HEROware’s Best Practices Series – Closing the Sale
We know it’s a jungle out there in the reseller world, and our HEROware community is here to help. We invite our resellers to share their expertise, tips of the trade, and lessons learned about reselling so we can pass these words of wisdom on to other resellers. To be considered for an interview on the topics of sales, customer service, operating a small business, work/life balance or any other topic of interest to other resellers, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closing the Sale
with Brent Allen, Co-Founder of AmeriHub
You’ve been cold calling, networking, attending events, advertising, and you finally got the word out about your business. Someone has called you and wants to “speak with you more about your IT products.” You’ve got your foot in the door. So, now what?
Seasoned sales expert Brent Allen shares some of his best low-pressure tips on closing the deal:
Tip #1: Educate
Client education is the biggest part of the sales process. For instance, with HEROware’s products, you should understand each product and why a prospective client might need it. Pay special attention to offering explanations on the differences between backing-up data, disaster recovery, and business continuity. The difference between these levels of product is what most of my customers have the hardest time grasping at first.
From here, I approach the education process as an insurance sale. Find out how much insurance the prospect needs. They don’t want to be over-insured or under-insured. Your job is to help them determine the right amount of “insurance” to invest in.
Then ask them some questions. Start with “what happens if your system is down? How much money do you lose every hour you are down? How many hours can you afford to be down?”
Walk them through the process of each different set-up: Are you just backed up? Then here’s how long you’ll be down. Does that work for you? Would you lose too much money? If the answer is “yes,” then present them with the next level of solution, what it costs, and what that scenario would look like if there was a disaster. Make sure they understand that, in every possible scenario, HEROware has a product for them.
Tip #2: Don’t present
This is going to sound radical but I never, ever make sales presentations, and here’s why: If you’re presenting, you’re talking. And if you’re talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, how do you know what problem the prospect needs you to solve? Because, first and foremost, your job is to solve a problem, not sell a product.
There’s a scientific explanation why you don’t want to depend on a sales presentation to get the job done. Humans learn in three ways: either by what they see, what they hear or through the act of physical touch. Only 20 percent of the population learns by what they hear. So, the minute you present a potential client with sales material or start going through the PowerPoint presentation you’ve spent so much time on, there’s an 80 percent chance that you’ve lost them. If the prospect really wants to see your sales materials, email them afterward.
Tip #3: Don’t Try to Sell
This probably also sounds crazy, but the way to be successful in business is to not sell. Your job is to listen, figure out the customer’s needs, then educate them on how you can solve their problems. Your goal should be to offer a solution, not make a sale.
Have you ever walked away from an encounter feeling like you had been “sold” something? Most often, that feeling is accompanied by a sense of regret. Feeling like you’ve been “sold” something can leave you with a negative impression of the salesperson, their company, and their brand.
On the other hand, if you’ve ever had a legitimate problem that you needed solved and met someone who could offer you a solution to that problem, chances are you left that meeting feeling like your purchase was a good investment. In this second scenario, you were probably more likely to purchase from this person again, and refer them to friends and family.
Approach every sales meeting as a chance to build a long-term relationship. Feel free to guide your customers toward the best solution for them, but let them decide on their own to make the purchase. They’ll be more likely to remember you fondly if you do.
Tip #4: Leave with an Action Item
This should go without saying but so many new resellers fail to end a sales meeting with an action item. Never leave a meeting with a prospective customer without an action plan, whether it’s to sign the contract, send them a proposal, or follow-up with them in a few days.
Tip #5: Know When to Walk Away
Once you have a clear grasp of the customer’s problem, you may find that you simply don’t have the best solution for them in that particular instance. If this is the case, thank them for their time, and plan to stay in touch with them for the one day when you do have a solution they’ll need.
Being able to gracefully walk away from a sale when you aren’t the right fit will go a long way toward earning the customer’s trust, and ensuring your long-term success.