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Sales Tip - Troubleshooting the Closing Process

When executives contact me for help, the conversation usually starts with, "My sales people can't close! Can you help me?" Rarely does "weak closing" turn out to be the real issue. Closing is merely the final step of the process. If a runner isn't winning races, it's not because he doesn't have the ability to pull down the finish line tape. There is something else in his game that is impacting performance.

Not sure why your team isn't performing as you expect, let's troubleshoot the issue. Two questions for starters...

1. Did you hire the right salesperson for the role? If you aren't getting the performance levels you expect, you may have selected the wrong person to do the job? If you haven't defined your ideal salesperson for the role, this could be your smoking gun!

2. How did you bring the salesperson onto your team? Many companies leave success to chance and don't have an onboarding program in place during which the salesperson learns how to apply their sales skills in your sales role. Without this bridge, you have a high risk of new hire failure.

If you feel you have the right person on your team and have prepared him/her for success...and you still aren't achieving the results, here are some other areas to investigate.

1. Do you have a well-defined Ideal Client Profile? Not every prospect is a match for your offerings. If you don't have a clear definition of your ideal client, your salespeople could be chasing deals that are nothing more than a mirage. If you are a value-provider and the prospect buys cheap, there's little chance of a deal being consummated.

2. Have you documented your Needs Analysis Strategy? Salespeople need your guidance in determining what questions to ask prospects, when to ask them, why they are relevant and where to direct the conversation based on the received responses.

3. Have you set expectations for Pre-Call Research? No one wants to feel like the sales call of the day. Your salespeople need to master the industry, competitors, prospects and the people who affect the buying decision. Remember, companies don't buy anything...people do!

4. Have your salespeople mastered the Two Most Powerful Words in Sales? These aren't trick words. Yet, mastery of them will guarantee that your salespeople sell more than they ever have before. Unfortunately, they never get to say these words to prospects.

Those two words...Synergy and Priority. Synergy is the connection between buyer challenges and supplier capabilities...the solutions to the problems. Priority answers why now? Synergy gets deals into the sales pipeline. Priority gets them to come out the other side. If your seller can't position priority, he/she will be quickly reminded of the old Roach Motel. Deals will come into the funnel, but they'll never come out!

The next time you think that "weak closing" is the reason your team isn't selling, run through these troubleshooting steps to get to the real issues.

Source: Sales management strategist Lee Salz, founder of Sales Architects