Regardless of your line of business, your success likely depends upon making sales. But what do you do when you're stuck in a rut? Can thinking outside the box help you go above and beyond to close more deals?
These six entrepreneurs explain the unique strategies they've used to close sales -- and how you can apply them to your own business.
Sometimes the key to landing a sale is not trying to land every customer who walks in the door. Let a client know your time is scarce and valuable and they'll be more likely to make a quick decision.
"One helpful tool in securing a close is to express concern about your availability to take on their business," suggests Kim Kaupe, co-founder of custom publication company ZinePak. "We can only handle so many projects at a time -- then we have to turn away customers until space opens up in our schedule. Putting a time frame on commitment will help you get an answer."
Remember, your customers don't have to choose you for their business. Be grateful when they do, and remember to express this gratitude.
Peter Daisyme, special advisor to online invoicing specialist Due, says: "Just saying 'thank you' has helped me close many deals. I had a customer tell me they were tired of dealing with companies that made them feel like they should be grateful to the company rather than the company appreciating them."
Talk past the sale.
Landing a sale can take vision. Let the customer see that you understand what they need and where they're headed by setting your sights beyond the current sale.
"If your client is not ready to move, they will tell you. If they are ready, it means you have removed the burden of making a decision. Most people don't want to make decisions in case they make the wrong one. If there is a natural progression to a conversation, people are typically amenable as long as you are on the same page," says Ali Mirza, president of sales training and coaching firm Rose Garden Consulting.
Get customers to use their senses.
Customers like to know exactly what they're getting. Make this happen by letting them experience your product in the most visceral way possible. If you are selling physical products, put them in front of the customer and invite them to explore with their senses.
"In the garage door industry, parts frequently go bad," notes Tommy Mello, owner of A1 Garage Door Repair. "I teach my technicians to get the customer involved with all their senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste. I know I can't get all these things, but we can hand the customer the bad part and the good part. We let them hear and see the difference. Then the customer makes up his own mind."
Pull a little more value from your back pocket.
Sales are usually negotiations of some sort, and a win-win situation is generally considered the optimal outcome of a negotiation. Nicole Munoz, founder of SEO and marketing company Start Ranking Now, recommends making your customers feel like they're getting the better end of the bargain.
"Structure your initial offering so that they believe you want to create a win-win scenario. Then, towards the close, give an additional offer that seems like you're losing a bit, and that they'd be almost foolish not to take the deal," she says. "I've given discounts and additional assets to clients at the end of the negotiation to close big deals."
Stop halfway through the presentation.
Stopping in the middle of your presentation can be a good way to get a potential client's attention and help them feel like you're really putting the focus back on their needs.
"Halfway through a sales presentation or meeting, I stop and say 'You know what guys, what's on your mind?' The abrupt shift accomplishes quite a lot. The customer's guard comes down, they answer honestly, and usually everyone laughs. For us, it's the first step to transparency and trust-building," notes Krish Chopra, co-founder of clinical agency United Medical Rotations.