Sales is changing every day – buyers know more about products than sellers, crowd sourced reviews affect the value of our offerings, and we’re facing increasing competition as barriers to entry continue to lower. All of this makes closing sales harder than ever.
But some things will never change. We wrote about the foundational principles of outbound sales in our book, Outbound Sales, No Fluff. So when we saw that Dan Morris from Mindracer Consulting had a simple, comprehensive checklist for closing sales, we had to join forces for a webinar to dive a little deeper. These are some foundational steps, that when put into practice, will help you:
- Create successful and effective handoffs between SDRs and AEs
- Stand out significantly from the competition
- Break through quota hurdles
- Close more sales
Watch the recording here:
Defining Sales Jargon
In order to create consistency and be set up for success, you must define what terms you use and what they mean for your team. Start with the basics and define everything from what a “Sales Qualified Lead” means to defining what each stage and exit criteria in the sales process looks like. Being crystal clear will save you so much time when communicating with your team and reviewing an opportunity in your pipeline. If you have criteria agreed upon, you won’t be wasting any time within any stage of the sales process.
Taking a small amount of time before a meeting to do the following 4 prep steps will help you gain the competitive edge.
Look for ways to demonstrate that you really have taken time to understand your prospect’s business and are interested to consult with them based on context, not just after quickly glancing at their website.
Use boolean searches to pull up useful info specifically about them, like the following:
- “Company.com” AND “annual report”
- “Company” AND “[category] spend”
- “Company” AND “investing in”
Note: You can go deep with this depending on your service. Examples of this type of research includes, analyzing their existing spend on various marketing channels, their frequency of content creation, ratings of recent ads they aired, quotes from execs in the media, etc.
Look for strategies that your prospect may have. These can be found in social posts, annual reports, mission statements, media articles and quotes from execs. Public companies normally make this very easy with investor decks that are available to read.
Example: If you’re selling data services, and your fortune 500 prospect has a strategy that explains that before 2025, their data governance will be industry-leading, you have a great conversation ahead!
Privately held and smaller companies normally have some publicly stated objectives that you can use. If you’re meeting with a specific person, they will often have some content out there about their personal objectives in their role. If you are the one to read that and use it in your meeting, you WILL stand out from the competition.
3) Relevant opportunities
This one is completely dependent on the business you are in. You should have a whole section of your prep template dedicated to finding a list of the key things you and your business can help with, so you can use them in the conversation.
- Content businesses – what opportunities exist to help them become a thought leader in their space?
- Ads businesses – where are they not appearing that could be a huge driver for them?
- Analytics businesses – what can you help them measure that ties to a key goal?
What have you done before that was comparable? By this, we mean that you need a list of companies that you are currently doing business with. If you don’t have this, build it. All you need for each meeting is a few comparable examples to help you tell a story. This doesn’t mean they have to be the same. Examples are:
- I’ve sold ads into cosmetic surgery companies using comps from consumer finance clients because they are both a highly competitive market – and rapid ad optimization saves big money.
- I’ve sold content to niche publishers using other niche examples that were extremely different from each other. Platinum mining and a synthesized character with a fashion blog, for example – but because they were so different from the “norm”, they were comparable.
- I’ve sold services to CEOs of tech companies serving completely different industries based on them facing a similar challenge we solved before – they were getting to the demo, but not closing deals.
- Of course, examples of where you’re working with ten of their direct competitors and you’re the leader in that space are always good.
Dan put together an easy to use prep template that you can download and use for free. Just login or signup for free here. Under My Playbooks, you’ll see “Au Partners Partner: Fail-Proof Sales Closing Checklist”. Go to the “Meeting Prep Guide” tab, then you’ll see the “Prep Template”.
The Fool Proof, Fail-Proof Sales Closing Checklist
The comprehensive sales closing checklist is the component that has helped Dan and his clients close over $10M in business. It provides you with a list of questions to make sure you have covered your basis, from beginning to close. It starts by making sure you have shared your prep information with your prospect and reminds you of what you need to do every step of the way. No matter how good you are or how much experience you have, if you forget even small details, those are the little things that can sometimes be detrimental. This is why it is so crucial to follow this.
To access the sales closing checklist, login or signup for free here. Under My Playbooks, you’ll see “Au Partners Partner: Fail-Proof Sales Closing Checklist”. Go to the “Sales Closing Checklist” tab to view and download the checklist.
The methods above are the things most reps are not doing, yet they are the steps that will position you ahead of the competition and help you have better conversations and close more sales.