There’s no question that COVID19 put the brakes on the economy. Spending and hiring came to a complete standstill for many companies. Conversely, if a product or service was needed to continue operations, budget was not an issue — it was just a matter of reallocating funds. So, as the economy starts to recover, it is important for companies to adapt to the existing business climate to generate revenue. In this economy, the prospect’s response “I cannot afford it” may actually be a real objection! To improve your sales closing ratio in this economy, try the following closing methods:
1. Find your prospect’s pain and be a doctor!
Although the economy is stalled, companies are still buying products and services. It is just a question of priorities. In today’s market space, prospects are buying things that keep them in business or improve corporate earnings. It is the pain that gets the funding. Clients are paying for major surgery, not band-aids. During your client discovery conversations, you must focus on finding the prospect’s biggest pain, so you can be a doctor and fix it with your product or service. If you don’t know what your prospect’s biggest wound is, then you will not get the deal. Prospects are spending money, but only on high priority projects. Be the doctor, find the pain, and fix it.
2. Talk to prospects with a title of VP or above.
Mid-level managers and directors in small privately owned firms and Fortune 1000 companies are not the decision makers. Bypass them immediately and go directly to VP’s or above. My general rule of thumb is, if the person you’re dealing with does not have at least a VP title, then you do not have a qualified prospect for your sales forecast.
3. Present every proposal through an online meeting or, when possible, in person to increase your closing ratio.
Set up an appointment to present your proposal and go through the details of the proposal page by page to handle all questions as they arise. Simply sending your proposal by email or overnight delivery without a presentation reduces the personal closing techniques and sales skills of salespeople. You need to walk through the proposal with the prospect in person to keep the one-to-one relationship perpetuating forward as you deal with the prospect’s objections. After the proposal has been discussed, you can send a copy by email or postal mail.
4. Offer pricing options over time to initiate purchases.
Times are tough and cash is tight. Companies need to offer better financing terms to their prospects to spur purchases. As long as you are comfortable with the prospect’s business viability, stretching payments over time (while delivering your technology or professional service on the original schedule) may close a tabled deal.
5. Cut up your offering into time pieces.
Another method to reduce the prospect’s upfront investment is to cut your offering’s price point into smaller more digestible pieces. Find out what budget cycle your prospect is currently in and spread their investment over multiple fiscal quarters (e.g., Phase 1 during Q2, Phase 2 during Q3, etc.)
6. Turn your product into a service.
During tough economic times, companies tend to postpone capital investments that have been allowed for in the budget because of the perceived high cost. To bypass the capital budget item issue, turn your technology into a service and sell it as a cash flow investment option (e.g., selling application software as a multiple year license that is paid monthly, etc.).
7. Offer a discount that is attached to a specific date.
Giving customers a real discount to close business by a specific date may push a hesitating buyer to invest now instead of next year. However, it must be a real discount and the date needs to be enforced. Letting the client buy later at the discount price makes you lose all credibility. (P.S. Remind your CFO that discounting to get revenue is better than having no revenue.)
8. Give a bonus.
Prospects are people just like you and I. They buy houses, cars, and vacations. Like you and I, they want a great deal. One way to repackage your price point is to give something for free (tied to a purchase date) that clients value highly (e.g., sell an 18-month maintenance agreement for a 12-month price or give them something for free).
Selling has never been easy. Complicated by the worldwide changes economically, successful firms need to modify their corporate business model to maximize revenue. These eight suggestions should help.
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