If you have followed all the lessons in this course, you have already seen it:
- What are the differences between selling to large companies and to SMEs?
- How the sales process works for large companies
- How to get leads with ABM and how to get them with cold emails.
- How to qualify all the leads you get with BANT.
- How to target the consultative selling process.
By following all these steps, you should end up with a sales funnel full of hot opportunities.
But they are not yet sales.
Until they are signed, these deals are not sales. And the way to close a sale with a large company and with an SME is nothing like the other.
This part of the process, the closing, is responsible for the fact that, according to one study, 65% of sellers are perceived by buyers in large companies as average or bad. The main reason for this opinion is that buyers perceive the seller’s intention to close the sale and feel pressured.
Believe me, when you are trying to close a deal that takes 6 to 18 months and can bring in several thousand euros to your company, you don’t want to put pressure on your customers.
As Alfredo Nicolás, our Sales Director for Spain, says: “Closing a sale to large companies is nothing like closing a sale to small companies. You don’t want to put pressure on them or use canned closing techniques because they know them and it may upset them.
The key to the whole sales process and closing is to build trust and try to really help the customer. A lot of times, just following through and continuing to negotiate will close on its own.”
In fact, only 18% of salespeople are seen as trusted advisors to be respected.
And it is these 18% who close sales
How to close sales with large companies
When it comes to large companies, buyers are wary of salespeople pressuring them and trying to force them to close a deal.
However, after going down this road, we have many hot but untapped sales opportunities.
How can we encourage a deal to close and still look like trusted advisors to the customer? Through 2 sales closing techniques:
- Avoiding hard closes and focusing on medium and soft closes.
- Reverse the critical event engineering.
Hard, medium and soft sales
Imagine you are in the car on your way to the beach as a co-driver and your driver presses the accelerator too hard.
If you want him to slow down, you can do so with a hard comment, a medium comment and a soft comment.
The hard comment:
- Slow down, you’re driving like a maniac!
The media commentary:
- On this road they give a lot of fines, how fast are you going?
The soft commentary :
- The other day I read that on this stretch of road a car broke down and they had a terrible accident.
Can you see the difference? Whereas in the first case it is a direct request where there are only two options, yes or no, in the second, the request was only suggested and in the last, the driver is led to believe that the slowdown was his idea.
How does this apply to sales?
Traditional sales closing techniques are almost all hard closes.
They are very useful if you are selling to SMEs, but they are not useful for large companies.
For large companies, you need to focus on medium and soft closes.
2 examples of medium sales closures
- We can offer you this price until 31 December, from the 1st of next year the new prices come into force.
- I will talk to my boss about the conditions you are proposing. If he accepts them, can we sign the contract before the end of the month?
In both examples, the salesperson’s intention is clearly stated, closing the purchase, but still leaving the options to the customer and putting themselves in the customer’s perspective :
- In the first case, by telling him how to get the best price.
- In the second case, by negotiating his demands for him.
2 examples of soft sales closures
- Then, should I send you the final contract for review by the legal department?
- The implementation team needs 3 months to guarantee the commissioning.
- If you need the product up and running by January 1, we need to get it online by October 1.
Here, the signing of the contract is not even mentioned, but it is suggested that it is time for the final step.
The last soft sale closing is my favourite, as it introduces the other technique you have already heard about in this course:
Reversing critical event engineering
The whole sales process we develop in this course tries to put the customer at the centre of everything.
And this can also be done with closing sales to large companies.
The key is to find a critical event for the customer where they will need your solution.
Imagine selling a small fleet of vans to a logistics centre.
During the sales process, they told you they needed them because they had a new contract with a large customer and needed to increase their staff and resources.
If you know that they start working with this customer on 1 April, you already have a critical event: The customer must have the fleet ready by then, or not.
At this point, all you have to do is reverse engineer:
- How long does it take to get the vans screen printed and ready?
- How long does it take to manufacture them?
- How long does it take to deliver them to the factory?
By adding up these times, you could tell the customer
- In order to have the fleet ready for delivery to your warehouse on 1 April, we need 15 days for screen printing, 70 days for manufacturing and 5 days for the production order to be entered into the factory
- To achieve this, we need to sign the production order by February 1st.
If you are selling to large companies, you will most likely have minimum implementation periods to guarantee your service.
So you just need to find a potential customer’s critical event and work your way up to the deadline that allows them to get there.
What to do at this stage?
Now it’s time to wait.
As Alfredo said at the beginning, a key element of closing is simply follow-up and negotiation.
Once you have presented a conclusion to a client, continue to advise and negotiate with them, but don’t jump into new conclusions and don’t be too demanding with this one.
As a sales and marketing person you have done your part, from lead acquisition to closing, now you have to wait for the fruits of a job well done.
And that’s what we’ll talk about in the next lesson: making sure that sales and marketing are aligned throughout the process.
If you don’t want to miss it, leave your email here and I’ll write to you as soon as it’s published:
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