When you’re working deals, mastering the art of closing is essential. However, the pressure associated with a traditional closing approach can be daunting, especially for new sales representatives. Unfortunately, many reps don't actually have a closing strategy to help support their process … and if they do, they’re uncomfortable bringing it up.
You want to get to a yes or no quickly and not have deals stall, drag on, lose excitement, or change scope. What’s a tried-and-true way to get there? Introduce your closing strategy in the first sales meeting.
By openly discussing the sales process with your potential clients upfront, you can alleviate apprehension, foster transparency, and pave the way for smoother, more effective closes.
Here, we'll give some more context about why closing strategies can be uncomfortable, review why covering your process in your initial meeting is best practice, and go over some tips on how to execute this strategy effectively.
Unpacking the Discomfort: Why Closing Strategies Can Feel Unsettling
As salespeople, we naturally want to avoid rejection, and the idea of pressuring a potential client can feel contrary to building a positive rapport. The uneasiness around traditional closing strategies can be attributed to:
- Pressure of Making or Breaking a Deal. Closing, by nature, often feels like a high-stakes situation – and for good reason, it's ultimately make or break. That pressure has a tendency to get to reps, making closing strategies uncomfortable for most salespeople.
- Fear of Rejection. When you’re afraid of being rejected, it undermines your confidence and your ability to effectively communicate the value of your product. You might avoid taking the necessary steps to move the sales process forward, leading to missed opportunities.
- Awkward Nature of the Process. The step-by-step process of closing might not always align with the flow of a genuine conversation, making it seem forced and unnatural. With these inauthentic interactions comes loss of trust — the cornerstone of closing any deal.
The Power of Process Explanation: Easing Apprehension Through Transparency
Outlining your sales process during the initial meeting helps you tackle your closing strategy apprehension. When you share your well-defined process with potential buyers, you offer them a roadmap of what to expect. (If you don’t have a defined process, check this out!)
This not only adds clarity for the buyer but also demonstrates your commitment to transparency. By doing so, you shift the focus away from a high-pressure situation to a structured collaboration. For example: “As discussed, we’ll meet weekly for the next X weeks just for a quick check-in, even if nothing has changed.”
Your closing technique should be a part of your sales process and should happen after a defined set of time or milestone in the process, like quote sent. Now that you have perspective on the ‘why’ behind covering your process in the first meeting, let's take a look at ‘how’ you can leverage this strategy effectively.
Tips for Implementing a Transparent Closing Strategy
When it comes to implementing a transparent closing strategy, your goal is to guide potential clients seamlessly through the sales process while alleviating any apprehension. Here's how to effectively integrate this approach into your sales methodology.
1. Introduce Your Sales Process
Towards the end of your first meeting with a potential client, take a moment to introduce them to the high-level sales process. This serves as a preview of the journey they're embarking on. Tell them what they can expect to see going forward, including what next steps will look like or any other elements you want to cover in this conversation.
Alternatively, let them know that you'll provide a recap of the process in the coming communication. This initial insight sets the stage for transparency and demonstrates your commitment to keeping them informed.
2. Provide Visual Aids for Clarity
A visual aid, such as a flow chart, is a valuable tool in explaining each stage of the sales process — take it a step further by emphasizing the buyer's benefits at every step.
Highlight how each phase aligns with their needs and challenges, reinforcing the value they stand to gain. Let’s say you work for a tech startup that sells practice management software for small physician-led practices, and you’re meeting with the office manager.
The practice is having trouble managing scheduling and billing and it’s causing friction with their patients. You might want to offer a visual aid that demonstrates how your software improves scheduling and billing efficiencies, allowing the doctor to have more patient face time — improving overall patient satisfaction.
You could also use this aid to reference similar practices you’ve helped with the same issues. This approach makes the process relatable and engaging, enhancing their understanding of the journey ahead.
3. Schedule Your Closing Meeting on Your First Call
Incorporate your closing meeting into the process from the outset. If possible, schedule this meeting during your initial call or interaction. It sets a clear timeline and signals the path toward a decision point.
If your sales process involves multiple meetings leading to the close —whether bi-weekly or weekly — consider scheduling those appointments too. This proactive approach maintains momentum and establishes expectations.
4. Embrace Rejection as a Path to Success
Understanding that a swift “no” can be more beneficial than a prolonged indecision is crucial. By addressing potential roadblocks early and openly, you ensure that valuable time isn't wasted for either you or your prospect.
This mindset shift can make the fear of rejection more manageable and empower you to focus on leads with higher potential.
Paving the Path to Success: Transparent Closings
While a strong closing technique remains paramount in the sales process, the key lies in integrating it seamlessly and transparently. Incorporating these strategies into your sales approach can shift the focus from personal apprehension to a structured and collaborative process.
By openly sharing your sales journey and its benefits, you foster trust, reduce pressure, and ultimately increase the likelihood of successful closes. Remember, closing isn't just about the deal — it's about building lasting partnerships.