Sales Techniques that will Close Sales

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/24/2007 | Advertising

Have you wondered why, despite being able to describe the benefits of the products you are selling, the customer did not buy? You were told not to sell features but the benefits of the product, and that is exactly what you did. Yet you are not able to close the deal. What is that missing element that is needed?

The answer may be that the benefits you described are not benefits that apply to the customer. The question is what is in it for the customer to be interested in what you are selling.

If you are selling to a business organization, focus first on the business requirements that are driving this deal. Whatever you sell had better give returns to the business. Otherwise, this might be your last sale to this organization.

Once you know the business needs, connect them to the benefits that your product can offer. This means you must know your product's features and related benefits. If you already know your product well, that is half the battle won. If not, you must find out. If yours is a technical product, a user-based understanding is all that is needed for a sales person. Later, you can bring in technical expertise as needed.

The next thing to do is to establish the needs of the business that your product can meet. Present this from the customer's perspective and your chances of closing the deal are very much increased. There will, of course, be competitive products and prices to be considered.

Having described the concept, how can you do this in a well-organized way? In this case, first list all the product features and their related benefits. Now for each of the benefits, write down what is the business need that can be met. Once you have written all of these down, convert these to questions that you can ask the customer.

You will find repetition in this first version. Clean it up and organize the questions in a natural flow. Note down also the benefits and features along with the questions.

You can now use this questionnaire when you meet the customer. If required, you can also discuss benefits and features of the product. Getting quantifiable information will help in the business justification later.

When the customer sees that you know your contents, you can expect a better response as the customer knows that you are not wasting any time. The respect you show for the customer's time is a very good basis to build a good customer relationship.

This technique will help you establish which benefits will help the customer based on the business requirements as established by the customer.

The next step is for you to understand the customer's industry and to be able to articulate the trends and why requirements not articulated by the customer should also be considered. Typically, customers appreciate this additional knowledge that you bring to the situation.

So far, it has all been about value to the business. Successful selling also needs empathy to human needs. Quite often, the person you are selling to will be well versed in the operational aspect of the job, but will have a limited knowledge of the industry direction. They are typically driven by the daily operations. While they may know industry directions, they normally appreciate any specific information that will help them.

The impact of technology has made people look differently at how a business can be successfully transformed. Here again, is another opportunity for you to be of value to your client. It is not sufficient that the customer buys a good or great product. They also need to know how to use it such that they can maximize the returns on the investment.

You need to be able to justify why your product will give better returns. If necessary, you may also need to meet others in the business to show how your products will have an impact on their business.

Presenting your product information, features and benefits and the quotation for the product is just not enough. You must articulate how the products uniquely benefit the business. You must be able to provide information and data related to the business. You know how it will help their business. If you can do this very well, they will even sometimes call on you to ask your opinion because they know you care about the success of their business, and not just on the sales and commissions.

There will be other challenges, especially regarding prices. Even if the product price is lower than the competition, if you cannot relate the value of your product to the business's needs, it will be tough to close the sale. With the kind of value proposition that you can bring to the table, you will stand a much higher chance of closing the deal.

One exception will be when you find out during the investigation stage that the customer is not ready for your products yet or does not need them. Be big enough to walk away. You would have established your credibility. When the customer does need your products, he will call you because he knows that he can trust you.

Take some time to prepare a questionnaire as described above, if there is none right now. Use it to understand the customer's business requirements. Then present it based on the unique customer requirements. With these techniques, you will get the customer's attention because you are helping to solve their business issues using your product. You stand a much better chance of not only winning the deal, but building a rapport and trust with the customer for the longer term.