This post was originally published by Chris Mislan on lessonly.com.
“Back in the day,” I had high hopes of playing college basketball, earning a degree in mechanical engineering, and expanding on my love of building and solving problems. I had a lot to learn (and still do) about myself and this crazy life I’m living.
I did play college ball, and I earned a degree… in elementary education. And I do build and solve problems, but not like I thought I would. What I’m doing today isn’t exactly what my 18-year-old self thought “success” was going to look like, and honestly, I am grateful things didn’t turn out that way.
After graduating, I taught fourth graders, coached basketball, but was still missing something. What I came to realize is that, during my time in sports, the competition was something that always drove me. The competition with myself, teammates, and against opponents helped me focus on goals and outcomes. After realizing teaching didn’t give me this, I made a leap that I love sharing with others. In this move, I wanted to find a place known for having one of the top sales training programs out there. (Spoiler alert: It’s Lessonly). I eventually became an Account Executive here, and without what’s undeniably an untraditional sales background, one question continued to stick with me: What are sales closing techniques? This post explores this question and, hopefully, answers a least some of it for you.
Tell a cohesive story
After teaching, I was terrified to think about how my skills would translate to a company outside of education. My journey to becoming an Account Executive was different than the other two reps that started with me. I found that one of the best ways my peers approached a deal cycle was by selling with stories. After seeing this over and over again, I got to work because I knew I could do this, and do it with conviction.
I got past the basic sales training and sales skills training to really focus on telling a story that resonated with my customer, and honestly, a story that resonated with me too. Leading a buyer through a deal cycle is all about working through a story with them. They are the main character(s), and you are the person in the back holding the lights just right to make them shine.
I want to clarify that I don’t mean fairy tales, and “dream with me” statements. What I do mean, though, is that you have to show your prospect how what you are pitching involves them, paints a realistic picture of their experiences, and helps them clearly understand what to expect from you from start to finish. That, along with a great product, is crucial to success.
Be clear about what happens next
It’s not enough to have a great product anymore. No matter what you sell, who you sell to, why people buy, etc., there is either someone who is already a competitor or someone who will be a competitor tomorrow. As people work with you and explore buying from you, being clear on each step in the process will be paramount.
Many times, this might be the first time they are buying your solution or the first time they are buying your solution at their company. Either way, there are challenges that can arise, so be clear and understand your own process. Prospects crave peace of mind, and in large part, that starts with you feeling confident. The companies with the best training programs dial in on this one right here. No matter if you are running virtual sales training or training in person, helping your reps understand your selling process will help your buyer have clear expectations and a positive buyer journey.
Get on their level
This may seem like a no-brainer, but dang, this can be hard to do sometimes. When you’re working with someone who is an expert at developing and conducting sales training programs, it might be okay to assume they know a thing or two. Conversely, if they are new to the industry or your solution, reduce the amount of industry language and get clarity on what prior experience they’ve had with a solution like yours.
There is plenty of sales training curriculum out there that will tell you all of the spins, flips, and verbiage around sales, but in the end, it all boils down to this: Do you clearly understand their challenge and can you get to a place where you have mutual understanding that your product is the solution? If you don’t level set first on what they do or don’t know, none of the various types of sales training methods will help.
If you read this far, you will hopefully see that “closing techniques” are more about the picture you paint from the start and the experience you deliver from first touch to closed won rather than boxes to check. Create a memorable, personalized experience, and asking “Are you ready to partner with us?” becomes a whole heck of a lot easier. Thanks for reading!
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