Thursday, April 21, 2011

No Close, No Money

So you want your business to generate revenue? Money? Be cash positive? Join the club. Your business won't get very far without an excellent sales strategy. Below are some basic tips on setting up and closing deals.

The Three Functions of a Sales Department

Every sales department (or even a lone salesperson) has at least three main functions. The first is to contact new leads (create the funnel), the second is to move the prospects through their objections, and the third is to close prospects. The deliverable of the sales department is, of course, closed sales.

Although closing is 10% of the sales cycle, it delivers 100% of your revenue, and therefore its importance cannot be overstated.

Most sophisticated sales departments use a blue sheet to analyze the sales cycle for each customer. You can search the internet for "blue sheet sales strategy" for a template. These are an excellent tool for setting up and examining the sales funnel and keeping the funnel flowing towards the close.

A good blue sheet should include an analysis of the main objections each prospect has and the handlings for each, as well as a strategy for closing. The key to the funnel is MOVEMENT. The funnel must be active and constantly worked to achieve qualified prospects and convert them to customers by closing.

The Importance of the Close

Closing strategies are a separate and voluminous subject. The main point of agreement about closing strategies is that planning and coordination on handling the objections is key. Every objection must be qualified for accuracy. This qualification step basically involves checking with the prospect whether, if the objection were handled, would he proceed with the process. If he says yes, the objection is real, but if he states some other objection, this objection must now be checked.

When the full list of objections is coordinated amongst the sales team, the objections must be systematically handled by a sales “battle plan”, a strategy for overcoming all of the relevant objections to the degree possible. If some objections cannot be overcome, a different strategy can be formulated depending on the importance of the objection. Only about 10% of objections are insurmountable. Remember that the prospect would not have continued communication with you if he did not have some level of interest.

A closer must be a courageous soul indeed, for he must confront and handle all objections, despite any emotion and reaction on the part of the prospect. He must also tolerate the possible “no” which, with further communication, will turn into a yes. This is not for the faint of heart. The key to closing is continual motion, continual communication, and continual interest. The closer is never discouraged. He is persistent, upbeat, truthful and highly communicative, but not unreal, disingenuous (not genuine) or rude. The best closers are skillful communicators, not overbearing brutes.

Planning for Success

Planning out the sales cycle from lead through close is the key tool for making the revenue your company needs. The sales division may just be the most valuable division in your company, so do not shortchange them with weak or non-existent planning.

When they win, you all win!

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