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The Dog Ate My Homework

March 1, 2015

How to Decrease Your Chances of Closing the Sale

(And Tips to Increase Your Chances)

As a business owner and a sales trainer/coach, I get to experience sales calls from two very important angles. I am both a prospect to another company’s salesperson and I am a trainer/coach to my client’s salespeople. Sometimes, this happens on the same day and the call experience ranges from excellent to poor. Many of the best learning points I make during sales training come from these personal experiences as someone’s prospect  and they usually fall in the “what not to do” category. Here is a summary of some of the worst and best prospect call experiences.

To make sure you do not make the sale…The Dog Ate My Homework 3

Pretend Your Dog Ate Your Homework

Get a prospect list and just dial. Don’t bother to look up the company you are calling, even if there is a potential they might already be a client. Just prepare your “pitch” and hope for the best. This strategy will ensure you say things like, “I don’t know what your company does but I am sure you will want to buy from us.” This really lets your prospect know that you are an intrusion to their day and that they should block your number.

To increase your chances of closing the sale…

Take the appropriate amount of time to research who you are calling and identify how you can possibly add value to their business. Understand what your prospect does before calling and plan to show your knowledge.

To make sure you do not make the sale…

Make Sure You Blend In

When speaking to the prospect, make sure you sound like everyone else. Don’t differentiate yourself because that would show that you actually thought about the prospect before the meeting. Blend in so much that your prospect gets bored with what you are saying. And if you really want to fade into the crowd, never, ever be prepared to answer the question, “Why you?”

To increase your chances of closing the sale…

Research your competition, know how you differ, identify how you are better and prepare to answer “Why you?” with a strong value statement.

To make sure you do not make the sale…

Spill Your Guts

When you finally talk to a decision maker after months of trying to reach him/her, make sure you talk non-stop, without breathing, for at least two minutes. Mention every feature about your product and then ask right away for the close before the prospect can think or speak. Act surprised and even slightly insulted when the prospect says no. Challenge the prospect’s disinterest by asking, “Are you sure?” Then, ask questions to imply the prospect is stupid by asking, “Isn’t saving money important to you?”

To increase your chances of closing the sale…

Focus on solutions more than on products. Show you did your homework and really care about helping the prospect.  Don’t try to sell everything including the kitchen sink.  Focus on the key benefits of what you offer that align with the prospect’s needs.

It is true that we learn best from experience.   And my experience is that it is easy for a prospect to become frustrated and annoyed when salespeople demonstrate the three poor prospecting approaches just described since they waste a prospect’s valuable time.  In my experience, when sales people use the best practices listed below each approach, that increases their odds of closing the sale.

New Tips to NOT Close the Sales Since the Article Was First Posted 

(1) Wrong Way to Reach Decision Makers – Call your prospect and don’t leave a voicemail when the prospect doesn’t pick up. In fact, call three to four times a day, even at 11 pm. Maybe if you keep annoying them they will call you back to tell you to stop calling.

Better Option – Prepare for voicemail and leave a message that shows you understand their business and can bring value.

(2) Wrong Way to Gain Credibility – Tell your prospect you will send a proposal and then forget to send it.

Better Option – Specifically tell the prospect when they can expect the proposal and keep your promise. When you are first calling on prospects, every action you take and everything you say is letting the prospect know what they can expect if they do business with you.

What do you or your salespeople do?