My brand-new book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method,is written around the most important sales principles gleaned from a large body of material and decades of personal experience. These 15 shortcuts, if applied, will give any salesperson an edge and lead to more sales and a happier career.
While the book goes into great detail and I highly recommend reading it, you don’t have to wait for it to arrive to start applying its principles — I am going to list all 15 business-building shortcuts right here! Not only that, I am going to provide an example of how you can apply each right now…action items you can do to accelerate your sales process and close deals faster.
- 1. Use networking technology to prospect for new business
Write a blog post (or hire someone to write one for you) and use Sponsored Ads to show it to key people in target companies. If you sell accounting software, you might write a post about the “Top 5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of an Audit” and target CFOs in regional companies of a certain size. Always include a call-to-action in your blog posts.
- 2. Qualify leads quickly and give sufficient quality touches
Go through your past leads and pick the top 10 most potentially lucrative accounts you wish you had landed but gave up on, especially the ones with less than 12 touches. For each one, plan out the next 5 to 10 touches you will execute. These can be phone calls, emails, sending newsletters, birthday cards…whatever you think will pique interest and move you closer to an appointment or sale. And now, DO THEM until you achieve at least 12 touches on each including your past ones. If you don’t close one or two new top-flight accounts from doing this I would be very surprised. Try it.
- 1. Use all available websites and social media to research prospects and their companies
I hope you get at least one appointment or hot lead from performing shortcut number 2 above. Actually, I am very sure you will, so let’s perform the next shortcut on those leads.
Look up your decision maker and their company using:
- Misc: blog posts, Snapchat, Data.com, Dun & Bradstreet, etc.
The goal is to find information you can use to break the ice or otherwise understand and build rapport with them. You never know what you will find that could be useful until you research, so use this tip to close deals faster.
- 4. Turn prospects into buyers by challenging them to improve their companies with new technologies
Any one of your prospects (and current customers for that matter) can be challenged to “step outside the box” and transform some aspect of their business with technology. If you can be a disrupter to the status quo and provide exceptional value, you can take accounts from even longstanding vendors.
Examine your offerings. Decide on a technological edge you can pitch to a prospect and do it with your very next touch to them. If you don’t have one, then start developing one.
- 5. Go after opportunities where you have an insider
Among your current customers, find as many as you can who will introduce you to colleagues who could use your services or at least provide their identities and allow you to use their name when contacting them. Make sure you provide a referral to your insider in turn.
- 1. If you don’t have insiders, use social media and business partners to get them
For your current list of prospects, use LinkedIn or Facebook to uncover one common connection with each of them. Even if you don’t know them well, these are your potential insiders. Contact each via a call, email, InMail, or text, and break the ice by mentioning your common connection. Tell them about your business and ask them if they would be willing to provide an introduction. Handled with tact, most will say yes.
- 2. Match/mirror personality styles with prospects to quickly build relationships
Mentally go over a few of your past sales calls which did not close, and where you felt you just couldn’t “connect” with the prospect. I challenge you to determine both your personality style, and the style of the prospects you felt most alien to. Chances are, you are diametrically opposed (you are a Directive Driver type while the prospect was a Supportive Helper). As an exercise, determine how you might handle those sales calls differently if you had another chance. What would you say or do differently, behavior-wise, to mirror those prospects better?
- 3. Use neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques to gain the buyer’s confidence
On your next sales call, pay close attention to the way the prospect speaks and their body language. Without making it obvious, mimic them in speech and the way they carry themselves. If they speak slowly, you should slow down. If they lean forward, you should also. Notice whether this helps establish rapport, and if so, capitalize by asking for the sale when the opportunity strikes (buyer’s shift). NLP can help you but you have to practice.
- 4. Build positive first impressions with social media and appearance techniques
Perform a Google search on your name, and any nicknames you go by. Do both a regular search and an image search. Examine all the results, because this is exactly what prospects will see when they look you up. If the results show your old MySpace pages with pictures of you with your drunken college pals…its time to clean that up. Delete old profiles you don’t need any more, as well as social media and blog posts which might be too controversial for your buyers. Or, set everything to “private.”
- 5. Know how to get buyers to talk about their professional, technical or business interests
One of the rules I list about building rapport to close deals faster is “Don’t start with anything personal.” This is because most people are guarded when first meeting someone, and you might come across as being intrusive. Instead, before your next meeting with a prospect, pick a common subject you know well and devise an open-ended question. Something like “I see you went to XYZ conference. How did you feel about the keynote?” If you cannot easily come up with a common subject then build rapport by mentioning your insider, such as “How did you and so-and-so start doing business?”
- 1. Use the three techniques to be the “perfect listener”
As described in my book, use these three steps on your next in-person sales call:
a) Totally focus on the buyer’s point of view. Make a concerted effort to make the conversation completely about them…their needs, their business issues, etc. LET THEM TALK!
b) Ask permission to take notes and take notes. Don’t just start taking notes…ask first…and then take them. This will separate you from most other salespeople who don’t really make an effort to listen.
c) Summarize the buyer’s needs and repeat back to get agreement. After listening to them speak, repeat the main points back to them. This solidifies the issues (which you will solve) and also lets them you really “get” them.
- 12. Use business case analysis/return on investment data (why the buyer should fund this activity)
When preparing for one of your next pitches, I want you to assume the viewpoint of your buyer and answer the following: “What’s in it for me?”
This should be one of more tangible benefits which your buyer cares about that they will get after investing in you and whatever it is you are selling. Financial benefits are the easiest to quantify: “We will save you approximately 30 percent on your freight costs in the first year.” However, you can also tout a different return, such as “You will be the first in your industry to automate this aspect of your business – you can change the game and appease your investors looking for innovation!”
Develop your statement…and use it on that prospect.
- 13. Develop ghosting discriminators (why the buyer should choose you and not your competitor)
Name your biggest competitor. Next, develop a statement which plays up your strengths while pointing out their weakness, without naming them directly. Something like “You don’t have to wait two weeks for delivery, we deliver in one week.” This is a ghosting discriminator. Use it with your next prospect!
- 14. Know how to overcome objections (feel/felt/found)
This week, when you are hit with objections, any objections at all, practice using the feel/felt/found pattern to close deals faster:
“I see that you feel our prices are too high. Some of our current customers felt that way at first also. After a while, they found that our software solved so many problems in their business, they would have gladly paid 10 times what they did.
- 15. Use the six closing principles
Okay, here is the last shortcut. There’s actually six principles which form this one, and you can read all about them in the book. Here is an action item based on principle number 5: “Once you make the offer, be silent until the buyer responds.”
On your very next closing attempt, ask for the order…and be silent. Even if it takes 5 minutes. Just sit there. Whoever speaks first loses.
Did you win?
Transform your business. Buy Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method which is published by IdeaPress and available on Amazon.