Hans Hansson | July 7, 2016
Sales trainers always preach about the "close" in the sales process. Obviously, without the close a salesperson does not get paid. And 80 percent of sales are lost because a salesperson fails to close. However, before you get the opportunity to close, you must have an opening. And the opening can often times be a lot more difficult than the close.
Securing new business ultimately involves contacting new prospects who don't always know you and ask them to do business with you by buying your product or your service. A close involves knowing the exact time to ask a client you now have had time to get to know and ask them to buy. There is a very big difference between the two.
To be successful in sales, it's required to be able to secure new business, sell the benefits of your product or services, and guide your client to purchasing and ultimately close a deal. However, opening the doors to new sales opportunities can be the most difficult part of the selling process. Acquiring new business may require cold calling hundreds of prospects either by phone, personal canvassing, or an email campaign in order to secure just one prospect.
The relationship between the salesperson and the prospect is established in the opening, which is based on a few key tactics, including tone and sales techniques. The relationship is what's going to carry you through the sales process and ultimately the close. It's important to establish trust and build rapport with your potential client by showing a transparent and authentic nature. Define the value of your products or services without gimmicks and vague wording to capture interest. Listening to your prospect's needs and wants are equally as crucial in the opening. Avoid wasting their time with irrelevant data not related to the industry or the company's offerings.
Opening new business is also hard because it goes against everything a salesperson would rather do, which is service the client and close. Opening new business involves hearing a lot of "no's" before you might hear a maybe or one yes. It goes against a good salesperson's natural instinct of being positive and forward-thinking. It's equal to a solider being stuck in the trenches. Opening new business is like wondering when the next sales opportunity will occur.
Frankly, this is also why salespeople tend to be "cheap" when it comes to investing in themselves and their career. No matter how successful a salesperson is, they tend to overlook tools and services that can help them succeed further because of cost.
Years ago, I was teaching a sales class on this new technology and introduced a group of very successful salespeople to the first "Palm Pilot" organizer. I explained how this tool would revolutionize the way they do business and how they would be able to manage more business at once, mainly due to its mobile capability. Everyone was excited until I told them it would cost them $500.00. The room then went silent.
But why would salespeople be so reluctant to spend money and invest in making themselves more efficient and successful? Although they might be successful and have no fear in looking and securing new business, they also know in their gut that they don't actually know when that new business will be secured. This is why the open can be the most difficult in the three-step sales process.
In order to be successful in opening new business, you have to work on new business daily, no matter how much business you are already currently working on. Today, with social media, website, email blasts, etc., every salesperson needs to develop a 24-hour marketing campaign that secures potential business for you throughout the day. You also need to be committed to targeting specific business opportunities so that your approach to opening new business includes both active and reactive marketing approaches at all times.
Yes, the "close" ultimately means a payday but without the "open" you don't have the opportunity to close.
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