9 sales strategies to close a business deal faster
Making sales and getting contracts signed has always been a challenge, and the shift to digital business processes has, in some respects, made B2B sales more complex. Customers now rely heavily on digital channels for information, and for a B2B purchase decision, they typically do a lot of research online before speaking with a sales rep. Research by Small Biz Genius found, for example, that 75 percent of B2B buyers and 84 percent of C-level executives are influenced by social media when making purchasing decisions. Traditional sales methods, like using in-person events to generate leads and build relationships, will likely be less prevalent even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
While the digital transformation of business has changed how companies pursue sales and close deals, digital tools and workflows can also make the sales process more efficient. And the fundamental principles of effective sales still apply in a digital-first world.
As an entrepreneur or leader of a small business, your success depends on understanding how, where, and why purchasing decisions are being made. This guide outlines nine strategies you can use to close a deal more quickly.
1. Find out who the decision makers are
When you are selling your products or services, it is important to know who you are talking to and what role they play in the decision-making process. Your lead may turn out to be a representative for the true decision maker. In smaller companies, decision makers are typically CEOs or people with a C-level or VP-level title. In larger companies, the decision maker would more typically hold a director-level title.
Investing your time with a person that does not have the opportunity to finalize a decision can set you back from your goal of a faster and more efficient sale. If possible, it’s best to track down the true decision maker so you can make an organic and authentic connection that lets you showcase your product or service. Leadfeeder notes that there are different tools, tactics, and applications that can help you find the right decision maker in any company. These platforms include LinkedIn, Hunter, Prospect.io, and ZoomInfo.
If you can’t reach the decision maker directly, consider how you can tailor your sales pitch to address their concerns or interests. This will include a bit of footwork and research — to identify key characteristics and needs of your target customer — long before the pitching process begins.
2. Consider offering a discount with a deadline
Whether you are selling a product or a service, a deadline provides an incentive to commit to the sale. But be careful — pressuring the customer with an overpowering sense of urgency can make your brand feel inauthentic or even needy.
To create an organic sense of urgency, consider adding a specialized discount that showcases how your product or service is available as the right choice at the right time. The discount should be an incentive — an extra push toward a positive commitment.
3. Be genuine
Your company must clearly demonstrate how and why your product is helpful and essential to your customer. By doing your research and understanding your audience, you’ll be able to predict their needs, expectations, and values — and craft a pitch that’s more genuine and more relevant. Forbes notes that “Learning from previous experiences not only enriches your expertise — it makes you capable of talking to future customers as if you already know them.”
While it is important to convey a sense of enthusiasm about your product, it is essential to know and pinpoint exactly how and why your product is the right choice. This approach shows you are more interested in creating a valued partnership than making a quick sale.
4. Write a proposal tailored to the needs of your prospective customer.
Before you begin pitching your product or service, take the time to write a proposal. Every pitch should be unique to each prospect. To best understand the customer’s needs, you will need to research their specific business and industry. Consider carefully how your product or service could best help them. Create a pitch that targets your prospect’s pain points and explains how your product will meet their needs. Your proposal should be focused, concise, and organized for easy reading.
While writing your proposal, consider any objections your prospective buyers may have and how you intend to respond to these concerns. Writing your responses out ahead of time can be a great dress rehearsal for an upcoming conversation and help you recognize where your messaging is missing the mark.
5. Actively listen to your prospective customer.
During a pitch meeting, if you approach the needs of a potential client patiently and intelligently, you are more likely to build trust and close a sale. If you don’t know the answer to a question, offer as much information as you do know — don’t pretend you know more than you do — and tell the client you’ll provide a full answer as quickly as possible. Responding quickly and honestly shows your prospective client that you are trustworthy and dedicated to finding the products and solutions that best fit their needs.
If you don’t make the sale, use the missed opportunity as a learning moment. Enter some notes in your customer relationship management (CRM) software explaining why the prospect didn’t choose your product. This information can help you prepare for future conversations with that customer and others like them.
6. Make it easy for your client to engage
When you’re selling your products or services, consider the relationship from the client’s side and proactively create an easy-to-navigate experience. You can accelerate the sales process — and delight your customers — by offering a mobile-first customer experience that lets them review and comment on your proposal or contract on any device. As a best practice, be sure to include the option to sign documents digitally with e-signatures, allowing the customer to make the commitment as soon as they are ready.
You should also directly ask your clients if they prefer to communicate by phone, text, or email, so you can respond quickly in their preferred channel. This not only makes it easy for your client to keep in touch, but also reinforces your commitment to providing them with exceptional customer service.
7. Streamline your sales process with digital tools
If you haven’t already, consider adopting modern tools that assist in the sales process. B2Btrendsshow that today’s buyers want various digital options from their vendors to streamline the sales process. These may include any number of the following features:
- A personalized customer portal or web page just for them.
- Easy-to-use communication options.
- Automated processes that seamlessly deliver important information and updates.
- Digitized and easily accessible essential documents, including contracts, downloadable invoices, and shareable bills of sale.
8. Know your competition
Closing deals faster requires you to make a clear value proposition not just on what you and your company can deliver, but compared to the alternatives your prospective customers may be considering. As important as it is to know and understand your customer, it is equally important to understand your competitors. Researching your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses can highlight opportunities to showcase the value and strengths of your own product. Conversely, if your competitor is highly successful, you can learn from their strengths and use this knowledge to improve your pitch and close deals faster.
9. Follow up with your leads
A sale typically doesn’t occur in a single meeting, and it might take a bit of time for your prospect to generate questions or consider the impact of your product or service on their business. Check in frequently and ask follow-up questions. Keeping in touch can reignite the prospect’s interest in your business and nudge them to make a purchase decision. Regular follow-ups can also create opportunities to directly ask for a decision and close the sale. Regular check-ins can prove your dedication to the growth and goals of the prospect company. Just don’t be overbearing. Also, be sure to provide valuable information and answer questions, which will show that you are there to help them succeed — not just close a sale.
Start slow, close fast
The key to speeding up the sales process isn’t necessarily to do everything faster. If you want to close deals quickly, take the time to identify the needs of your prospective customers and then offer them — in an authentic way — an easily accessible solution. Doing upfront research on both your target customers and your competitors will prepare you to smoothly transition into closing the deal.
Once you have started a conversation with a prospect, having the right digital tools and digital document workflows in place lets you provide a seamless experience throughout the sales process. By eliminating friction at key points — and especially at the point where you want the client to sign on the dotted line — you can get to yes faster.