Discover the Key Characteristics to Close More Sales
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
In the August issue of TAS Trader, we talked about identifying where your clients are located and adjusting your market strategy accordingly. But marketing is only half of a successful sales and marketing initiative. The other half is closing sales.
Though much has been written, and will continue to be written, about making sales, a few basic, yet key, characteristics are the foundation for sales success. Sadly, too many organizations fail to address these essential elements and can’t figure out why the latest can’t-miss initiative isn’t producing the results they want.
What follows are common sense characteristics, yet too many organizations overlook them as they pursue other strategies.
The first key is to react quickly. Gone is the time when the next business day or within 24 hours is good enough. Though some services have a one-hour response goal, even this falls short in today’s market where perspective clients seek instant results. Studies abound about response rate efficacy, but the bottom line is the faster you respond to an inquiry, the more likely you are to close a sale.
And to be clear, I’m not talking about the time from when a sales rep gets the lead to when they make the first contact, I’m talking about from when a client clicks a link or submits a request to when they are interacting with a sales professional.
Strive to make this as fast as possible. The goal is to close the sale before your competition responds.
The second key is ongoing interaction. Most people pursue easy solutions and desire to achieve the best results with the least amount of effort. Salespeople are no different in this regard.
It’s true that many sales close on the first interaction, which tapers off with each subsequent follow-up effort. Yet collectively contacts two through ten (or more) produce a substantial number of sales as well.
It’s just that most salespeople don’t know this because they don’t follow up with their leads. They seek the low hanging fruit of that initial contact and write off the prospects who don’t readily say “yes.”
The next key is to ensure each contact has a purpose. Don’t call a prospect to “touch base” or see if they’re ready to begin service. Instead, be deliberate with each contact, be it by phone, email, or text. Make sure each interaction moves the sales process forward.
Learn the steps they plan to take to make their decision. Do they need someone to sign-off on their recommendation? Do they need to research something? They might need to look at their budget. Ask them how you can help them move the process forward.
Another option is to contact them with additional information. This might not even be material that relates to your answering service or them using it. If you find something that may relate to their business or could be of interest to them, that’s a great reason to contact them.
The point is that each follow-up contact should move them closer to deciding to use your service.
Don’t Stop Until You Get a Decision
The fourth key is persistence. Too many salespeople give up too soon. Know that some people are deliberate in making changes and need time to process it. Don’t risk writing them off just as they’re getting ready to say “yes.”
Continue following up with prospects until there’s no more reason to do so.
The most obvious reason is that they sign up to use your answering service. Another reason is that they tell you to stop contacting them; respect that. And if they’ve gone with one of your competitors, ask their permission to follow up with them at a certain point to see how things are going.
A timely call could turn a “no” into a “yes.”
A foundation for sales success is to respond fast, follow-up, be intentional, and don’t stop. Few salespeople do this, so implementing these four basic skills will put you ahead of most people. And along the way you’ll close more sales.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.