Everyone has a problem, and most problems have a solution. Closing a sale is the unique intersection between the two.
In order to get from problem to solution, there has to be a transition in the sales cycle from building rapport to closing the sale. Below, you’ll find helpful tips for making that transition and increasing your closing rate.
Social selling: Leverage social media to find communities that need your products and services
Build rapport: Optimize time spent building rapport
Ask questions: Help you and the potential customer understand their pain points
Listen attentively: Gain information you can use to overcome objections and close the sale
Don’t be pushy: Let the potential customer sell themselves
Don’t fear no’s: A no is just a redirection
Closing a sale begins with building good rapport
The best salespeople know that building rapport is necessary for consistently closing sales.
But the process of building rapport is changing due to the prevalence of social media. Social media provides an opportunity to access a community of people with shared ideas and ways of life. Since a major component of building rapport is establishing commonalities, social media points you to the people who you can relate to and may benefit from what you offer.
Social selling uses social media as a starting point for communicating with a potential customer. The key is knowing what questions to ask and how long you should spend establishing rapport.
How long to spend building rapport
There are wrong ways to build rapport. One is spending so much time building rapport that it becomes difficult or seems disingenuous to return to a professional relationship.
For certain industries, spending too much time building rapport actually hurts sales. However, in industries like B2B with a longer sales cycle, the longer rapport-building correlated with more sales.
The research also suggests that if you are working in an industry with a shorter sales cycle, spending between 1% and 3% of your time building rapport is ideal. Since social media allows you to get to know someone (or at least some information about them) this can jumpstart rapport-building. You spend less time discovering things that are already available on someone’s accounts. Instead, you can use this information to optimize the time spent making a connection.
The main point of rapport-building is asking the right questions and listening intently to the answers. Closing your sale hinges on how well you develop this connection with potential customers.
After the initial commonalities are addressed and rapport is built, asking the right follow-up questions can be the difference between a sale and a missed opportunity. The goal is understanding the pain point for the other person.
Ultimately, you want the person to sell themselves on your product or service. You do this by asking specific questions about the issue:
Why is [insert topic] important to you?
How have you addressed this in the past?
Did it work?
What would fixing [insert pain point] mean to you?
What happens if you don’t address this issue?
What if this issue continues?
Digging a little deeper helps to transition the communication from personal topics to the problem at hand. From there, you can elaborate on the solution you offer.
You can guide the conversation in a way that feels natural and organic. More importantly, listen attentively to the answers. Ask clarifying questions when appropriate. How the person responds to these questions will give you insight on how to close the sale.
Preparing to close a sale
Another purpose for building rapport with a potential customer is to determine how your product or service fits their needs.
Throughout this process, it’s important to not be pushy with your potential customer. Perhaps they’re not ready to make a decision now—even after you’ve overcome their objections. Maybe they will be ready at some point in the future. Allowing them to back out without using pressure tactics can salvage the relationship for potential future business.
Your goal is to present an opportunity. The potential customer ultimately makes the decision on whether or not your solution is one they want. You should empower them to make that choice. Throughout rapport building, it should be apparent that your first goal is to help.
Now that you’re beginning to close, keep the same posture of wanting to make a sale only if your offer is something they can actually benefit from. They should trust that you are not just trying to make a sale, but to solve a problem for them.
If it seems like they have decided your offer benefits them, reviewing pertinent information will help the closing process run more smoothly:
Do you need to consult with anyone about this decision?
Are you willing to answer more questions about continuing with this offer?
Will you tell me if this offer does not fit your needs?
The final close
The mistake many salespeople make is not asking for the sale. They assume that the potential customer will initiate this process, or they are afraid of hearing the word “no”.
Remember, “no” is not a bad word. It can lead to redirection or an opportunity to provide clarity. After your pitch, if they’re still reluctant to accept your offer, don’t take it personally. It is simply a mismatch of a problem and a solution. There are other people with problems you can help solve.
When it’s clear your potential customer is interested in buying your product or service, you can try the assumptive close.
The assumptive close means that you assume “yes” from the customer and only ask questions to confirm the details of the sale. Here is a quick video on how to implement the assumptive close when closing a sale.
Looking to close more sales and earn more income?
In order to smoothly transition from building rapport to closing a sale, make sure you lay the foundation of building rapport, ask transitional questions, understand their problem and how your solution solves it, and overcome potential objections early on.
If you’re ready to jump into sales and try out these new tactics, Vector has opportunities for you to use your social savvy to earn extra income.