Last week I asked our readers to share best practices for creating urgency, getting prospects off the fence, and closing the sale. We had so many responses on LinkedIn and Google Plus, it was impossible to choose only one best answer. I've narrowed it down to my 11 favorite responses. Congratulations to all the winners! I've made it easy to connect with them by sharing their social profiles and company web site.
Lisa Pool, Director of Marketing, AXIOM Sales Force Development
Ask up front what the buyer's schedule is for making a decision, and discovering what criteria they are using to make this decision. Closing any sale begins in the qualification. If you don't have their information criteria, you have no business pursuing a close. You haven't earned that right. I have to admit, I got a bit rankled at the concept of "creating urgency." My issue with this concept is the sale becomes about you and not the buyer. Creating urgency is egocentric. Change your perspective and learn to become a trusted advisor. Earn their trust, learn their goals and missions, and the "need" to create urgency will disappear. (Follow Lisa on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus)
Michael Pedone, Founder, SalesBuzz.com
Sales people often try to create a sense of urgency at the end of the sales process. This causes a lot of stress and anxiety (mostly for the sales person) as they try and hit their end of month sales numbers. The best way I was ever taught on how to create a sense of urgency was to in essence, have the prospect “set their own hair on fire”. Meaning, get them wanting to do the deal without delay, and the first way to do that, is to get them to recognize the problem. If the sales process you are currently following (the sales questions you ask, when you ask them, how you ask them, why you ask them) isn’t getting both you and the prospect to see a problem, your prospect isn’t going to be very motivated to solve it. (Follow Michael on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook)
Allen Turner, Regional Manager, ADQ
Are you talking to the right person? Without a clear understanding of who the decision maker is, most presentations, no matter how great, fall in the category of wasted time and effort. Decisions are not made because the recipient of all your work is not the qualified entity in that organization. What to do if you have found that individual and they still are not persuaded, dig deeper, and determine if you need the sale more than he needs the purchase! Over the top sales skills that fail to identify needs in an organization are smoke and mirrors, and unlikely to gain prime resource status in most companies. (Connect with Allen on LinkedIn)
Patricia Barnes, Inside Sales, Eaton
If you've done a great job engaging the prospect about their current situation, what's driving their need, who else have they turned to for help? How has the problem impacted their bottom line, etc.(this is the information you really need to uncover in order to access the urgency of the prospect's need for a solution). The more key information you can get them to open up about regarding their situation and the impact it is having on their bottomline, the closer you will become to getting them to take action once you have tied the issues to the solution that your product offers to solve their problem. (Connect with Patricia on LinkedIn)
Mark Hutchinson, Managing Director, Anaeko Interactive
Is it really customers who are dragging their feet or us as sales professionals that haven't fully understood their current situation and drivers? First rule of sales 'What is the compelling event?' e.g. what is the reason a company must take action. If there isn't a compelling event today or you can't create one there is always going to be a significant risk of timescales slipping. A true sales professional knows that they need to fill their pipeline with deals where a compelling event exists as opposed to a whole load of flakey opportunities that they should really walk away from. (Follow Mark on LinkedIn, Google Plus)
Brian MacIver, Owner, BMAC Sales Consultants
The pause in NOT rational, it's emotional. Decision Science repeatedly shows we are "Irrational". I would suggest then, that as well as building 'rational' confidence, also deal with the Customer's emotions as well.
Give reassurance. DO NOT 'over egg the pudding' of the implications of inaction, but ADD the Benefits [Value] of action and perhaps ask for a lesser commitment. (Follow Brian on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus)
Hal Alpiar, CEO & Creative Chief, BusinessWorks
After a lifetime of entrepreneurial leadership teaching, training, writing and consulting, I've found no better way, as a seller of services, to get reluctant prospects off the fence than to start delivering the goods! Whenever I am able to turn a sales presentation into an actual consulting session by literally and figuratively sitting on the same side of the problem-solving table, decisions get triggered. Voila! The prospect gets a firsthand “free trial” taste of how I work. Two-thirds of the time, prospects are pleased and more eager to engage services formally. (Follow Hal on LinkedIn, Twitter)
Gill Bacon, Business Development Manager, FircoSoft
In my experience, there are a few determining factors. Sometimes a prospect will hang back due to confidence. If this is the case, you haven't put yourself on their side of the fence enough. Offer a trial for a percentage of the cost. If you are able to show the value of your product by a trial period or proof of concept, it’s a small pay-out for them with less risk. Ultimately you're starting the project and its much harder for them to pull out. Another reason may be lack of budget or available funds in the short term. Offer a payment plan if you can. Build their confidence, prove how it can help, be the person who is helping them solve a problem, not a sales person after the win. (Connect with Gill on LinkedIn)
Rick George, Insurance Agent, McGroarty & Bradburn Insurance
I think the best way is telling stories. Rambling off all the great benefits about what you are selling, how great you are, the size of your company, or your stellar service, will just be the same old music the prospect has heard over and over again. They'll turn down the volume and it becomes elevator music in the back of their minds. Nice to listen to, but not listening to the words. Telling a Great Story of how your product or service answered the needs of your client will let them see the real benifit and they'll remember the story. Now telling them a "horror" story of the person that didn't buy will create the urgency to move off the fence! It only works if its a Great Story. One that the prospect will put themselves into the story and they begin to feel it with emotion. (Connect with Rich on LinkedIn)
Tibor Shanto, Chief Sales Officer, Renbor Sales Solutions
Take it away, put it back in your bag, leave, and they will find urgency. Takes guts, but if you have other prospects, its the best way. I suspect the real issue is that you have no other prospects and you need it more than they do. (Follow Tibor on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube)
Glenn Arens, Account Executive, PrintComm / Marketing Impact Inc.
I had to realize early on that it isn't about me, it's about them, their job, their family and their future and when I realized that, my future became a lot brighter. (Connect with Glenn on LinkedIn)
Pick your favorite(s) and share your own best practices. Join the conversation on Google Plus.