Problem: Since closing rates are in the 15-20% range nationally, one of the biggest concerns that management and salespeople alike have is a desire to increase closing rates. Although there are several reasons for this problem, one of the most overlooked is the tendency for salespeople to make proposals without knowing what will happen when the prospect gets the proposal. This is like rolling the dice and hoping for the best.
Analysis: The traditional focus on closing has been to make sure we “ask for the business,” memorize a few good “closes,” or some other tactic. We’ve been told that we must qualify, make a presentation, and then close. We think that this approach makes little sense and puts the salesperson at a distinct disadvantage. Many salespeople don’t want to appear pushy so they act subservient- they would rather make a friend than make a sale. If I ask for a commitment it will sound tricky, “salesy,” and I might not like the answer. It’s easy to see that old habits are hard to break.
Solution: You have a right to get a commitment from your prospect before you “reward” them with a presentation. Remember that once they receive your proposal they don’t need you. Stay in control by asking for something in return. Think of it as trading a proposal for a decision.
Try saying something like this before you make the presentation: “Assuming you’re totally convinced that our solutions will fix these problems for you, and the investment is within the parameters we’ve already discussed, what would happen at that point?” If you get a positive response, then all you’ve got to do is deliver. If you get something other than a positive response, chances are you have failed to qualify properly. If you don’t like the prospect’s answer, there’s nothing in the rules that says you have to make a presentation. At this point you need to forget about presenting and ask questions to figure out what you missed.