Developing an effective sales strategy for technology companies is crucial to succeed in sales. Closing a deal is one of the most important and challenging aspects of this role; however, with the right approach and mindset, it’s possible to use mini-steps to prompt action and effectively seal the deal.
The first step to using mini-steps effectively is to learn how to ask good closing questions. This is an area where many salespeople struggle, as they’re afraid of coming off as pushy or “salesy.” The key to avoiding this is to focus on asking specific, actionable questions that are easy for the client to say yes or no to.
For example, instead of asking a vague question like “are we ready to get going on this today?” you could ask a more specific question like “are you ready to schedule the creative brainstorming meeting for today?” By focusing on a single, manageable step, you make it easier for the client to commit and avoid overwhelming them with too much information at once.
Another benefit of using mini-steps is that it makes your questions sound less pushy and aggressive. Clients are often hesitant to commit to big, unclear goals, but they’re more likely to say yes to smaller, more concrete steps. This means that by breaking down the process into smaller, more manageable pieces, you can make it easier for clients to say yes without feeling pressured or overwhelmed.
Of course, asking good closing questions is only part of the equation. You also need to be an effective listener and know how to respond to the client’s answers. This involves being attentive to the client’s needs and concerns, and asking follow-up questions to clarify any points that may be unclear.
One effective technique for this is active listening, which involves fully engaging with the client’s words and emotions rather than simply waiting for your turn to speak. By focusing on what the client is saying and responding in a thoughtful and empathetic way, you can build trust and rapport, making it easier to guide them towards the desired action.
Another important aspect of effective listening is probing, which involves asking open-ended questions to encourage the client to elaborate on their thoughts and feelings. This helps you gain a deeper understanding of their needs and concerns, and allows you to tailor your approach to better meet their specific requirements.
Finally, it’s important to know how to respond to any number of answers you may get from the client. This involves being prepared for objections or pushback, and knowing how to address these issues in a way that’s both respectful and persuasive.
One effective technique for this is the feel-felt-found method, which involves acknowledging the client’s concerns and empathizing with their perspective before offering a solution or alternative viewpoint. For example, you might say “I understand how you feel, many of our clients have felt the same way. But what they found was that by taking this step, they were able to achieve X,Y,Z.”
Using mini-steps to close for action can be an effective way to seal the deal and achieve success in sales. By focusing on specific, actionable steps and being an effective listener, you can build trust and rapport with clients and guide them towards the desired outcome. With practice and persistence, anyone can master the art of consultative closing and become a more successful salesperson.
Closing Deals with Assumptive Suggestions: Encouraging Action and Driving Sales
As a salesperson, getting clients to take action is crucial in closing deals. However, asking for action can often be met with hesitation or uncertainty from clients. That’s where the power of an Assumptive Suggestion comes in. By suggesting a specific action while assuming that it will be taken, salespeople can increase their chances of getting a positive response from clients.
The Assumptive Suggestion is a technique that involves using specific language to make a suggestion while assuming that the client will agree. For example, instead of simply asking a client if they want to schedule a meeting, a salesperson might say something like, “At this point, with six months to go before the official launch date of your accounting system, I would strongly suggest we at least get a meeting set up with your HR people and our training team to plan a possible implementation and orientation training schedule. When should we schedule that?”
Let’s break down the language used in this example:
- “At this point”: This phrase acknowledges that there are tasks to be accomplished right now, at this point in time, rather than waiting until later.
- “Strongly suggest”: This phrase combines urgency with a suggestion, creating a sense of importance while still allowing for the possibility of the client overriding the seller.
- “At least”: This phrase acknowledges that the suggested action is just one small step in the overall process, making it less intimidating for the client to take action.
- “Possible”: This phrase provides a pressure release, allowing the client to feel in control while still suggesting that the suggested action may be necessary.
- “When should we schedule that?”: This phrase is the call to action, asking the client when they would like to take the suggested action.
By using an Assumptive Suggestion, a salesperson can create a sense of urgency and importance around taking action, while still giving the client the option to override the suggestion. This technique helps to move the sales process forward by encouraging clients to take action.
Another way to encourage action from clients is by asking more action-oriented questions. Rather than asking general questions that may result in vague or noncommittal answers, salespeople can ask specific questions that require a clear answer. For example, instead of asking a client if they are interested in a product, a salesperson might ask, “What specifically interests you about this product?” This question requires a specific answer and shows the client that the salesperson is genuinely interested in their needs and preferences.
When asking action-oriented questions, it’s important to pay attention not just to the client’s verbal response, but also their physical response. By observing body language and other nonverbal cues, a salesperson can get a better sense of whether the client is truly interested in taking action or not. If the client seems hesitant or uncertain, the salesperson can address their concerns and work to build trust and rapport.
Getting clients to take action is a crucial part of closing deals as a salesperson. By using an Assumptive Suggestion and asking more action-oriented questions, salespeople can encourage clients to take specific actions and move the sales process forward. It’s important to pay attention not just to verbal responses, but also to nonverbal cues, in order to build trust and rapport with clients.
The Power of Observing and Responding: Essential Communication Skills for Successful Salespeople
Effective communication skills are essential for any salesperson who hopes to succeed in the world of business. One of these critical skills is the ability to listen effectively. However, it’s not enough to just hear what your clients are saying. You must also learn how to observe their actions or non-actions and respond accordingly.
In consultative closing, salespeople must move beyond the verbal response of their clients and focus on observing their physical response around a potential action step. This means that listening goes beyond hearing the verbal response and watching the physical response around an action step. It’s important to note that there may be many incongruities between what a client says and what they actually do. For instance, a client may say they are interested but then refuse to take even the smallest of action steps. If a client is as interested as they say, they would take an action step. If not, something is wrong, and we need to get at the issues.
When a client responds with a wishy-washy answer about a possible yes answer in the future, it’s essential to clarify whether the answer is a yes or no. There are only two possible responses to an action request: yes or no. Either they do it or they don’t. If a client doesn’t agree to an action step, it’s vital that the salesperson acknowledges this and doesn’t pretend it didn’t happen.
Once a client agrees to an action step, the salesperson must seize the moment and be specific with their actions. Salespeople, especially those who work in consultative-oriented sales, can be so anxious to get away from the pressures and potential conflict of the sales call that they’ll exit various sales situations way too early, even when the client has expressed a positive response or a desire to move forward. When a client expresses a positive response, it’s essential to take as many concrete action steps as possible while the client is still there.
Seizing the moment after a positive answer to a mini-step question means responding with an action step. Once the client has taken action on a mini-step, the salesperson should review where that step is within the timeline and, if it makes sense, press for more action steps while the client is still there. If the salesperson has a full timeline printed out, they can start attaching dates to tasks, working their way up to the point of close and perhaps beyond.
When a client doesn’t take action on a mini-step, it’s a signal that something may be wrong. There may be issues, and they need to be fully revealed and dealt with if there is any hope in moving the sale forward. These client issues could range from not establishing enough value for the investment to a competitor having ‘poisoned the well.’ Someone inside the company may have an allegiance to another company, or the client may not like or trust the salesperson for whatever reason. In some cases, the client may not have accepted they have a problem or need yet.
Effective communication skills are essential for salespeople who want to succeed. Listening goes beyond just hearing what clients say. It involves observing their actions or non-actions and responding accordingly. When a client responds positively, salespeople must seize the moment and take as many concrete action steps as possible. When a client does not agree to an action step, it’s crucial to acknowledge this and figure out why. By doing this, salespeople can overcome objections and move forward with the sale.
Navigating Rejection and Using Mini-Steps: Strategies for Success in Sales
Handling rejection is never easy, but it’s a reality that must be accepted if one wishes to succeed in sales or any other field that involves dealing with clients. The truth is that sometimes we just don’t know why a client has said no, and it’s important not to guess or pretend that the issue doesn’t exist. Instead, we should accept the rejection gracefully, without getting defensive or attacking the client.
When faced with a “no” answer, it’s crucial to control our emotions and body language. We shouldn’t slam our notebook shut or act as if the rejection is personal. We need to assume that the client has concerns or issues that are preventing them from taking action at this time. By asking follow-up questions, we can better understand those concerns and work to address them.
However, it’s also worth noting that clients may not always be truthful about their reasons for saying no. Some may try to avoid conflict by using deception, which can make it difficult to get to the heart of the matter. As such, it’s important to keep digging and seeking the truth even when it’s unpleasant.
When it comes to handling rejection, it’s essential to recognize that there are only two possible outcomes: yes or no. Anything that’s not a clear yes is essentially a “no-for-now,” which means that there may be room to revisit the issue later on. By accepting this reality, we can avoid wasting time and effort chasing leads that aren’t likely to result in a sale.
One way to use mini-steps effectively in sales is in dealing with removed decision makers (RDMs) and lower-level decision makers (LLDMs). These are people who may have a say in the client’s decision-making process but who are not the ultimate decision-makers themselves. To navigate this situation successfully, it’s important to fully expose the decision-making process before getting too deep into the selling cycle.
By doing an effective job in consultative selling, salespeople can gather all the information they need about the decision-making process early on. This allows them to build relationships with RDMs and LLDMs and demonstrate the value of their products or services. By using mini-steps strategically, salespeople can keep the conversation moving forward and work to overcome objections or concerns that may arise.
Handling rejection is a fact of life in sales and other client-facing fields. It’s important to accept “no” answers gracefully and without becoming defensive or attacking the client. By asking follow-up questions and assuming that there are concerns or issues at play, salespeople can better understand why a client has said no and work to address those concerns. Mini-steps can be an effective tool for navigating complex decision-making processes and building relationships with key decision-makers.
Navigating the Three Ps: A Guide to Closing Lead Decision Makers and Rear Decision Makers
The Three Ps is a concept that helps us understand who the people are in the decision-making process, what path the decision has to make, and how much power the person we’re facing has. These three factors can be challenging to navigate when dealing with Lead Decision Makers (LLDMs) and Rear Decision Makers (RDMs).
One of the main challenges when dealing with LLDMs and RDMs is that they often use the decision-making process as an escape route when feeling pressured by salespeople. They may create imaginary people, processes, budgets, or issues to avoid making a decision. However, if we ask about the Three Ps early on in the sales cycle, we can avoid deception because clients don’t feel the heat.
It’s not easy to determine where a client ranks in terms of decision-making ability. Clients often bring up other people to defuse pressure and avoid conflict. Moreover, it’s challenging to gain access to other LLDMs and RDMs and figure out their values, preferences, and opinions. This lack of transparency can lead to delays, stalls, and uncertainty regarding where the final decision will come from.
To improve this situation, we must focus on early knowledge. Clients are more likely to lie later on in the sales cycle when we try to close. Therefore, we must ask open-ended questions such as “Can you share with me the decision-making process?” instead of assuming that someone else is involved in the decision-making process. We also need to understand what we can close on with the person we’re dealing with. Some LLDMs and RDMs make lots of decisions, while others make very few decisions and seek approval from the next level.
We must ensure that the person we’re facing is genuinely on board and not just pretending to avoid pressure. Salespeople sometimes assume that LLDMs and RDMs are already closed for a YES, which is a dangerous assumption. We can use Mini-Steps to gain confirmation of true buy-in at various points in the sale. If LLDMs and RDMs don’t take action on a safe, risk-free Mini-Step, it means they either don’t buy into what we’re selling or they don’t think they can sell it to the next level.
Mini-Steps also help us gain momentum. When an LLDM takes one or two action steps, it may help persuade the next person in the decision-making chain. Once the LLDM decides to take an action step, we can discuss the other people involved in the process and determine what Mini-Step each person should consider. Many salespeople make the mistake of not spending enough time talking about the other people and steps in the process with the LLDM or RDM they’re with. However, they often know more about objections, stalls, and issues that the others will have.
To close LLDMs and RDMs using Mini-Steps, we must focus on gaining their buy-in, which is much stronger than verbal or assumed buy-in. Even experienced salespeople can struggle to close LLDMs and RDMs, so we must avoid falling back into bad habits and accepting non-decisions from them.
Dealing with LLDMs and RDMs can be challenging due to their elusive nature and lack of transparency. However, by understanding the Three Ps, asking open-ended questions early on, and using Mini-Steps to gain buy-in and momentum, we can improve our chances of closing these decision makers effectively.
Mastering the Art of Navigating the Long-Distance Decision Maker (LLDM)
Navigating the Long-Distance Decision Maker (LLDM) can be a tricky and time-consuming process, but it’s an essential part of closing a big deal. To do so efficiently, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind.
Firstly, isolation of the LLDM is imperative. This means asking them to tune out all other people and approval steps in the process. Although clients may say ‘‘yeah, sure,’’ they’ll often continue to bring up these other people. It’s important to keep asking them to focus solely on where they are personally. For instance, if they mention their partners or colleagues multiple times, acknowledge their concerns, but remind them that for the deal to move forward, they must be excited about it and buy into it wholeheartedly.
Secondly, it’s crucial to be clear with the LLDM and ask for a decision (YES or NO) on a Mini-Step, rather than accept a verbal or assumed confirmation. This means having a plan for each level of the decision-making process and knowing the Mini-Steps you can close on at each level with each decision maker. Clients typically have no idea what’s supposed to happen, so providing a clear plan can help put their minds at ease.
Thirdly, use the same Assumptive Suggestion type of close with the LLDM as with the main decision maker, and add a phrase acknowledging others in the process. This is a preemptive strike to take away any excuses for not moving forward and ensures that the focus remains on closing the one you’re with.
If the client balks at taking this step, try a commitment step lower down in the process, one with less risk. If they continue to hedge and balk at moving forward, then something is wrong: Either they personally don’t want your product or service, or they don’t feel the next level will want it and they aren’t comfortable selling it. You need to know those reasons.
Once you’ve successfully closed the LLDM, it’s important to handle any personal NOs in the same way you would a NO from the main decision maker. Find out the reasons for their rejection and try to discover what the world would look like in order for them to say yes. If you receive a personal YES from the LLDM and have tested this with an action-step, work with the decision maker you’ve just closed to tackle the other decision makers involved in the process. This assumes that you’ve questioned extensively about the People, Path, and Power involved in the decision-making process.
It’s essential to find out how effective your initial decision maker will be when presenting your product and addressing concerns to the next level of decision makers. Ask, ‘‘How are you going to handle that when it comes?’’ and listen closely to the response. A quick, targeted, passionate, and to-the-point response indicates that your initial decision maker truly ‘‘bought it’’ and gets it, giving them a better shot at selling it to the next level of decision makers.
If the initial decision maker isn’t very clear and quick with a response, it could indicate that the issue mentioned as a landmine for the next level is probably their issue, or they still have reservations about the deal. In such a case, they may have a hard time convincing anyone when they don’t believe what they’re saying.
Creating support materials can also help your decision maker make the presentation to the partner. For instance, you can try getting an invite to the meeting with the partner, set up a lunch meeting, or create simple presentation pieces that can be delivered by your decision maker to the partner without requiring much explanation.
Finally, keep in mind that Mini-Steps taken by your decision maker can help build momentum to sell other people in the chain. The more successful you are at closing each decision maker, the easier it will be to close the deal as a whole.
Successfully navigating the LLDM requires careful planning, clear communication, and a thorough understanding of the decision-making process. By following these tips, you can streamline the process and increase your chances of closing a big deal.
In conclusion, developing an effective sales strategy for technology companies is crucial for success in sales. Closing a deal is a challenging task, but using mini-steps can be a powerful approach to prompt action and effectively seal the deal. By asking good closing questions and focusing on specific, actionable steps, salespeople can make it easier for clients to commit without feeling overwhelmed. This approach also makes the questions sound less pushy and aggressive, increasing the likelihood of a positive response.
However, asking good closing questions is only part of the equation. Effective listening and responding to the client’s answers are equally important. By being attentive to the client’s needs, asking open-ended questions, and using techniques like active listening and probing, salespeople can gain a deeper understanding of the client’s requirements and tailor their approach accordingly. It’s crucial to address any objections or pushback in a respectful and persuasive manner, using techniques like the feel-felt-found method to empathize with the client’s concerns before offering a solution or alternative viewpoint.
Furthermore, the use of assumptive suggestions can be a powerful tool in encouraging action and driving sales. By suggesting specific actions while assuming that the client will agree, salespeople can create a sense of urgency and importance around taking action. Asking more action-oriented questions and paying attention to both verbal and nonverbal cues from clients can also help in encouraging specific actions and building trust and rapport.
Handling rejection gracefully and navigating the decision-making process are additional challenges in sales. By accepting “no” answers gracefully and seeking to understand the client’s concerns, salespeople can work towards addressing those concerns and potentially revisiting the issue in the future. Mini-steps can be effective in navigating complex decision-making processes and building relationships with key decision-makers.
By incorporating mini-steps, effective listening, assumptive suggestions, and navigating the decision-making process, salespeople can enhance their sales strategy and increase their chances of successfully closing deals in the technology industry. With practice and persistence, sales professionals can master these skills and become more successful in their role.