Your close percentage in sales is one of the most important metrics on your business reports. Even if you’re generating a lot of leads and you’re getting a lot of interest from potential customers, it doesn’t make a bit of difference if you can’t close those sales. In fact, a low rate of sales closure means that you’re wasting a lot of resources. You’re paying for sales staff that are spending their days interacting with customers but you aren’t actually seeing any return on that investment.
There are a lot of different reasons for a low close percentage but the good news is, you can do something about it. If you’re putting a lot of effort into your marketing and sales, but you’re not closing any of those deals, you need to make some big changes right away. These are some of the best ways to increase your close percentage.
Target Your Sales Effort
This is incredibly important because some customers are never going to be interested in your products regardless of how amazing your sales team are. If you’re running a business that sells perfume, for example, you’re not going to make many sales to middle aged men. You might get a few people buying it as a gift if you’re lucky, but you primarily need to be targeting the female market. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using phone sales, email marketing or social media marketing, you need to be directing it at the right demographic. If you’re not doing that, you’re wasting resources on people that are never going to buy anything from you.
Market research is the best starting point here. You need to get some focus groups together and test your products with a wide range of different demographics. That will give you an idea of which social groups respond well to your products and which ones simply aren’t bothered by it. Then you can start to target your marketing efforts toward those people and ignore the rest. If you think that you can create a product that is going to resonate with everybody, you’re probably wrong. It’s a far better use of resources to focus on specific demographics.
Hire Experienced Salespeople
A lot of people underestimate how difficult it is to be a good salesperson, especially with things like social media marketing or phone sales. Some people think of it as a numbers game, if you reach out to enough people, a certain percentage will convert to sales, so it doesn’t really matter who’s making those calls because it’s all about volume. That strategy might work a bit and you might get a few sales out of it, but if you really want to increase your close rate, you need experienced salespeople. A good salesperson needs to be approachable, they need to be able to read people and respond to them on their level, and they need to be patient and empathetic. People that aren’t particularly outgoing won’t do well in sales. When you’re hiring sales staff, you need to look for people with good experience or at least somebody that has the qualities that make a great salesperson.
If you are hiring people based on their skills and potential rather than their sales experience, training is so essential. A lot of sales training programs are a bit flimsy and a lot of people don’t think that they’re worth it, but if you run a proper sales training program, it’s incredibly useful. Things like phone etiquette are more difficult than they seem and some people don’t conduct themselves very well at all. It’s important that people know how to introduce themselves properly, what tone they should take with customers, and how to lead into the sales pitch without coming across too pushy. It’s also important that you teach people how to close the sale properly once the customer is interested.
You also need to consider new technology that impacts sales, especially if you’re working with experienced sales staff. They might have started working in sales when it was all about cold calling, but they won’t necessarily know how to effectively utilize things like email or social media in their sales efforts. That’s why ongoing training is important because new technology is always developing.
Integrate Sales And Marketing
Sales enablement means giving your sales team the resources they need to turn a lead into a closed sale. There are a lot of different ways that you can do that, market research to target sales is one of them, implementing new technology is another. Check out this “Non-Boring Guide to Sales Enablement” for more detail on the different techniques that you can use. The most important of those techniques is definitely integrating sales with your marketing branch. You can’t get away from the fact that marketing and sales are linked and your sales team rely on marketing to generate leads. Marketing materials are also useful when trying to convince a customer that your product is better than your competitors. If your sales and marketing branches are working independently from one another, they might be working against one another. You’ll find it a lot easier to close sales if your marketing and sales team are developing strategies together.
Understand The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Your Sales Team
If you’re trying to create a sales team that is successful across the board, you’re going to struggle. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses and if you try to push them to do things that they’re not equipped for, they’re not going to be very effective. But if you foster the skills that they do have and divide the workload based on people’s strengths, you’ll have a far more successful sales team. For example, if you’ve got a seasoned salesperson that has been doing this for a while, they probably feel more at home making sales on the phone, but they might not have that much experience with social media. However, your younger staff members may be more adept at communicating with people online. You should take that into account when you’re giving people specific roles in the team and put people in areas where they’re most likely to succeed.
Use The Fear Of Loss
Fear of loss is a great sales technique that you should definitely be making use of. One of the most common ways that businesses utilize fear of loss is through limited time promotions. The customer is told that they can get the product at a reduced price, but only for a short amount of time. If they don’t commit to a sale now and they take too long to think about it, they might miss out on that great deal. This is one of the best ways to close those sales quickly before the customer has time to change their mind.
You can use product levels to generate fear of loss in your customers. For example, tell them that you’re offering a discounted price but only until a certain number of products are sold, after which time, the price will go back up again. This is often more effective than a limited time promotion because the customer doesn’t know exactly when the price is likely to shoot up, so they better just make the purchase now before it’s too late.
However, it’s important that your sales staff aren’t too pushy when they’re trying to use fear of loss to close a sale. If you start pressuring customers, that’s when they’re likely to switch off and you’ll lose the sale entirely. You need to try to put those time constraints on the sale without being overly pushy. For example, it’s not a good idea to say, we’re going to be sold out by tomorrow so you better make a purchase now if you want a better price. But it is ok to mention that the promotion has been popular and you’re making quite a lot of sales.
Know When To Stop
Trying to push a customer too far is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make in sales. Say, for example, you’ve got a customer on the line and it looks like you’re going to close that deal. A lot of salespeople think that, because they’ve got that initial interest, the customer is open to anything that they’re offering. So, they start trying to get them to upgrade to a more expensive product or sell them extra things on top. In some cases, that might work, but more often than not, it will have the opposite effect. Consumers don’t like to be pressured and if you push them too far, they might pull back and you’ll lose the initial sale. It’s far more effective to close that first sale and then contact the customer again in future to try to make more sales instead of trying to force more sales during the first interaction.
If you have a low close percentage on your sales, you’ve got a big problem. But if you can make these changes to your sales and marketing team, you should see an increase in a relatively short period of time.
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