Rainmaker Coaching Tips: Using Linkedin. 5 Simple ideas to help you sell more

For lots of people LinkedIn is the place to go to look for your next job.
However with over 150 million members worldwide it’s also an excellent sales tool.

We cover this and other topics in our Business Development or Rainmaker Coaching

It could be a source of new leads and a useful tool to improve your prospecting .

Here are a few ideas and suggestions as to how you can usefully use  LinkedIn to sell more

Tip 1: Start expanding your network.
Your first level contacts open up a route to a wide range of second and third level connections.
Whenever you meet anyone (online or off) always follow up quickly with a connection request while you are still fresh in their mind.
Part of becoming the “GoTo Person” for your client

Tip 2: Understand your prospects
You’d be surprised how much people put in their profiles – which team they’re in, which office they work out of, what projects they’re focusing on.
You can quickly build up a picture of who you should be talking to, what they like (check out their recommendations) and what they’ve done before.
You can also work out who reports to who and gain a clearer picture of the people you’ll need to influence to make a sale.

Tip 3: Use it to get to know them before you call
I sometimes open an initial meeting by saying that I’ve looked at their LinkedIn profiles.
Sometimes they tell me that they noticed I checked them out. It can break the ice.
It also shows you’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other salespeople who meet them.

Tip 4: InMail can get past the gatekeeper
Senior decision are busy and to protect their time they screen calls, ignore most of their mail and have gatekeepers to prevent unwanted sales approaches from getting through.
That’s where InMail comes in, it allows you to send an email to any LinkedIn user without requiring an introduction.
Basically, it ensures your email gets through to their inbox.
LinkedIn claims that an InMail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call
InMails are only available on paid accounts. The higher level the account you have, the more you get. Maybe see if the £15 investment is worth it?

Tip 5: Do your fishing in a smaller pond
With Linkedin’s advanced search you can find people by title, company, location or keyword.
A paid account gives you company size and seniority level too.
By using the different filters you can identify key individuals quickly and easily.
You can start to build your own pond with the fish you are targeting in it
You can also save your search criteria and get a weekly report listing anyone new who matches the customers you’re looking for.
As a Pharma sales person you could save a search for Procurement Managers in the pharmaceutical industry within 50 miles of London.
Then, each week get an email with anyone new who matches your search (and who deserves a closer look).

A Useful tool ?

Do you use Linkedin in any other ways?

Rainmaking: Are you the “GoTo Person” for your clients?

The rainmakers, I speak to often talk in terms of being the “go-to” person.
They want to be the person that their clients call and ask advice on a range of topics not just the services they and their company deliver.

Why and how do they do that?

The why is the easiest to answer… they want to be the trusted advisor to their client.
They want to know anything and everything that is going on around their clients and the services they deliver.
That way they know what’s going on in their clients company.
That way they know that if they launch a new service which of their clients will be interested and what services clients are buying today.

The how is a little more involved… They are continually networking inside and outside of their company and field of expertise into related areas.

They will always “know” of someone who can offer a solution or can ask their network where to find someone.
They also devote more time to this by following down a solution for a client and weeding out those people who do not do a good job for their client because they know their own reputation a brand depends on the referrals they make.

So next time your client asks you for something, you do not do but it’s close to what you do…

Do you want to be their “go to” person? What would that be worth to you and your business.

Rainmaking: Are you the “GoTo Person” for your clients?

The rainmakers, I speak to often talk in terms of being the “go-to” person.
They want to be the person that their clients call and ask advice on a range of topics not just the services they and their company deliver.

Why and how do they do that?

The why is the easiest to answer… they want to be the trusted advisor to their client.
They want to know anything and everything that is going on around their clients and the services they deliver.
That way they know what’s going on in their clients company.
That way they know that if they launch a new service which of their clients will be interested and what services clients are buying today.

The how is a little more involved… They are continually networking inside and outside of their company and field of expertise into related areas.

They will always “know” of someone who can offer a solution or can ask their network where to find someone.
They also devote more time to this by following down a solution for a client and weeding out those people who do not do a good job for their client because they know their own reputation a brand depends on the referrals they make.

So next time your client asks you for something, you do not do but it’s close to what you do…

Do you want to be their “go to” person? What would that be worth to you and your business.

Sales Training Tips: What do you do with the Bluebird RFPs?

Today you  find a Request for Proposal (RFP) in your inbox.

Wow … You look through it and, it’s a big one!  You’re a little under quota for this quarter… This would smash it…

However there’s a nagging doubt in your mind …

You’ve heard your sales manager tell you that answering these RFPs is a waste of your time. The hit rate is so low you need to be a worm to get near it.
But you’ve seen the guys on the television popping the corks after winning the lottery …
Life changing and you do have to be “In it to Win it”… You are sorely tempted to have a go…

On One shoulder Jiminy Cricket says Bin it and carry on with the rest of your day.
The devil in you says  ” Oh let’s just GO FOR IT”.

What’s a poor girl to do?? Two choices?  Or is there a third?

We cover this and other topics on our Sales Training Workshops

A blind RFP is certainly not an opportunity that’s ready to go to the proposal stage, but it’s also not necessarily garbage.

Ok What is it then? It’s a lead…nothing more, nothing less.

So what do you do with Leads? Yes that’s right you qualify them.
That’s exactly what should happen when a bluebird RFP arrives.

1. Pick up the phone and call the individual who sent it.

2. Start asking questions like

  • What has stopped you from changing your supplier until now?
  • What has stopped you from asking us about our services until now?
  • What is stopping you from doing these things yourself ? (Could be a fishing trip. You know stealing ideas and doing it themselves)
  • What would you be getting differently if you went to an outside vendor?
  • What are your criteria? Price, outcomes, professionalism, timescales, return on investment?
  • What specific criteria would you  and your decision making team use to choose one vendor over another?
  • How do you plan to integrate the vendor that you choose with the way that you normally work?
  • Who may be involved from your side?
Just to name a few…

In essence, find out everything that will help your team determine if this is worth pursuing.

Then you can chase-up the opportunities and put the rest in the circular file and whistle at Jiminy Cricket ;-0

Do you have other ways of dealing with Bluebird RFPs?

Customer Management: Closing Techniques – How to Close More Sales

Become a sales closing Ninja.

1-2-3 close

Technique

Summarize in sets of three items. We will give you this, that and the other.

This may be features of the product, benefits or add-on sweetener items.

There are two ways to do this: they may either be closely related (to reinforce a single point) or may be quite separate (to gain greater coverage).

Most customers want products that are free, perfect and available now. This is the classic business measurement trilogy of cost, quality and time.

Examples

This product is cheaper, faster and more reliable than the competition.
The houses here are better-looking, better-built and better-equipped than those on the other development.
If you buy today, we will give you insurance, tax and a full tank of fuel.

How it works

The 1-2-3 Close works through the principle of triples, a curious pattern where three things given together act as a coherent set of three hammer-blows that give a compelling message.

Adjournment Close

Technique

Do not go for the sale now. Give them time to think.
Tell them that they probably need time to consider the offer you have made.

Use this when:

  • You can see that they are not going to decide now.
  • You have set up enough tension that you are reasonably convinced that they will indeed seriously consider the deal and are likely to come back.
  • Given some more time, it is likely that they will buy more (for example if they are at the edge of a budgetary period and their current funds are low).
  • The relationship is important to you, and them making a wrong decision now would affect the chances of making sales in the future.
  • You do not need to make the sale today (for example you have made your quota and this sale would be just fine for next month).
  • Combine this with setting up the next meeting, when perhaps you will be able to solidly close the deal.

Examples

This is an important decision for you and I think you need time to consider how important it is. Shall we discuss the details further next time I see you?

I can see you’re thinking very carefully about this. Shall I come back next week to see how you are progressing then?

How it works

In many sales situations the relationship is very important as the sales person will be going back to the customer with more sales to make. It is thus a bad idea to push them into a decision when they are not ready and may later be unhappy about this.

Offering an adjournment can be a nice surprise for the customer, who may be expecting a harder style of selling. This sets up an exchange tension, encouraging them to pay back your offer of time with later agreeing to the deal.

The Adjournment Close is particularly easy to manage when the sales person visits the customer, as opposed to having to hope that they will call back.

Affordable Close

Technique

Close out any objections they have about price by making sure they can afford it.

Find how much they can afford. Then show that you have a finance plan that fits their capability to pay.

Bring in other factors to reframe the real price, such as lifetime costs.

Show the price of not buying – for example the cost of continued ownership of the current car.

Strip down what is being sold to the bare minimum. Remove all the options (and maybe sell them as separate items).

Sell them something else they can afford.

Last option: bring your price down to what they are prepared to pay.

And always remember the caveat: do not close people into debt they will not be able to repay.

Examples

How much per month can you afford…yes, we can make a deal for that…

The initial costs seems high, but by the end of the year you will have recouped the costs.

The basic model will fit into your price range.

The maintenance costs on this are very low.

The cost per page of this printer is the lowest in class.

If we can bring the price down to what you say, will you buy today?

How it works

The Affordable Close works by structuring the finance of the deal to fit into the other person’s ability to pay.

‘I can’t afford it’ is often more of an excuse than a real objection. If they really do not want to buy, you will find that they will immediately jump onto another objection.

Alternative Close

Technique

The alternative close works by offering more than one clearly defined alternative to the customer.

The number of alternative should be very few – two or three is often quite adequate. If you offer too many alternatives, the customer will then be faced with a more complex problem of how they choose between the many alternatives offered.

Note that this technique works well in many different situations where you are seeking agreement, and not just selling products.

Examples

Would you prefer the red one or the yellow one?

Would you like one packet or two?

Which of these three instruments seems best for you?

Shall we meet next week or the week after?

How it works

The Alternative Close is a variant on the broader-based Assumptive Close and works primarily through the assumption principle, where you act as if the customer has already decided to buy, and the only question left is which of a limited number of options they should choose.

Assumptive Close

Technique

Act as if the other person has made the decision already.

Turn the focus of the conversation towards the next level of questions, such as how many they want, when they want it delivered, what size they need, and so on.

Examples

When shall we deliver it to you?

What will your friends say when they see it?

Will 20 cases be enough?

Where will you put it?

How it works

The Assumptive Close works by the Assumption principle, where acting confidently as if something is true makes it difficult for the other person to deny this. For them to say you are wrong would be to cast themselves as an antisocial naysayer.

Note: This is one of the most common closes used. Many other closes, such as the Alternative Close are variants of the Assumptive Close.

Best-time Close

Technique

When people are procrastinating or will ‘be back’, emphasise how now is the best time to buy. All sales people know that ‘there are no bebacks’.

Invoke seasonal effects, such a Summer, Christmas and other holidays.

Remind them of other short-term reasons, including sales, weather, and so on.

Find out other personal reasons why it is good to buy now, such as their partner’s birthday, etc.

You can even do a reversal on ‘never the best time to buy’ by showing how this makes now as good a time as any.

Examples

We only bring these into stock for the Christmas season.

Summer is coming. Do you have all the garden furniture you need?

The forecast for next week is for sun. We have limited stocks of sun lotion.

The best time to buy is now, whilst…

There is no ‘best time to buy’ which makes now the best time.

If you were going to start saving money, when would you start?

How it works

The Best-time Close works by emphasising how now is the best time to buy and how delaying is not the best thing to do.

Bonus Close

Technique

When they are dithering close to a decision, offer them something unexpected and un-asked for that delights them.

All it needs to do is make them say ‘Ooh, that’s nice’. Or something like that.

A simple equation: delight = expectation + 1

Try and figure them out before using this close: for some people it will open them up again as they seek to gain more concessions.

Examples

You know, I’ve had a good day and am going to give you batteries for free.

Hold onto your money: I’m going to add an extra towel to the pile.

Well, you’re a good customer so I won’t charge for delivery.

How it works

The Bonus Close may work in several ways. First, the bonus is a temptation that

When they emotionally close on the bonus, the sensation of closure may also leak across to the main subject.

When they feel they have got something for nothing, they may agree to the deal for fear that you may take it away from them again.

You may also create a sense of exchange, where because you have given them something. The Bonus Close is also known as the Delighter Close or the Extra Close.

Bracket Close

Technique

Make the other person three offers.

First offer them something sumptuous and expensive that is beyond their budget. Not so far beyond them that they would not consider it. Ideally, it is something they would look at wistfully but just couldn’t justify (if they do, it is your lucky day!).

Secondly, offer them a solid good deal that is within their price bracket. It may not have all that they wanted, but it is clearly good value for them.

Finally, offer a severely cut-down deal in which very little of what they want is included. They should, of course, go for the middle option.

Examples

Well I can do you a full kitchen system with Neff units, brass tops and hand-cut ebony edging. It’s a bit pricey but is amazing quality.

A really good option is with Bosch units, hardwood tops and matching edging. This is remarkably good value.

If you are on a very tight budget, we do have some basic units, a nice laminate finish and matching surrounds.

How it works

The Bracket Close works by contrasting the preferred option both upwards and downwards. Rejecting the higher option lets the other person feel good about not spending too much. By comparison, the option they choose seems quite prudent and they may even feel they have saved some money.

Rejecting the lower option lets them feel they are not a cheapskate and can afford something of value.

Calendar Close

Technique

If they are not ready to close now, agree a future date when you can meet to discuss further. This at least keeps the deal alive and you return to fight another day. It may also be just what you are seeking to take you to the next step in the deal strategy.

Putting dates in the diary may also be an assumptive method, assuming that closure has taken place and that it is just a matter of when.

Examples

When shall we make the next coaching meeting?

Are you free next Wednesday at 3pm?

What new things shall we discuss next week?

How it works

Putting a date in the diary is easy for the other person, and may be agreed as an exchange for you not pressing further for a close now.

Dates in the diary also get them thinking about the future, which may be a good thing as this attention will then keep them engaged in your subject-matter.

Concession Close

Technique

Offer a concession of something they want in return for them buying the product.

You can be explicit about wanting an order in return for the concession or you can give the concession without asking – the other person will very likely still feel they owe you something for it.

Examples

If I reduce the price by 10%, will you take the product today?

Well, I think you deserve a free case with this.Listen, I’m going to throw in a free tank of fuel. If you are ready now, I’ll make sure it is delivered by the end of the day.

How it works

The Concession Close works by offering the other person something and either requesting or implicitly expecting something in return – usually the sale.

The Concession Close is also called the Trade-off Close.

Conditional Close

Technique

When the other person offers an objection, make it a condition of resolving their objection that they make the purchase.

You can also use this approach to make any trade – for example if you want them to watch a promotional video, offer a cup of coffee.

Always, by the way, phrase it in the form ‘If I…will you…’ rather than ‘Will you…if I…’. This is because our brains work very quickly and starting with ‘will you’ causes them to begin thinking immediately about objections and they may miss the exchange. On the other hand, starting with ‘If I…’ will cause psychological closure on what you are offering thus drawing them in to the close.

Examples

You say you want a red one. If I can phone up and get you one, will you take it today?

If we can figure out the finance for you, will you choose this one?

If I get you a cup of coffee, would you like to sit down and look through the brochure?

How it works

The Conditional Close uses the Exchange principle to build a social agreement that if I solve your problem, you will buy the product in return.

Demonstration Close

Technique

If you are able to, do a spectacular demonstration of your product that really makes them ‘wow’.

If you can’t do it with them there (which is by far and away the best), then use a video or otherwise add impact.

Give them a go. Let them try and find out for themselves.

Examples

I sell bullet-proof vests. Let me demonstrate…

You won’t believe this. I didn’t either when I first saw it. Just watch…

How it works

The Demonstration Close works by giving them evidence that they cannot deny. The visceral experience of sensing a product being used cannot be beaten by talk or even explicit pictures.

It is particularly effective if they have already predicted that your demonstration will not work as, being forced to revise a prediction they will also have to revise the beliefs on which it was based.

Economic close

Technique

Focus on the overall economic situation, showing how the cost is less by considering certain factors.

Show how buying a larger quantity gives volume discounts, reducing the unit cost.

Show how buying alternatives has hidden costs.

Structure deals for them that will cost less overall. Talk about the longer-term costs.

Examples

You get more for your money in the family-sized box.

Yes, it is cheaper in the next town, but it will cost you more in travel to get there. And you’ve already spent money to travel here.

You can buy on credit card, but our financing system has lower interest rates.

This model, sir, is much better value.

How it works

Many people focus solely on price, and this plays directly to their concern by showing you are trying to save them money. By doing this, you also gain trust and may be able to sell them more. Even those who are not so concerned about price will have it as an issue at some level, and again you will impress them by taking up this cause for them.

Emotion Close

Technique

Play to their emotions, deliberately evoking specific emotions.

Find if they respond more to positive or negative emotions and act accordingly.

If in doubt, go for positive emotions – these are usually better.

Examples

If you took this home now, how would you feel? Does holding that make you feel good? People who do not buy this invariably feel bad later.

How it works

The Emotion Close works because all decisions are based on emotions. Even if you go through a logical thought process, the final step is always emotional.

Empathy Close

Technique

Empathize with them. Feel what they feel. Walk a mile in their shoes. Understand their situation completely.

Then, when they are empathizing back, you decide like they would decide.

You can even talk about yourself, using ‘I’ instead of ‘you’.

Also empathize with the product you are selling and bring this into the equation. Be a match-maker in bringing this great product to a worthy customer.

Examples

I completely understand…and it makes so much sense to me to do this now.

You know, this solution works so well for me.

How it works

The Empathy Close works by first harmonizing yourself with them and then, when you feel what it is like for them to close, they naturally come along with you.

Done well, you will close at the exactly the right moment and for exactly the right reasons for them, and they will come back again and again.

The Empathy close is also called the Love Close.

If you love the product you are selling and love your customers, you will be a truly great salesperson.

Empty-offer Close

Technique

Make them a very kind offer that they cannot take up.

Offer to do something using a thing you have for sale, and which they might feasibly have but probably do not have.

Then sell them that thing. If they do have one, of course you must complete your offer with good grace – it will still help build social capital for you.

Examples

Shall I fit your spare wipers? … Oh, you have none. Well fortunately, we have some in stock…

Would you like to come to the race day … Oh of course, you’re busy.

Will you need help setting up the computer? … Oh yes, of course, your IT people will do that.

How it works

Although the Empty-offer Close does not require that you to giving them something, the rules of exchange means that they still feel that they owe you something in return for your generous offer.

Future Close

Technique

If they are not ready to close today, then close on a future date.

Perhaps they want to think it over. Ask how much time they need. Ask if they may be ready to buy then. After thinking about this, they may be ready to close now. If not, do a Calendar Close so you can meet up next time.

Examples

How much time do you need to think about it? … As you consider having thought about it now, what do you think?

When you have thought about it, do you think you may be ready to buy?

When we meet next week, will you have thought it through then?

How it works

The Future Close works by getting them to think in the present about the future, hence bringing the future to now so they can ‘compress time’ and possibly close now.

Golden Bridge Close

Technique

If you want a person to take a particular option, do not mention it directly, but show how all other options are not feasible or undesirable.

Then let them choose the option themselves.

Examples

Sorry, we’re out of that one…Oh that one is really expensive…And that one has got really bad reviews and I wouldn’t recommend it…

How it works

Sun Tzu, the famous Chinese General who wrote the classic text about winning wars without fighting, said ‘Build your enemies a golden bridge’. By this he mean you corner them, and then rather than fighting (whence they, having nothing to lose, would fight to the death), you back off a little and let them leave with dignity – just in the direction that you want them to go.

The Golden Bridge Close thus works by closing off all options except the one you want.

Handshake Close

Technique

As you make a closing offer, extend your hand for a handshake. Smile and nod as if the deal is done. Look expectantly. If necessary, raise your eyebrows slightly.

Examples

(Extending hand) So, are you ready now to do the deal today?

(Extending hand) We have a deal?

(Grasp their hand) Well done. You’ve got a good deal today.

How it works

When you offer your hand to somebody in greeting they will automatically feels obliged to shake your hand in return, often doing this without really thinking.

When they do shake your hand, they may realize that they are also agreeing to the close. Most people will not then feel able to retract their agreement.

Humour Close

Technique

Get them amused by telling a joke or otherwise making witty remarks. Then either go for a relaxed close with another closing technique or weave closure into the joke.

This is particularly useful when they are tense for some reason.

Beware of politically-incorrect humor unless you are sure it will be effective.

Self-deprecating humor is often a safe bet and shows you to be confident and likable.

Examples

This carpet was personally woven by the Queen of Sheba.

Oh go on. It’ll make both our wives very happy.

If you don’t buy this now, I’ll be told to go and stand in the corner!

I’d better not sit down in case the boss sees me.

How it works

Relaxed and happy people are less likely to object.

When you make someone laugh, they will like you more. And we are more likely to buy from people we like.

Hurry Close

Technique

Hurry them up. Speed up the proceedings.

Talk fast, move fast. Encourage them to do the same.

Hint (every so gently) that slower thinking is not very clever.

Say that if they cannot decide quickly then others might get the deal.

Examples

Yessir, thisisthebest.Theverybestyoucanget.

Absolutelydootley. If you can keep up with the Joneses you can keep up with the best deal. If you want to succeed you must speed, or others will get there first.

How it works

Speeding people up stops them from pausing to think about reasons why they should not buy.

IQ Close

Technique

Imply that intelligent people make this purchase. This is particularly useful in selling technology where people may shy away from the complexity. The intelligence can also be associated just with doing a good deal.

You can also imply that it is stupid not to buy.

Examples

I sold one of these to a doctor yesterday. This is a really clever solution.

It’s a bit complex, but you look like you can handle that sort of thing.

It would be stupid not to buy it at this price.

How it works

The IQ Close works by associating intelligence with closure. Thus, if people think they are intelligent (and we all do) they will be attracted towards purchasing the product and hence feeling that they are intelligent.

If the person has an avoidance preference, then implying they would be stupid not to buy makes them aim to avoid the stupidity.

Minor points close

Technique

Ask them about minor points, getting decisions on things they might consider if they were really going to buy the product.

Ask about size, shape, shade, delivery times, fitting options and so on.

Then go for the final close on purchase.

Examples

If you chose this one, which model would you prefer?

There are five shades available. Which do you like the best?

Do you have a click-fit system already? … Good, that will make it easy to install.

How it works

The customer knows they need to decide on many factors, and this complexity of decision may be holding them back. By getting the easier decisions out of the way, this greatly simplifies the final decision.

After several closures on minor points, the customer gets accustomed to the pleasure of feeling of closure. They can continue this by making the purchase.

Never-the-best-time Close

Technique

When people are procrastinating or dithering over whether they should buy now or buy later, show them that delaying will either get them no advantage or may even be to their disadvantage.

Talk about what they will miss by not having it over the coming period.

Give examples of people who waited for the best moment, which never came.

Examples

If you leave it until next year, you’ll have one year less to enjoy it.

The best time to buy is when you need it — which I’d say is now, wouldn’t you?
My friend spent his whole life looking for the perfect partner.

How it works

The Never-the-best-time Close works by reframing delaying tactics as value-destroying procrastination.

No-hassle Close

Technique

Make completing the deal so completely easy for them that any thought that might put them off is not there.

Fill in all forms for them. Do all the paperwork.

Include delivery, installation and setup.

Examples

I’ve filled in all the paperwork and all you need is to sign here.

It will be delivered Tuesday, when you are in, and fully installed by qualified fitters.

How it works

The No-hassle Close works by being so simple and easy for the other person that any anticipated difficulty or hassle that may be holding them back is blown away.

It also encourages them to return the favor as an exchange for your help with the completion.

Now-or-never Close

Technique

Make them an offer, but make it short-term to the point that they must choose to buy now. Thus they cannot come back tomorrow, when the price will be higher.

Show how this is the last day of the sale.

Say that you need to make your numbers by tomorrow so you are decreasing the price more than you would otherwise.

Examples

I should get approval to do this for a customer, but hey, my manager is out.

This is the last one on the sale. They have been selling so well.

If you sign today, I’ll give an extra 2% discount.

We are only in the area until the end of today.

Take it or leave it. This is your only chance.

How it works

The Now-or-never Close works by hurrying them up with a one-off deal. With less time to reflect or seek alternatives, they have to choose, and the thought of losing out will push them towards deciding now.

Ownership Close

Technique

Act as if they already own what is being sold. Talk about ‘your’ product and what they are going to do with it. Discuss how it already fits into their lives. Admire it.

Do not talk about whether they are ready to buy or have already bought it. Just act as if it has always been theirs.

Examples

Now where will you put your new wardrobe? What will people say about your car here?

What do you like most about your camera? You’ve got a really lovely picture here.

How it works

The Ownership Close uses the assumption principle, acting as if they already owned the product. This seeks to create mental closure on the principle of already owning it.

Price-promise Close

Technique

Promise a refund if they find the product elsewhere at a lower cost.

The refund can be the whole price (and you take back the product).

It is often the difference between the two prices, so they effectively get it at the lowest price.

Sometimes, for emphasis, it is ‘double the difference’ (although you have to be particularly careful with this, of course).

Put boundaries on the offer, for example ‘only valid for other shops in town’, ‘within the next two weeks’, ‘internet offers not valid’.

Examples

Never knowingly undersold. If you can find the same product cheaper locally, we’ll refund double the difference! Our price promise to you is…

How it works

Many people when they are buying fear finding somewhere else afterwards where the product is cheaper, and hence do not buy. The Price-promise Close eliminates this fear.

In practice, extremely few people take up on this type of offer, because the difference is small, they are embarrassed to ask for money back or the confidence it gives them actually stops them from looking at other prices!

Quality Close

Technique

Emphasize quality over other factors, particularly price.

Talk about how other people will be impressed by the quality of the product.

Talk about how quality products last longer, wear less, require less maintenance, etc.

‘Sell on Quality, not on Price’

Examples

For a one-off payment you get non-stop quality.

The quality of this shows really who you are.

This will last for ever.

Once you try this, you will never want another brand.

This product is far more reliable.

How it works

The Quality Close works by appealing either to the other person’s vanity or to their sense of longer-term value. For vanity, you are associating their identity with ‘quality’. For value, you are reframing price across time.

Repetition Close

Technique

Achieve the close by repeating a closing action several times.

Show them the product, then other products, then come back to the product, … and repeat this three or four times.

Tell them several reasons why they should buy.Ask several questions that remind them about the product.

Tell them about several different other people who bought the product.

When they refuse, go back to the product several times.

Examples

Look at this…you could try that…but this is good too…and another…but this…

I know you’re not going to buy, but I just want to show you one more thing…

How it works

The Repetition Close works because many people need to repeat things a few times before they ‘get it’. In a shoe shop, for example, they may have to pick up and put down a pair of shoes three times before they decide to buy.

Many people have a certain number of times they need to repeat things before they achieve personal closure. If you can find this number (often around three or four), then you know how many times to repeat your close.

Repetition is a very fundamental pattern that affects us in primal ways.

Standing-room-only Close

Technique

Show how other people are all queuing up to buy the product.

Indicate that the other people are known to or are like the other person.

Hint at how they may be left behind by others or even seen as slow and backward by not buying the product sooner.

Combine it with hints of scarcity, showing how the product is so popular you may run out soon.

Examples

I had six people in here yesterday and every one of them bought several of these.

Other departments are applying. I’d get my application in quick.

They are jumping off the shelves like hot cakes, sir.

I don’t know how many more people will be here tomorrow.

How it works

The Standing-room-only Close works by the Evidence principle, where the evidence of other people’s interest in the product socializes it.

It shows that the person is not an early adopter but runs the danger of being in the late majority or even seen as a laggard.

Summary Close

Technique

Summarize the list of benefits that the other person will receive, telling them the full extent of what they are getting for their money.

Make it sound impressive, using full phrases and attractive words.

Go into detail, separating out as many sub-items and features as you can.

But also fit the description into a reasonable space of time. You goal is to impress them with what they are getting, not to bore them with excessive detail.

Examples

So as well as the basic product, you are getting free delivery, a five-day exchange assurance plus our comprehensive guarantee.

This comes in an easy-carry box and includes a remote control, with batteries included, of course!

How it works

The Summary Close works by repeating what has already been agreed. Putting it all together makes it seem like an even bigger package.

Testimonial Close

Technique

Use a happy customer to convince the other person.

Show them letters from happy customers. Have the letters on the wall.

If you are using the name of the happy customer, make sure they agree to you doing this. Otherwise you will have to use an anonymous reference, such as ‘satisfied customer from Birmingham’ or ‘major airline’.

Persuade happy customers act as references, that the other person can either call up or they can visit. Reward the happy customer with appropriate thanks, which may range from a simple letter to a small present to a discount. Be very careful here to ensure the customer feels valued and does not feel they are being bribed.

Examples

I regularly receive letters from happy customers. Here are a few.

XYZ Corporation are regular customers.

We have several customers who are happy to act as reference sites for us. Would you like me to arrange a visit for you?

How it works

The Testimonial Close works by providing evidence from a credible source. If they do not trust you, they are much more likely to trust someone who is similar to them.

Treat Close

Technique

If you are selling something that you know they would like but cannot justify to themselves that they should buy it, then persuade them that they deserve a treat.

Point out how hard they have worked and that this would be a good reward.

Find out if they have given things to others. Point out that they need to be good to themselves as well.

Give them the excuse they need. Give them a reason they can tell themselves why it is a good thing to buy now.

Examples

I can see that you like it. You know, I really think you deserve it. Go on, treat yourself!

You have worked hard all your life. Don’t you think you could do with some reward?

Look at all the things you have done for other people. Don’t you think it’s time to do something for yourself?

How it works

The Treat Close evokes the need for fair play, showing the other person as needing something to make up for other things they have done. It leverages the exchange principle with the other person as the deserving recipient.

Trial Close

A Trial Close is not a normal ‘closing technique’ but a test to determine whether the person is ready to close.

Use it after a presentation or after you have made a strong selling point. Use it when you have answered objections.

The Trial Close may use other closing techniques or may be a more tentative question.

Ask ‘If…’ questions.

Ask questions that assume they have already bought the product.

When you have asked the Trial Close question, as with most other closes, be quiet, watching and listening carefully for their response.

‘ABC’ is a common abbreviation: Always Be Closing. It means that you should always be heading towards a close, although you must also be careful about over-doing this. If people are nowhere near ready to buy, this will just annoy them.

Examples

It looks like you really like this. Is that true?

If you took it home, would you be proud to own this?

Do you prefer the larger or smaller version?

How would it look on the shelf back at home?

How it works

The Trial Close works by putting the idea of closure into the person’s mind. Their response will tell you whether they are ready or not.

Sales Training: Sales Proposals missing the mark? Ideas to get back on target.

A large number of sales proposals that I have seen during my Sales and Sales Training career miss the mark.

Proposals often quickly move to product features because the sales people often have lots of product detail available to them in their systems.
All that cutting and pasting means that they don’t leave time to apply their knowledge to how their products can help their client.  This is the part that the client needs most!
Many sales proposals open with a page or two describing the seller’s company.
If so then I can guess that they won’t address the key issues that the prospect is facing.
They will also fail to demonstrate how your prospective client will benefit from buying your solution and probably miss your unique capabilities.
You’ve probably wasted your time producing them and decreased your chance of a win.

If in your sales process you really need to create proposals, here are a few ways to make yours stand out from your competitors.

First page of your Proposal

1. Open with a Situation Summary: or Where are they now?

The best way to open your sales proposal is to summarise your understanding of the prospect’s situation.

  • What is their problem?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • What are they experiencing or going through right now?

This single paragraph should grab your prospect’s attention because it speaks directly to the problems or challenges the prospect wants to fix and resolve.
If you have found out during your investigations and questioning how much it is costing them to do what they do today, then insert those numbers here.

2. Key Objectives or Where do they want to get to?

The next component of the proposal should contain four to six bullet points that outline the prospect’s key objectives.
What do they want to accomplish or achieve?
Again if you have discover what it may be worth for them to get to these goals then mention that approximate amount here, because this is their motivation to do something.

3. What Value to the Company

A list of several bullet points that describe the value and benefits of achieving those key objectives.

The benefits can be expressed as

  • An increase in Revenues or Sales
  • Higher customer satisfaction turning into loyalty
  • Reduction in costs per transaction
  • Improving Employee satisfaction or productivity
  • Compliance

The key to developing this page is to ask the right questions during your sales conversation(s). Ask questions that uncover the answers to these area and you take their answers and insert them into the proposal.

All of this information is placed on the first page of the proposal.
It focuses strictly on the customer, not on you, your company, or your service.
This is the best way to grab their attention and demonstrate your understanding of their needs and issues.

The Remaining Pages

After that, the remaining pages outline what you will do to help the customer achieve the objectives listed on the first page.

Every piece of information you include in a proposal must be interesting and relevant to the person reading it.
You seldom, if ever, need to include every single feature or aspect about your service.
Finally, make it easier to read by adding headings and including plenty of white space.
A five page, single-spaced proposal written in a 10-point font is not easy to read.
When given a document like that, many people will just skim through it, or worse, flip to the last page to see how much it costs.
Generally speaking even for complex solutions, the shorter your sales proposal and the more concise you make it, the better.
I  have only heard of one instance where the prospect weighed the proposals and threw out the heaviest and the lightest as a way to cut down the amount they had to read!
If your sales proposals aren’t generating the responses you expect, a change might be in order.

Try these ideas so that you stand out from your competitors. Let us know how you get on info@rainmaker-coaching.co.uk

And a final thought … Often you delegate your sales activities to an internal person.
(you may not yet be trusted to see the board of directors) .
By having a proposal structured like this it makes it easy for your internal fox or coach to sell your idea to the board…
After all they won’t be as good a sales person as you ;0)

Rainmaking and Selling: A Rainmaker’s Routes to Market

Many professional service firms have learned how quickly good times can turn to bad
Sometimes this can because of a route to market failure

Our belief is that developing business is something that must be done in good times and in bad
This way you may delay and minimise bad times.

Some of you may realise that one source of your revenue decline has been due to the failure of a single route to market.

In order to reduce that risk in the future requires not just increased business activity, but a diversification of the routes through which business comes to you.

Our suggestion is that now that a recovery is underway, could it be a good time to do that?

Examples of route to market failure include:

  • Rainmaker failure or moving
    The loss of a rainmaker who provides a disproportional share of the new business.
  • External referral source retirement
    Maybe a referral source who provides a disproportional share of the new business.
    If your consultants receive all of their leads from say a turnaround manager, when that person retires your sole route to market disappears
  • Client education programs not working.
    Consulting firms often run seminars on specific methods for dealing with corporate problems.
    After the seminars attendees often hire them for large engagements.
    At first these seminars attract high-level participants, but after time, more and more junior people enter the mix.
    When senior people stop coming to the seminars, lead flow declines and there are less leads.
  • The failure of an internal referral channel.
    The engineering studio of one firm got all of its business from projects that originated with the firm’s architectural studios.
    When architectural projects dried up, so did the engineering studios lead flow.
  • The management of the studio began to develop personal relationships with client facilities managers to give them a second, less cyclical, route to market.

At the large accounting firms, the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act reduced leads from audit partners to forensic accountant practices specialising in litigation support to zero overnight. The litigation support consultants, who had relied entirely on audit partners for a steady flow of new cases, had to scramble to develop new routes to market.
Route to market failure is surprisingly common and can be devastating.

The single route to market usually looks as if it will never cease to provide new business. In almost all cases, its failure comes as a big surprise. The best way to avoid the problem is to have multiple channels to market.

Any professional services firm which relies on a single route to market exposes themselves to grave risk.

I hope that you appreciate us sharing our views with you and that the ideas have given you food for thought and action.

Selling and Rainmaking: Are you the go-to person for your clients?

The rainmakers I speak to, often talk in terms of being the “go-to” person.
They want to be the person that their clients go to or call and ask advice on a range of topics
not just the services they and their company deliver.

Why and how do they do that?
The why is the easiest to answer…
They know that they want to be the trusted advisor to their client.
They want to know anything and everything that is going on around their clients and the
services they in-turn deliver. That way they know what’s going on in their clients company
and they know that if they launch a new service which of their clients will be interested and
what services their clients are buying today
The how is a little more involved…
They are continually networking inside and outside of their
company and field of expertise into related areas.

They will always “know” of someone who can offer a solution or they can ask their network
where to find someone. They also devote more time to this by following down a solution for a client.
They will weed out those people who do not do a good job for their client too, because they know their own reputation and brand depends on the referrals they make.

So next time your client asks you for something you do not do, However it’s close to what you do…
Ask yourself do you want to be their “go to” person?
What would that be worth to you and your business.

Selling and Rainmaking: 6 Steps to Effectively Cross Selling Your Services

One of the greatest myths in IT Services companies is that your fellow consultants
will be eager to cross-sell you just because they’re your “partners.”
I’m sorry to disillusion you… The fact is that they aren’t.

Whether because of inertia, fear of competition, concern that you will have a negative
impact on their relationship with the client, or lack of incentives,
your colleagues probably cross-sell less often than you might like.
But before you can handle potential obstacles you may face in convincing a client to hire you,
you must first convince your fellow IT services professionals to cross-sell you.

In order for that to happen, they need to:
know you (while it doesn’t hurt if they like you, however that’s not a requirement);
know what you do and what you are capable of doing for their clients;
trust that you will treat their clients well; and,
feel that there is something in it for them.
Here’s a road map for successfully convincing your partners to cross-sell you:

1. Start by identifying several (fewer than 5) key consultants who present good opportunities for you.
Evaluate these people based on the focus of their practices;
their client base; and, most important, how willing they are to cross-sell.
Some people are inclined to cross- sell; others aren’t.
Life is too short to try to convert those who are strongly disinclined to cross- sell
(whether you or others) into effective cross- sellers.

2. Develop a relationship with each of these people.
You need to get to know each other on a personal level– through chats in the hall,
lunch, or working together on a client matter or committee.

3. Educate them about what you do.
You might assume that because they are your partners, they know what you do.
Years of working with IT services firms has convinced me they don’t.
You need to educate them about your expertise and experience.

4. Educate them that you do it well.
Let’s face it.
Not all of your partners are equally talented, equally smart, equally client-oriented, and equally diligent.
To convince your partners that they can entrust their clients to you, share your successes
with them and let them know how delighted your clients are with the service you provide.

5. Make your expectations clear.
Don’t assume that they know to whom you want to be cross-sold and for what services.
Explain the game plan to them:
“I think there is an opportunity for your client ‘X’ to hire us to do ‘Y’ type of work, which I do.
Can we sit down and develop a plan for how we might go about doing that?”

6. Finally, don’t forget to determine what’s in it for them.
Ultimately, most people are motivated by self- interest.
To encourage them to act on your behalf, you want to make clear that this has benefits for them.
Those benefits can vary depending on the situation:
maybe it will strengthen the client relationship,
maybe it will be viewed positively by the firm’s leadership,
maybe you have agreed in advance to share the billing credit if the matter comes in.
If you want to be cross-sold, you must treat marketing to your partners with as much
focus and commitment as marketing to potential clients.
These six steps are the place to start that marketing campaign.

Have fun and let us know how you get on.