Sales is a game of win or lose: Not every opportunity will be won. A myriad of facts can account for a lost sale, like poor leads (we can’t always be quick to blame this on the marketing department), increased competition, lack of product availability, pricing challenges, and more.
But with bad breaks, don’t lose heart. You’ve gone into sales, hopefully, with your eyes open and know it can be a risky business. Stay positive when opportunities go off to die. That means not circling around a mental “if only” loop, but bringing a winning attitude to the next chance presented to you. It also means learning from defeat—what went wrong, and what mistakes can I avoid with the next prospective sale?
We’ve come up with some pointers to help you increase your conversion rate and establish solid relationships with new clients.
Stick With the Program
A happy ending rarely results from rushing a deal. You may not want to go through the motions, but every phase of your sales process is important. Case in point: The discovery phase is when you learn in depth about your prospect’s problems and needs, so don’t bypass this stage. Discovery is also the time to entice prospects with goods and services that you can later fully showcase in the presentation stage.
Be the master of the process. Whether you’re selling to prospects or existing clients, don’t let them take over the sales process. Stay in control of the proceedings by clearly explaining to them the value proposition you’re presenting and exactly why your solution will meet their needs better than any other. But first, your strategy should include a stealth “recon mission” to information-gather: who is the prospect, what defines their industry, what are the challenges they face? If you let your client take over the sales process, it could sputter out at any time because they may not know how to move the process along, like you otherwise would.
Would You Buy From You?
Try this: pretend you’re the client and ask yourself why you would buy from you. Unless you have a compelling value proposition for solving the client’s challenges, you won’t make the deal. So what’s your story? Tell it to yourself first; if it’s not convincing, find a way to make it convincing. Then, and only then, can you position your goods and services in a way that will lead the client to see that what you’re offering is a great solution to their problem. Good sales is about rehearsal as much as performance.
Talk to the Right People
At times, you’ll be dealing with individuals who are onboard with your solutions but who don’t have buying power. That’s when you’ll want to build consensus for sealing a deal. Do a deeper dive into the client company and set up meetings that will bring in members from teams who do have influence and can say “yes.” If it’s software you’re selling, request that the director of IT attend your sales presentation. Winning over that person will pave the way for your primary contact to get the necessary approval for moving forward with the purchase.
You’re naturally the type to talk a good game. But maybe your game has gotten a little rusty. Don’t let sales become “stales.” Freshen it up. You’ll have more fun and be more effective. In sales, you almost need to continually relearn how to do your job. This can feel like starting over, but don’t dread newness. Instead, see each opportunity as a fresh opportunity. This will keep things interesting for you and also give you a leg up, allowing you to do what you came into this business to do: sell!