Attempting to Close an Opportunity Early Should Be the Exception, Not the Rule
Sales Tips: Closing Early Should Be the Exception, Not the Rule
By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling®
Having carried a bag and managed sales organizations before, we understand that there will be times when it may be necessary to attempt to close an opportunity before it’s really ready. The manager needs the sale in order to ‘keep the lights on’ or worse yet, the salesperson needs the close to remain employed. In this case, the sales manager needs to discuss the situation with the salesperson and explain to him/her why it is necessary to attempt to ‘accelerate’ the sales process.
When management pressures salespeople to close before an opportunity is ready, such as at the end of a quarter, often times future gains are being traded away for smaller near-term results. Good opportunities can become derailed.
Before asking the buyer to buy, sellers should ask themselves the following questions:
Does the individual I’ve been selling to have the ability to buy?
Have I documented the buyer’s goal(s)?
Have I diagnosed and documented the buyer’s current situation?
Have I documented how the buyer’s goals can be achieved using my offering?
Have I provided the buyer with proof that my offering can provide them with what we have mutually determined they need to achieve their goal?
Have I provided them with pricing?
Have I documented the value to the buyer and the buyer’s organization?
Have I documented what will happen between signing my agreement and having our offering fully available for their use?
What other selling/evaluation steps need to be completed?
If the salesperson has been ‘selling according to process,’ he/she should be able to confidently answer all these questions and share the results with his/her sales manager. Being able to answer ‘yes’ to these questions, or at least most of them, should help the salesperson become more comfortable with the idea of attempting to close sales earlier than plan. If too many “no’s” or major evaluation steps are left to be completed, then the salesperson and manager may need to rethink their strategy.