Teaching B2B salespeople how to close more by selling less sounds like consultant babble. There is no doubt this flies in the face of traditional selling methods like the ABC—Always Be Closing—model. But the truth is, "always be closing" is no longer the way to close more sales.
Last week, I spent time with sellers from a sales organization I consult. The top performing salespeople tended to talk less than their customers during a sales call. This was not a fluke, it was world-class selling! They're not closing... heck, their prospects don't even feel like they're being "sold" anything! It made me realize, the best way to close more business is to sell less.
Here are five things world-class sellers do during the sales process—other than selling—that keep things moving in a positive direction:
- Ask questions: Prepare a list of 10-15 questions to ask during a needs analysis meeting. The questions should be customized for each customer or prospect.
- Listen: The best salespeople listen more and talk less. This happens when both ears are open the seller’s mouth is closed. A good rule of thumb is to allow the customer to talk the majority of the time during a sales call.
- Ask appropriate follow-up questions: This is a sure sign that a seller is listening. Most customer needs emerge a bit fuzzy and require some probing from the seller to reveal a problem or opportunity that is well defined. Keep the Charles F. Kettering quote in mind when asking follow-up questions, “A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.”
- Summarize needs uncovered during the needs analysis process: After uncovering several needs it is a good idea to summarize the needs and ask the customer to prioritize their needs and select the most significant challenge. By the way, this challenge should be the focus of the proposal.
- Contract during the sales process to make sure the customer is engaged: Stopping down occasionally to see if the customer is engaged is a great idea. Sellers can do this by asking questions and by looking for non-verbal cues.
As a B2B sales consultant or trainer it is important to teach a sales process that is aligned with they way buyers prefer to buy. These elements switch the sales process to fit a model more palatable for buyers and more conducive to closing business. Feel free to teach these behaviors to the sales organizations you consult!
To learn more about a sales process that includes these elements and many more download chapter one of Close Like the Pros by Steve Marx. Learn how to close more by selling interactively and pitching less!