Here’s a guide to having a sales conversation that feels effortless and natural, while still getting the desired outcome.
We’re assuming here that the prospect in front of you is a good fit. The lead research and nurturing have taken place, and the salesperson has a reasonable likelihood of conversion.
Your closer should be armed to the teeth with as much information about the prospect as possible.
Even with advance knowledge, a sales conversation is a fact finding mission.
The job of the closer is to remove any objections by pre-empting them, before going in for the kill. By going in for the kill, I mean acting in the best interests of the prospect and only making the sale if it’s mutually beneficial.
By following the framework below, your closer will be able to lead focused sales conversations with a high success rate. The word “lead” is important here – the closer sets the stage, controls the pacing and leads the way, rather than being dragged along by the ramblings of the prospect.
#1 Rapport building
This shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, but you cannot skip over this step. You can ask questions about the business, the prospect’s role in the business, or about the prospect personally.
The purpose of this small talk is to establish that you are a person that shows interest and curiosity in the other party, not just the sale. You’re looking for points of mutual connection that can form a small personal bond.
#2 Setting the stage
This may involve some level of introduction of the company offering, woven into a breakdown of how this is going to work. It’s your sales conversation. You tell them what’s going to happen, how it all works, and what order it’s going to happen in. You also inform them that your job is to assist them in making the best choice. That may include walking away from the deal if it’s not in the prospect’s best interests. This is trust building, but it mustn’t be a fabrication. You have to be prepared to shut it down if the prospect needs aren’t best served by your solution.
A couple of things are happening when you do this. Firstly, there’s a small power dynamic shift, where you take control of the pace. Secondly, you are alleviating the burden of thinking from your prospect. The ambiguity is removed, and your prospect no longer has to wonder about how best to go about this.
#3 Implementing the BANT framework
BANT – Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline. This framework helps the salesperson establish if the prospect is a good fit.
Don’t start with B, though. The line of questioning should move towards N – the need. Help the prospect qualify themself to you by asking about the challenge they are trying to solve. You should be listening thoughtfully here, making notes, and not interjecting too much.
At this point, hopefully it should be apparent that what you have to offer is a good fit. You can begin to bring in relevant case studies and testimonials to demonstrate to the prospect how you’ve helped solve this for other companies.
Next, it’s time for the B. As you discuss the budget with the prospect, remember to tie the benefits you offer back to the problems you’ve uncovered by asking about the need. Outline some possible directions you could proceed in.
Moving on to T, you can establish the timelines the prospect is looking to move in. If the need is urgent enough to push forwards now, this is great news. You may need to manage expectations on onboarding and implementation timelines, so be prepared for that. If the need is strong enough, the budget is aligned, and you have good rapport, the timeline should just be another box to check. It’s still important to ensure the prospect understands the time-to-live, and why.
Finally, you want to make sure that the person you are talking to is a part of the decision making process. Do they have the A – the authority – to make this call? If they are part of a team who make the buying decision, now is the time to record all of the other stakeholders. At this point, you may need to regroup and resume the call with the rest of the stakeholders present.
If everything is a good fit, it will feel logical to proceed to sign-up. It should “make sense” in the mind of the prospect.
If there are pricing or package options, you can recommend which package is best for the prospect, based on what they’ve told you.
Summarize the key points and the benefits, then define the next steps clearly.