It’s a few days before the end of the quarter. You’re on track to exceed your quota, and you can already feel the breeze on your upcoming Champion’s Club cruise to the Caymans.
That’s when the phone rings. It’s the Champion at one of your biggest accounts. He sounds tense, and you know what’s coming before he even says it:
Management has decided to wait until next quarter. The money just isn’t there at the moment.
You’re joy disappears right alongside that cruise.
Down the hall, you see your manager congratulating the top sales rep in your office for another record quarter. What’s he doing that you’re not?
He’s probably answered the following five questions that let you avoid slipped deals.
1. Why should the client do anything?
The best closers among salespeople are paranoid. They think everything through twice and question it again after that. They build a detailed closing plan, and constantly qualify the status of a deal every step along the way.
They also know that the Number One reason that leads to slipped deals is that the client decides not to decide.
That’s why you need to know how big the client’s pain is. Is it big enough for him to make the required investment of time, effort, and money? What is the cost of doing nothing?
2. Why should the client buy your solutions?
Your clients don’t care about your solution; they care about what problems your solution solves for them.
That’s why you need to have a heads up on your competition. Who are they, and what are they offering that is of value to your accounts?
More importantly, what are your key differentiators that your client agrees are important? Quantifying them will help you stay in the game in case your competitors cut you on price.
3. What are the customer’s internal steps to buy?
How familiar are your with your customer’s buying process? Do you know what concrete steps they need to take to make a technical decision? What about their route to approve the budget and cash out?
Deals often slip into the next quarter when reps don’t think of how long it will take to get through the legal, purchasing and approval steps to get the contract signed.
Knowing that let’s you plan ahead and align your closing plan with your customer’s process, and prevents any last-minute surprises from popping up.
4. Why should the client buy now?
Is there a compelling reason to close the deal now? Are their consequences if the deal closes next quarter?
If the answer is no, how can you create a compelling situation?
5. Do you have access to a sponsor with right authority?
Can you call somebody high in the chain that will support your deal when things go wrong? Does this person have enough with power & influence and the personal interest to make a change?
These are the things that can make the difference at the 11th hour, when the decision makers at your account are hesitating to pull the trigger.
But if you already know the answers to all of these questions and have planned ahead, you can break out your sunglasses, because you’ve got a cruise to waiting for you.