It’s that time of year again. As 2013 approaches, salespeople everywhere are trying to close as much as possible to finish the year strong. For that matter, it’s not just salespeople. Anyone who has something to sell – whether it’s a product or service, an internal idea or project, a budget increase for 2013, and so forth – we all have to sell to achieve our objectives. Hand in hand with this is the need to understand the reasons you may not “close” the sale. There usually are various possibilities why things don’t close, but a key one that is often overlooked is the answer to the question “Are you on the buyer’s agenda?” In other words, is what you are offering a fit for what the buyer is trying to achieve? Here are five things to think about before you go and try and close that deal.
- Do you know what is motivating the buyer? Are you presenting a timely and reasonable offering or are you overshooting the situation with something that the buyer will look at and think “This is not even close to what I need to make my life easier”?
- Are you relevant to the business needs? I have spoken about the need to be relevant to the client’s business! Simply put, are you presenting a solution or a service that will accelerate the business as a whole? Are you helpful or will you be a hindrance or problem down the road? Are you offering something that demonstrates that you understand the client’s needs? If so, you have a right to be heard and close the deal.
- Do you suffer from a dreaded sales disease: Sales myopia? Who says that your submission is valuable and validated by the client? Is the proposed solution a result of excellent discovery and consistent validation by the client? Or is it just something that you feel is right or think you know best, and therefore nearsighted in scope? Sales myopia is usually a fatal disease to all good sales situations, and it is hard to treat because it’s often a symptom of sales hubris.
- Are you lacking sales hubris? Okay, since I raised this one, let’s address it. I have seen way too many salespeople get caught because they think they know best, regardless of the client’s wants or needs! In other words, it very obvious to the buyer that his or her agenda is different from the salesperson’s. That bad situation is like a fungus: It’s hard to stop. Want to close more or get what you need to achieve goals? Listen more, talk less, and actually give clients what they want.
- Give up too easily? If you lost the deal (or the project or the budget request), did you ask why? Chances are that you are not part of the buyer’s agenda and as such are seen as a mismatch or a poor fit.
Being a part of the buyer’s agenda is a necessary element of closing a sale. You must be seen as a part of the jigsaw puzzle that clients want to complete so they can achieve their goals. Make sure that you are seen as a “must have” component, so you will be given priority and have a shot at closing that deal!