Close more sales by removing barriers
Getting and Keeping Customers
If your marketing is working well, your business should pull in a healthy number of prospects. If your selling function is working well, your business should pull in healthy revenue.
Where marketing creates an opportunity, selling converts that opportunity into revenue. They are two separate functions within your business that must harmonize effectively in order to usher prospects along the buying process to become customers.
The acquisition cost of new customer can range from a few cents to a few thousand dollars, depending on the type of business. It’s therefore expensive (and frustrating) to lose a prospect at the close because you’ve invested a lot of time, money and resources to get them to that advanced stage.
Prospects walk away at the closing stage for a variety of reasons. See if any of these issues apply to your business.
Customer presented with too much risk.
You’ve got the customer ready to buy. In retail, it’s the moment the customer approaches the sales counter with wallet in hand. Online, it’s when the user hovers above the ‘checkout’ button. B2B sellers present a contract for the prospect to sign.
At that crucial moment you don’t want to give the customer any reason to hesitate, yet many business owners do just that:
• Retailers place signs near the cash register that scream, ‘No Refunds’ or ‘Return for Store Credit Only.’ That creates risk for a buyer who may already doubt their purchase. Instead, make your product return and exchange policies ridiculously customer friendly.
• Online sellers present users with multiple pages of mind-numbing data-capture questions to “activate your account” or “complete your purchase.” Ask me what you really need to know to process my order: Name, email, credit card information.
• Complicated and detailed legal fine-print presented in a services contract designed to protect the seller, not the buyer. Be clear about expectations but keep the agreement simple – and fair.
Insufficient payment options.
Before I enter any taxicab I’ll ask the driver if he accepts credit cards. If he does not take my business credit card, I’ll close the door and hail another cab.
Convenience is an important sales condition. Make it easy to take a customer’s money! Set up your business to accept popular forms of payment including credit card, debit card, cash, gift card and – for B2B transactions – credit card, cheque and direct deposit.
Sales staff knowledge and attitude.
The marketing department gets really upset when they send prospects to an unprepared sales department. It’s the responsibility of your front-line team to successfully convert prospects into customers.
• Invest in sales training. You’ll likely enjoy a bigger close ratio by investing in sales training for your employees. Teach them how to listen to prospects, ask probing questions, overcome objections and ask for the order.
• Hire the best, not the most affordable. The best value employees are the ones with a positive attitude, willingness to learn and pleasant demeanor. Use a hiring committee to screen for ideal recruits.
• Product knowledge. Customers will walk away from a sales representative who doesn’t know much about what he or she is selling. Help your team to learn everything they can about your products, services, policies and operations so they can help customers to buy from you.
Try to experience your business as a customer. Walk through the entire process as a prospect…you just might discover a few turn-offs during that journey. Apply the necessary fixes and you’ll be rewarded with increased sales and happier customers.
Use our excellent Sales & Marketing Tool to develop your strategies and tactics for growth.
What has your business done to make it easier for customers to get what they want? Please share your thoughts in the comments section, below.
By Roger Pierce