Closing sales is critical to the future of your media business. So why do 90% of sales executives fail to ask for the sale at the end of a sales meeting or call? The answer for most of my clients is pretty simple; they are just not prepared to ask! During ad sales training I like to call this problem “prep lag,” meaning your time in the sales business has prepared you to a certain point, but you will lag in making the close if you are not prepared to present the close. Here are my five steps to fixing this issue.
Step #1: Ask, answer and eliminate questions to get to a smooth close. People don't buy what they don't understand. Thus, you cannot close business with a client who is unclear or feels what you are selling does not solve the problem they are facing. Use visuals to explain almost everything because 86% of people are visual learners. This point is so important world-renowned sales training expert Chet Holmes mentions the importance of using visuals in his 12 critical steps to sales success in his book, The Ultimate Sales Machine. Any item in your pitch that requires more than two sentences to explain requires some type of visual presentation tool. Only present a proposal once you truly feel that the client is clear on the options you are presenting.
Step #2: Understand why practice makes you better. The answer may appear obvious, but it is not. Practice sets you at a level of ease like nothing else. Being prepared opens up your mind to other issues in which you were not prepared to deal. If you walk on to a sales call and ten things happen, five of which you were prepared to handle, you have a 50% better chance to close the sale. You will never be prepared for every question or objection, but the more you can eliminate, the closer you will be to presenting a quality close. Practice makes perfect in almost every situation. Yet, most sales people hate to practice. Why? It’s just natural. By nature, people do not like to expose their flaws or weaknesses. But, if I told you sales executives who practice close 75% more business, would you practice more? This is a statistic that is 100% true based on what I have personally observed working with my clients. Practice with your spouse, partner, boss or kid. Just do it!
Step #3: Prepare for potential objections and questions. Gather together all members of the sales team in one room. Using a white board, list the most common objections or questions that the team hears in a normal sales week. The list should be fairly long. From that long list, focus in on the top 10. As a group, you should work through a solid answer to the top 10. Then, break into pairs and shoot these objections back and forth to each other. Then, refer back to step #2. Practice.
Step #4: Just ask. Here are several common closes that I use and teach. You will need to come up with several that meet your needs.
- From my perspective, a solid next step is to create a list of your upcoming product launches and match that up to our new media ad packages. Do you agree with that as a next step?
- What do you feel is a solid next step for us?
- Based on what you have shared with me, it would seem that The Smart Business Plan meets you needs. Do you agree?
- When would you like to get started with marketing your business to our 35,000 readers/listeners?
- Is there anything that stops us from rolling forward marketing your products to our readers?
- What questions do you have that will help you in making a decision on marketing today?
- You have asked me for a more detailed proposal. Not a problem. Would Thursday at 1pm or 4pm be a better time to review that proposal together?
Step #5: Follow-up or die. There are a staggering number of sales reps that follow up only three times. The proper pattern for follow-up is an email and a voice mail every third business day for 30 days. You need to be unforgettable and un-delete-able. Be relevant, be smart and be persistent. In following up, it is critical that you re-state the ways you will save the client time, effort and energy. In addition, if on the sales call you saw clearly how your solution would fix a problem they face, be sure to point that out again.
All in all, closing business is to understand these five steps and explore them in intimate detail. Obviously it is hard to provide too much detail in 500 words of text. This is why I have recorded nearly 20 hours on this and other sales topics and also present these ideas live to over 75 groups per year.
Never forget, practice makes perfect and if ad sales were easy, every one would be doing it.
About this blogger: Ryan Dohrn is an award winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, international business speaker and is the President and founder of 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique internet revenue consulting firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting and media revenue generation. Internet consultant and business speaker Ryan Dohrn travels the globe teaching media sales training classes and offers detailed coaching help to business owners and media companies looking to make money online.
Ryan R. Dohrn
360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy
Brain Swell Media LLC
Follow him on Twitter.com/ryandohrn