How do I become great at sales? How do I close this deal? What can I say that will make this prospect buy? What can we offer that will push the deal over the line? These are all questions I hear from more junior salespeople who are motivated to succeed not only in their current job but sales as a career. All of these questions focus on what we all see from sales teams, producing deals, and bringing on new clients. I appreciate the motivation; however, I find answering these questions is much easier if we focus on a different area first, the discovery.
Below is Plooto’s own Sales Operations Manager's secret tips gained from their experience.
I'm sure that most people are familiar with the phrase "they could sell ice to an Inuit person." Any GOOD salesperson will tell you this is a horrible analogy. Why? Because they don't need ice. There is no value in selling more ice. So if a salesperson comes up to me says, how do I close this deal? My first response is always "why do they need our product" and no, "because they want our product" is not the right answer.
To really close a deal, there are three important things to know.
- What problem does our solution solve for this prospect?
- What does their world look like if this problem goes unresolved?
- What will their next steps be if our solution works?
Diagnose the Problem
Salespeople tend to make the mistake that their prospects have thought about these questions on their own already, and that's why they're now talking to the salesperson.
Usually, this is not the case. In most cases, the prospect has felt a symptom of the problem and is now looking for ways to ease that symptom's pains. From here, the salesperson's job is to diagnose the symptom and start digging deeper into what the core problem is.
Once the true problem has been uncovered, then it's important to visualize the future with the prospect and what that entails. If this problem goes unresolved, what happens in the prospect's world tomorrow, next month, next quarter, and next year. This will give exactly the timeline the prospect is considering as a nice side piece of information. Finally, start to paint the picture of the prospect's future if your solution solves their problem.
Problem Identified, What's Next?
Now that the problem is solved... what are they able to do next? How is their life easier? I guarantee you that if you uncover all of this information, you won't need to ask, "How do I close this deal?" You'll know everything you need to say already.
Let's dive into a real-world example, with a sales trope that we're all familiar with, the car salesman. Obviously, this would be a longer process, but let's look at the short version of a sale for brevity's sake.
First, let's look at the quick example that everyone has either experienced or at least familiar with, from the salesperson's perspective.
Prospect: Good morning! I am looking to buy a truck?
Salesperson: Amazing, what kind of truck were you looking for?
Prospect: I was thinking of a pick-up truck.
Salesperson: Really? Pick-up trucks are my go-to, as well. Come check out this model!
Salesperson: This is our best pick up truck. It's an all-wheel-drive, and it can carry a two-tonne load in the back and is great on gas mileage.
Prospect: Ok, I like that.
Salesperson: This specific model also has tinted windows, and it's your lucky day because if you buy today, you can get zero-percent financing today.
Prospect: Ok that's great, I'm going to check out some other trucks, and I'll let you know which one I like
From here, the salesperson would likely go to their manager and say, "How could I have closed that person? They seemed to really like the truck!" To which the first reply from the manager would be, "Why did they want a truck?"
Let's look at the same example, but this time, instead of selling the truck's features, the salesperson focuses on finding out why the prospect was looking for a truck in the first place.
Prospect: Good morning! I'm looking to buy a truck?
Salesperson: Amazing, what do you like about trucks?
Prospect: Well, I have a sedan right now, and I like to go camping but find it hard to fit all my gear in that tiny car.
Salesperson: Really, I love camping, what kind of gear are you usually bringing?
Prospect: I like to go on canoe trips, so I need the canoe, a food barrel, a tent, stove, and any of my friend's gear as well.
Salesperson: Ok, I think I have a model in mind. Real quick, is there a trip you'd like to do now that you can't do because of the sedan?
Prospect: Uhm, I can't canoe as much as I'd like, but I'd like to canoe down the Ottawa river actually now that you mention it.
Salesperson: So is it safe to say that any future canoe trips will be difficult if you don't get a truck?
Prospect: Unfortunately, yes...
Salesperson: Ok, I have a model in mind, and if you like it, we'll get you on that Ottawa river in no time
In this scenario, the salesperson uncovered:
- Why the prospect was looking for a truck.
- Validated what the future looks like if the prospect does not get a truck.
- Painted a picture of what the future will look like if the prospect does get a truck.
Again, this is a very short example, but I think you understand the meaning behind it. Here at Plooto, we're always obsessed with finding out the why's to everything. I promise that if you adopt this way of thinking into your sales process, you will see success as well.
Headquartered in Toronto, Plooto is an all-in-one platform that allows all accountants, bookkeepers, SMB owners, and finance teams in North America to save time by providing greater financial control and simplicity, unifying payment, receivable, approvals, reconciliation (QuickBooks & Xero), and reporting. Additionally, Plooto allows international transactions. Plooto servers’ wide range of clients from different industries: