With so many customers and prospects in the transportation and logistics industry taking longer to make decisions these days, the angst around closing grows ever sharper. The question you ought to be ...
With so many customers and prospects in the transportation and logistics industry taking longer to make decisions these days, the angst around closing grows ever sharper. The question you ought to be asking yourself is not how can you close more effectively, but rather, why are you doing all the closing in the first place?
Top transportation sales professionals will tell you that they rarely close; their customers close them.
You don’t have to concern yourself with closing when you create the environment to close. When you create an environment that is conducive to making a purchase, people are simply more likely to buy from you. In other words, the strategy is to create the environment where people want to do business with you.
Control clients’ desire to listen and take action. At the most basic level, you keep people listening through the power of your words and the passion with which they are spoken. Words have meaning and they have power. The words you speak create images in the minds of your audience, and it will be moved by those images. So when you speak always make sure that your meaning is clear. Crystal clear.
Clarity is the foundation of persuasion.
If people do not understand and/or relate to something you said they will not act. And, most often, they will not tell you that they don’t understand or relate to what you said. When this happens you silently disconnect from your audience and you never know why the deal died. Can you relate? Complicated language or technical jargon should be avoided at all costs, unless the person you are addressing uses the very same language and expressions.
The trust factor is a big reason why people will want to do business with you. They trust that you know what you’re talking about. They trust you have their best interest at heart, because after all, people act in their interest not yours. They trust you when you show respect for them and their concerns, which is why it’s best to always respect people as individuals with unique circumstances. Respect for someone’s time goes a long way too. Always be prepared. Rehearse your presentations. Know everything about your offerings and how to explain them in a concise, meaningful way that addresses the issues and mindset of your audience.
Preparation also means doing your homework. Anticipate what people will ask and prepare effective answers. As simple as it sounds, having effective answers to questions is in fact one of the easiest ways to build trust quickly. Think about the last time someone did not have an answer to a question. Were you likely to make a buying decision? When someone last gave you a so-so answer to a question, did it not take longer for you to take action? Think back to the last time someone gave you a passionate, knockout answer to a question. Did you not make a decision faster, and likely made a purchase? Effective answers are dealmakers. When you think about it, almost three-quarters of the questions you get asked are always the same, so perfect them over time.
By the way, one of your biggest concerns as a sales professional should be not the questions you are asked, but the ones you don’t get asked. Often people have questions in their minds but are not comfortable asking them, and each minute that a question is unanswered puts you at risk of disconnecting from your audience. Frustration builds and people don’t take in everything you are saying because they are stuck on an unanswered question that they have not even asked. So if you know what questions are likely to be asked and you don’t hear them expressed, put the questions on the table proactively and deal with them. The same goes for objections.
Since your customers are counting on you, there is no time like the present to get prepared for your next sales call. Measure everything you do by the impact you make on the trust factor; move the trust factor up and you shorten your sales cycle; move the trust factor down, the sales cycle gets longer or worse, places the deal or your relationship at risk.
Mark Borkowski is president of Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation. Mercantile is a mid market mergers & acquisitions brokerage firm. Mark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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