Get past the ‘YES.’
There can be quite a gap between the verbal yes and the signing of a contract. Once you have that yes, you need to get to the finalization of the deal as quickly as reasonably possible before second thoughts, your competition, or circumstances intervene. Have a definite process in place so that you can move from the verbal interest to a signed contract right away. This isn’t merely about getting the deal done for the sake of getting paid, but for the good that it’s going to do for the client. Be more committed to the good you can do for your client than to what your fee what can for you, and it will come across to the client, and closing will become easier.
Leverage the competition
In my consulting practice, the reality is that I can only take on so many projects, and I maintain enough of a pipeline that I don’t need the deal. However, I also make it clear to the prospect that we need to move forward within a designated time frame because my availability may change when someone else says yes. Now, some will teach salespeople to bluff along these lines, but that’s just manipulation, and a prospect may call you on it, or decide not to trust you because you’ve been deceitful. My clients understand that it’s never a bluff, it’s just a reality of business, and I make it clear that my door will be open to them in the future, if I’m available.
Have a sense of urgency
All too often a prospect wants to close… eventually. Getting the deal done is sometimes more of a priority for us than for them. That’s okay. Sometimes you can sweeten the deal with a discount, better payment terms, or any number of things that will cause the prospect to be more willing to get it done now. In other cases, you may need to clarify that their need is more pressing than they may have realized. In either case, be genuine and truthful. Better to close them later than not at all because they felt your were pushing them just out of self-interest.
Use your news
Remember that while you are creating a new relationship with your prospect, you are not just bringing them a product or a service, you are bringing them new and useful information. Some might say to use the newest press releases, or independent tests of your products, or one more testimonial, and that’s good. However, you can also help move the deal toward a close by being a source of knowledge and information. When your competitor is just a good salesman, and you’re a resource. Be more valuable, and conveying greater value becomes easier.
Be prepared for the deal not to close
Many deals just don’t close. Sometimes it’s the timing, a change in circumstances, buyer’s remorse, or the prospect just wasn’t really qualified to begin with. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s a dead prospect, or that you need to kick the prospect to the curb and move on. This is a HUGE mistake. Why throw away the rapport you worked so hard to build to get the the point where you could try to close? Keep contact, or do what I do and connect them with opportunities within your network. I’ve found that doing so has resulted in my getting referrals from people who never even did business with me. Give it a shot.