Joe Morone, co-founder and B2B tech sales researcher & strategist | Worldleaders, Inc.
Learning how to close a sale and produce a win for your organization is one of the coveted skills of a successful salesperson. It’s what ultimately separate those that spend 2-3 years in the career before dropping out and those that are earning over $150,000 in a year.
While getting comfortable with a closing technique that works with your target market is certainly part of winning more deals, the best salespeople will admit that there’s a lot more that goes into it.
In this article, we are going to be reviewing the presenting and closing tips that were taught at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Speaker Series event on Nov. 13.
TIP 1: Build a world-class proposal
At the end of the day, the best collateral you can develop for recapping the prospect’s goals/problems, overviewing your solution, and positioning your organization is a short and actionable sales proposal. While the in-depth article on how to write a sales proposal can be found here, this graphic depicts the essential elements of a proposal.
Here’s what it all means:
- Business Results – The business impact that will delivered to the client. Ex) Increased sales, reduced cost, improved first time quality, reduced cycle time, ability to meet compliance. This is ultimately the real reason that your prospect buys and all conversations should be routed back to the business result.
- Alternate Strategies Considered – List the alternate strategies that the prospect considers if they don’t select you. This allow you and your team to be in control of the evaluation process and boosts your credibility.
- Solution Overview – A brief, half-page overview of the solution. This is strongest when represented by a graphic. You may include an appendix to your proposal going into deeper detail but at this point just use a brief overview.
- Risk Mitigation Plan – The #1 reason buyers don’t buy? They don’t fully understand the risks that are involved with the purchase and implementation. Here is where you walk through the risks and how your team reduces them.
- Required Timeline – In B2B technology sales, there’s always a timeline. Address timeline of project start, delivery, final sign-off, etc.
- Uniquely Qualified – Now you can talk about yourself. If you have any of the following, make sure to focus on them: product/service superiority, customization to need, specialized price, terms, and conditions, special technical alignment, special cultural alignment, and the ability to meet specific timelines.
- Company Qualification – What relevant certifications does your organization have? What similar organizations have you worked with?
- Price – What are the price, terms, and conditions of your solution? Include the list price of the solution in addition to the discounted price (if applicable).
TIP 2: Conduct a bi-directional presentation
Once you have your proposal written, it’s time to set up an in-person walk-through of the proposal with the buying team. The presentation should be focused on the business case and should be a fluent conversation with the buyers. It’s better to capture objections here then later in the sales cycle.
To make this bi-directional presentation effective and ultimately win the sale, you must bring the following stakeholders together:
- Business-Level Decision Maker. This stakeholder has profit and loss responsibility for the organization or business unit you are selling to. They ultimately must produce the business result that your solution provides. Always include them in the presentation as they are the one who gives the final authorization.
- The Technical User. The business-level decision maker is in charge of the results, but the technical user is usually in charge of using or implementing your solution. They are concerned with capability, usability, and reliability.
- Invite the procurement or financial-level stakeholder to the presentation. They are used to being routed around by salespeople. Let’s bring them in and make them a part of the decision so they don’t halt it later.
TIP 3: Use a closing model.
While a Google search will show you tons of closing models and approaches, the one that we’ve begun to build in this article is closing on Relative Value. The reason why we recommend using the relative value model, is because it’s a formula that focuses on the business result and can be adjusted based on negotiations between the buyer and seller.
The equation looks like this: RV=BR+RM@FMP
Here’s how it breaks down:
- RV = Relative Value
- BR = Business Result
- RM = Risk Mitigation
- @FMP = at fair market price
The relative value equation depicts the value of a solution at that given time, under those specific circumstances. The way that we “back into” creating relative value is by determining the business results delivered, the risks, mitigated, and the fair market price. If we create relative value correctly, there is no real substantiated reason that a buyer should decline the offer. In fact, we’ve recorded over a 70%-win rate using this method.
Let’s say you follow the presenting and closing approach outlined in this article, and your prospect says “Hey, X corporation is still 5% cheaper.” You can use the relative value equation to negotiate. “Understood. See, both our solution and X corporation’s solution is priced at fair market price. So, what we must look at now is why the prices are different. There can only be two areas: a difference in risk mitigation or a difference in business results delivered.” You can then begin to show that the competition’s solution includes more risk or doesn’t produce as much results.
The other utility of the proposal is that it can be for negotiations. The buyer says something like “The price is still too high,” or “That expected outcome is not strong enough.” You can again back into relative value by saying “The price can be lowered, but we will have to remove this part of the risk mitigation plan and it will expose the organization to more risk,” or “We can certainly boost the expected results by increasing the inputs. For that to happen the price of the solution will go up accordingly.”
The final part of closing on relative value is asking a simple question: “Are you ready to get started?” or “Do we have a deal?” Going into 2020, you aren’t going to close a high-level buyer by using trickery. Talk to the business-level decision maker just like how they would talk to each other – straight-forward, honest, and sincere.
While this concludes our tips of presenting and closing, there is more to winning a sale than what was listed in this article. Head to the Worldleaders website to download The Smart Sales Method, a book that teaches you the sales processes used by the top 1% of salespeople to find, assess, close, and manage new business.
Worldleaders is a marketing and sales advisory firm that helps B2B technology companies to penetrate new markets and win more sales. They help organization to develop and implement marketing and sales processes, they provide sales training, and sales recruiting services.
About the Author
Joe Morone has a 30-year consecutive track record for growing sales and sales teams. He is the co-founder and B2B technology sales researcher & strategist for Worldleaders Inc. Joe is co-author of the five-star rated book, The Smart Sales Method for B2B Sales Teams. For the past 12 years, his guidance in implementing the right sales & marketing strategy, sales methods and developing sales skills has helped thousands of sales representatives and more than 200 B2B firms to penetrate new markets and win more sales. Prior to founding Worldleaders, Joe was responsible growing a technology company from $24m to +$1billion in sales, expanding from regional to global and becoming publicly traded. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.