Monday, January 11, 2010

Closing Sales

People only see what they are prepared to see.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Each and every business spends so much money trying to attract new customers. All that money however, will go to waste if you do not have a sales team that fields these prospective customer inquiries and closes sales well.

One of our clients was getting between 25 and 30 calls a day from prospective customers, but their sales were not where they should be. In fact, they were only closing two to three of these calls each day. The business owners thought their small staff was doing a great job responding to these potential customers, but they asked me to call in and tell them how the calls were going.
At their request, I called and pretended to be a customer. Very early in the call, I was put on hold for about a minute, and when the salesman came back, he apologized for the wait and explained that he had to dispatch a crew. This was not a great first step in the selling process as what he was really saying was that the crew was more important than me, a potential customer.

As the call progressed, I asked him how his services compare with his competitors, and he responded that they were more expensive, but they provided more in services. However, as a potential customer, I really did not understand the point he was trying to get across. Rather than talking about prices, he should have focused on the value that I was going to get by using his firm. What he should have said is that they pride themselves on being the best service company in this community and that so many people have raved about their services.

In terms of prices, he should have said that rates vary all over the board and that they always try to give their customers a fair price. He should have avoided any direct price comparison unless the customer had specifically requested this.

This particular service company really needs to get out to the customer’s house in order to give a valid quote and establish a relationship. The more the initial salesman can move the conversation toward scheduling a visit to the customer’s home, the higher the probability of success. In fact, the firm converts about 70 percent of home visits to sales, so this area demands much improvement.

The greatest flaw in this call was the lack of closing. The salesman never asked for my name or phone number so that he could call me back. Neither did he try to set up a time for their representative to come out and give me a quote. He just did not attempt to continue the conversation or set up any future contact. The salesman ended the conversation by simply saying, “Thanks for calling us.” This is not a very effective way to end a call from a potential customer.

It is so important to evaluate every step of your sales process to ensure that the message you want to communicate is being delivered. This is done by establishing methods that allow you to see the effectiveness or success of each step in your sales process.

You can do this!

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