you a call later on.” Effective closers say, “Let’s sign you up for the Webinar on Tuesday, the 9th at 11:00 a.m. , and I will give you a call to discuss the session and the next steps, later that afternoon…how does 2:15 look on your calendar?”
Highly effective closers begin with the ‘end in mind’ (as Stephen Covey might say). They know precisely what they want to achieve from the call and have a written plan on how they are going to achieve it. Having a call road map is the first step to a higher closing rate.