5 Ways to Close a Sale

5 Ways to Close a Sale

5 Ways to Close a Sale

One of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is when you secure a “Yes!” from a prospect who will benefit from your product or services. The feeling of closing a sale — that moment when you achieve your desired outcome and money changes hands — can be one of the greatest sources of validation.

Sales may not typically be a solopreneur’s favorite thing, yet feeling that close is. But before you can jump to the close — you need to make sure you’ve done the basics of selling:

  1. Start with the potential customer’s problem. How does the problem that you’re solving typically show up in your prospects’ lives? What are the symptoms of this issue? What accomplishment is this problem preventing your people from reaching?
  2. Get clear on your benefits and be able to articulate them to your potential customers. This is where much of the selling actually takes place. You need to not only be able to talk about what will be different as a result of your product or service, but also paint a picture of why that difference matters to your prospect.

After you understand these two things about what you’re selling, you’re ready to have a sales conversation you can close.

These five strategies are Authentic Selling® (my signature sales system) approved methods to close the sale with prospects on your list that will leave both you and your client feeling like a million bucks. Please note: All of the following solutions take place after you have a customer on your list or as your prospect.

1. Follow up

The first — and often overlooked — way to close a sale is by following up. Statistics show as much as 50 percent of all sales are closed in follow-up communication. Most people don’t take the time to follow up because they fear being too pushy, yet 80 percent of sales require up to five follow ups. Get over the fear and develop a way to follow up that feels authentic to you. It’s a closing technique you can’t ignore.

2. Be of service

This is one of the easiest ways to close a sale and one of the least “pushy.” Ask your prospect what questions they have while coming from a place of genuinely wanting to help them make the best choice at this time. Be honest if you can’t help them, but show them how you can. By doing this, you show the prospect you’re willing to put what’s best for them over closing a sale.

You can’t give too much away, and you’re not wasting time by being of service. With every opportunity to help, you are selling the prospect on yourself, your product, and/or your service. A potential client is never going to close until they know, like, and trust you. How can you be of service? Host free webinars, book free consult calls, or offer a valuable, free opt-in. You are closer to closing the sale every time you give something away for free that is of service.

3. Nurture relationships

Simply put: Friends buy from friends. In fact, stats show that nurtured leads make 47 percent more purchases than non-nurtured. You don’t have to make someone your best friend, but you do need to follow the golden rule and treat others the way you want to be treated.

Get to know your prospects. Call them by name. Ask them about relevant events going on in their lives or cities. With today’s technology, it’s not tough to find ways to show you care. Three ideas for nurturing a lead are: sales funnels, free webinars, and engaging on social media in an authentic way. Ask yourself, if you were a prospect, what would make you feel nurtured and blow your mind? Once you have an answer, implement it.

4. Create a raving fan with every interaction (even the “mistakes”)

In my business, this has landed almost as many clients as following up. When you screw up — and we all make mistakes — ask yourself how you can turn those who witnessed your error into raving fans.

Recently, I sent out a marketing email that wasn’t ready to be sent. It was full of typos and errors. To make matters worse, I sent it on Mother’s Day. I had two choices: ignore the mistake, or acknowledge it and create raving fans. I sent out a second email with a genuine apology and offered free coaching to anyone who had a sales issue, as a thank you for accepting the apology. The result was incredibly thankful prospects rather than annoyed subscribers, and five new customers.

5. Never, ever give up

This is going to mirror the no. 1 item on this list a lot — but it’s necessary. It sounds cliché, but never, ever give up is great advice for closing a sale, for running a successful business, and for life. At some point, your offer will be rejected. It’s going to happen. Make peace with it and realize it has nothing to do with you. Also understand that a “No,” might simply mean “Not right now.” It could mean, in the future, after some follow up, the very same prospect that told you “No,” could be saying “Yes.” Things change day-to-day, and month-to-month. Don’t give up.

As mentioned above, statistics show 80 percent of sales require five follow ups or more but only 44 percent of people follow up more than once. It’s not about pressing the same people over and over; it’s about checking in with them. One way to do this is to simply email a prospect who originally said no and let them know you’re thinking of them. Provide them with a book, blog, or resource to help them along their way. When they’re ready to purchase, you will be top of mind and they will be raving fans because you were the one person to check in over all the others.

Overcoming objections

Now that you understand the foundational steps to having a sales conversation and five ways to close a sale, let’s discuss one other very important part in closing any sale: Overcoming objections.

Anything that prevents the close of a sale can be considered an objection. It could be the prospect believing your product or service is too expensive, or it could be that they don’t feel it’s the right time to make a change. Whatever the reason, understanding what to say and how to close by overcoming objections is key to making more sales. (I believe it’s such an important part of selling, that I created “7 Ways to Yes – Simple Solutions to Overcome Objections, a free training available to you here.)

When you’re selling, you’re getting a “Yes” from a prospect and that means your business is making money and a difference. That’s the power of closing a sale.

The Art of Following Up (And How to Make it Manageable as a Solo Business Owner)

The Art of Following Up (And How to Make it Manageable as a Solo Business Owner)

The Art of Following Up (And How to Make it Manageable as a Solo Business Owner)

For those of you who don’t know, Cristina spends her time outside of OWS as a super sleuth. That is, she works in recruiting. Recently, she was chatting with a client and told him that she planned to spend the day following up with potential candidates that she had reached out to the week before. He mentioned that, back in the days of yore (okay, fine, actually just a few years ago), he and others in the industry used a “tickler file” to track their follow ups.

Pause. She had no idea what that was — and we imagine you might not either, but luckily, we Googled it for you. (You’re welcome). According to Wikipedia: “A tickler file or 43 Folders System is a collection of date-labeled file folders organized in a way that allows time-sensitive documents to be filed according to the future date on which each document needs action.”

Throughout the years here at OWS, we’ve made many-a-reference to the importance of following up as a business owner. It falls squarely under the category of “things that are second-nature to us so we forget that they’re a challenge for other business owners — until it comes up time and time again.”

Meanwhile, we have one coaching client who is probably incredibly sick of us asking her at every single coaching session if she’s taken the time to follow up on the pitches she’s sent out for her social media consulting business.

Lucky for us, we now have more automated ways to handle follow ups within our solo businesses, so we have no excuse not to make it a regular practice.

So, dear One Woman Shop (you know who you are), this is for you and every other solo business owner out there…

Consistency activities

As we discuss in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, consistency activities are daily, weekly, quarterly, or yearly actions that push your business forward and pack the most punch when done, well, consistently. (Are you starting to see where the name comes from?) Follow ups are a key consistency activity to incorporate into your business.

Why the focus on following up?

Follow ups keep you on the radar of your potential clients, customers, and collaborators by helping you stand out in their likely crazy, overrun inboxes, and demonstrate that their business is important to you.

Think about it from the opposite side: How often have you received an opportunity via email that looked neat but you just never responded? (You got busy; you accidentally archived the email; you wanted time to think about it but forgot to come back to it…) Now, flip it around and — instead of seeing the lack of a response as a brush off or, worse, a personal offense — give the person the benefit of the doubt by applying the same logic to their actions.

When to follow up

In our business, we follow up with those who have pitched guest posts, individuals who applied for membership but never actually joined, site managers who we’ve pitched posts to, and those who have commented on our blog but never joined our email list. What types of emails do you send out that you could implement a follow-up system around?

Creating a system

We use Boomerang to automate the process. (We talk more in-depth about tools for automation in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook.) If an email we’ve sent out hasn’t received a response within a week, it pops back into our inbox, alerting us that a follow up is required.

You might try using Boomerang or scheduling a chunk of time on your paper planner or Google Calendar to batch send follow ups. We use a seriously easy name for these appointments, like: “Follow up on 6/7 outreach,” (on the calendar on 6/14).

A follow-up template

One question that we get asked a lot is some variation of “Um, what the heck am I supposed to say in my follow up?” While you can use the second message to provide additional information, the main purpose of a follow up is simply to get back in touch with the recipient to prompt them into action.

Your follow up can be as simple as the ones we send to individuals who haven’t joined OWS after applying:

Hi there,

We just wanted to take a minute to follow up on your One Woman Shop application! Are there any questions we can answer for you?

Best,

Cristina & Sara

Or, it might include the following:

  • An offer to move the conversation to a phone/video call if they’d prefer
  • A deadline that you need a final decision by (diplomatically phrased, of course)
  • Additional information: A link to your FAQs page; your testimonials; or portfolio

Getting started

Have we convinced you that implementing a follow-up system can be both easy and effective as you grow your solo biz? We encourage you to look over the emails you’ve sent out over the past week or month and make a plan to send succinct follow ups if you don’t receive a response. Report back letting us know what comes of your efforts!

PS: Seriously dread sending follow ups? This is a perfect example of a low-maintenance but potentially high-payoff task that could be handed off to a VA.