What do sales professionals want most? More sales, of course. What do sales professionals focus too much of their energy on in order to get more sales? Their close rate, close strategies, and how to get more prospects to the closing stage. There’s nothing wrong with improving your close rate or your close strategies, but in order to get your prospects to the closing stage, you’ll need to develop an agenda, and establish expectations.
Let’s start by defining the two key terms:
- Agenda- A list, plan, or outline of things to be done.
- Expectation- The belief that something will occur.
For a sales professional, an agenda might look something like this:
- Tell your prospect about your company
- Ask your prospect to tell you about their company
- Ask questions to find out if your product/service will be the right fit for them
- Get clear answers. If there are no clear answers, keep asking. Open-ended questions usually do the trick
- Present your solution
- Set up next steps
This is a basic agenda that any sales person can use to outline the sales process, prior to speaking with the prospect. Be assured that if your close rate is going down, it’s because you’re missing one of these 6 steps, and it’s usually #4. Moreover, if you’re missing #4, it’s probably because you’re not executing #3 effectively. If you don’t have a clear grasp of the problem that your prospect is dealing with, you never know what hidden objection or stall might block you from making the sale in the closing stage. Ask multiple questions from different angles so you can fully understand what your prospect’s wants and needs are. The odds are that if you don’t uncover an objection, it’ll come back to bite you later. That’s also why it is a very good idea to set up some expectations with your prospect for how the sales process will go.
Before initiating the sales pitch, outline it for your prospect and ask two very important questions:
- How does this process sound to you?
- What would you like to add to this process?
This allows your prospect to engage with you, and the process that you’ll take them through. It also creates expectations in both you, and your prospect throughout the process. Maintaining an active and open environment during the meeting is incredibly valuable, and something that is difficult, but worth, mastering. Remember to stick to your agenda while you create expectations.
If you can master the ability to set up a solid agenda, and create actionable expectations, you will see a positive difference in your close rate. Mastering sales skills, however, takes more than simply reading blog posts, watching YouTube videos, and attending the occasional training session or webinar. For a complete course on how to master agendas and expectations take a look at our eLearning module. It’ll guide you through what you need to know in order plan effectively and ultimately improve your close rate.