As you can imagine, there is no single magic bullet to close deals faster, and speed up a company’s growth. Instead, the quest to close deals faster can be accomplished through improvements in several important functions of a business which all dovetail together to boost efficiency in sales and marketing efforts.
Here are four business growth processes which are key to close deals faster and accelerate revenue and business expansion, with tips on improving each one.
Branding is an important promotional process. Even before the first advertisement is placed or sales call made, a company must decide on the image it wants to present in the marketplace – even if it will be refined later. Branding involves raising market awareness such that when an unqualified lead becomes qualified, they contact you for the sale. It helps make a business and its offerings well-thought of and top of mind, helping to close deals faster.
Some of the elements required for successful branding process follow.
Mission: To develop a brand, it helps to figure out what your mission is. What exactly is the point of your business’ existence? What are you trying to achieve or solve with your product or service, aside from making money for yourself?
Identity: Develop a clear company image which aligns with your mission. This includes logo, slogans, the appearance of your quarters, your employees, and your salespeople. It even extends to the dominant colors and the tone of the language you use. Accountants and lawyers tend to use subdued colors and language, while a tech startup might be bold, brash, and informal.
Consistent message: Communicate what your business does clearly across all advertising assets. These should agree, or else confusion will result as to what your company actually sells and its values. Again, this should align with the company’s mission.
The purpose of marketing is to produce qualified leads which can be sold to. While branding lets the market know who you are and what you are about, marketing generates interest in doing business with you.
Significant investment in strong marketing efforts help to close deals faster. General forms include:
Outbound marketing: Television, radio, and print ads; billboards; bus and subway posters.
Content marketing: Blogs; E-books; Infographics; guest posts.
Internet ads: Banner and display ads; mobile ads; retargeting.
Video marketing: Could be grouped into content marketing, but it deserves separate emphasis. YouTube; Facebook video; Periscope; Vimeo; and others.
Social media marketing: LinkedIn; Twitter; Facebook; Instagram; and even Snapchat – each should have its own strategy developed for it.
Personal: Networking events; personal sales calls; telemarketing; trade shows; seminars.
A few tips on what the messages should be: as covered in Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Method, (which was just named Winner in the “Business Sales” category of the 2018 International Book Awards) top marketing professionals use marketing messages that answer these buyer’s main concerns:
- Killer Arguments (“We can really do it” or “We’ve done it before”)
- Return on Investment Analysis (“Here is why you should do this” or “Why fund this activity at all?”)
- Key Discriminators (“Here is why you should choose us”)
- Ghosting Discriminators (“Here is why you should choose us over the competition”)
- Testimonials (“Who says so?”)
If your marketing messages fall into these categories and align with your branding, the impact is considerable.
The next process which dovetails right into the previous two is making sales. Of all, this is the most important. And it rarely happens without the other processes in place. To close deals faster, follow these selling practices:
- Focus on a few top prospects.
While you can cast a wide net in marketing efforts to produce as many leads as possible, focus your efforts on those leads which seem the most viable. Clues include lots of engagement, look-alikes to current customers, demonstrable need, budget, etc.
- Use coaches (insiders) to fully understand customer requirements.
Insiders help close deals faster by greasing the wheels. They are your internal cheerleaders and provide insights about prospects you won’t find elsewhere.
- Thoroughly research prospects and their organizations prior to first contact.
LinkedIn, public filings and annual reports, personal social profiles, trade news, and other online tools aid research.
- Ask questions and listen much more than you talk.
Practice how to get buyers to talk about themselves and their business issues, rather than deliver endless spiels about your capabilities. If you let them, buyers will tell you how to get their business.
- Act as a business consultant and solution provider.
Your primary purpose as a salesperson is to help prospects solve problems and earn compensation while doing so. Sometimes they don’t know they have problems, so you have to enlighten them. By adopting the viewpoint that you are part of their organization, you can think like a team member and recommend better solutions.
- Provide appropriate marketing messages to prospects
Five key messages are covered in the “Marketing” section above.
- Recognize when buyers are ready to buy (Buyer’s Shift)
You cannot close until the buyer is ready to buy. Signs include:
- Buyer statements indicating attachment or that they “own it already”
- Repeating questions or clarifying points you made
- Risk-mitigation questions – they want to be sure before pulling the trigger
- Asking for outside recommendations
- Knocking the competition
- Talks about working together or future plans which involve you
- Personal questions
- Positive body language (getting closer, smiling, nodding, eyes wider, relaxed posture)
- Know how to close the sale
Know how to ask for the order and overcome objections. This requires memorizing closes and objection handlers through role play, self-coaching, and outside coaching. There is no single way to close deals faster than to know your closing techniques cold so you deliver them confidently and without fumbling in any way.
Once a buyer closes, the battle is only half-won. Now you have to keep them as a customer. The aim of every business should be to build long-term relationships with prospects and customers by providing superb customer-care and account-management services, since deriving revenue from these accounts is easier and cheaper than constantly looking for new buyers.
This requires that you execute flawlessly and handle issues immediately. Customers do not care about your problems, nor do they always notice when you put in extra effort. But they sure as heck notice when you mess up. So, don’t mess up in the first place, and swiftly remedy any errors you do commit.
Another part of account management is up- and cross-selling. Not only does this bring in more money, but it makes the customer feel you are interested in them and prevents the competition from moving in. Even if the subsequent sales are sporadic, up- and cross-selling provides excuses to give more touches to your clients and keep the rapport going.
Finally, existing accounts are the best sources for referrals. An entire blog post series could be written about this subject, but the gist is to ask for referrals frequently whenever you transact and whenever you handle a service issue in a satisfactory manner. Net promoter surveys are an excellent method to ask for referrals, you are literally asking whether they would recommend you. Might as well follow up with, “To whom?”
Following the above could literally be a blueprint for designing a revenue machine for a startup, or revitalizing a growing concern which needs to close deals faster to remain competitive. For more tips, please drop me a note any time or leave a comment below.