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01/17/2012

10 Ways to Accelerate Closing Your Deals

Are any of the opportunities in your pipeline stale? Do you have deals that you thought would close months ago, yet somehow they remain in your pipeline? Most sales professionals suffer from challenges related to opportunities that never seem to close, or prospects that just don�t seem to take that final step. This challenge causes salespeople and managers to be terminated. It�s so common that many a company has failed because the supposedly strong pipeline never materialized into revenue.

Good news ... the following will help you discover ten ways to accelerate a deal to close.

10) Aggressive sales management. It�s not ideal by any means (and that�s why it ranks at the bottom of the list) but many a sales manager will proclaim that deals would never have closed if it weren�t for micro-management. On a more upbeat note, sales contests and other sales rep incentives fall under this category, too.

9) Customer incentives. This too is a bit of a last resort because compressing the sales cycle by way of a fire sale typically results in reduced profitability, not to mention the accompanying sales rep frustration and customer anguish.

8) Gain a bona fide customer commitment to the timeline. Granted, the road to frustration is paved with good intentions and commitments that are not always fulfilled. But galvanizing the key decision maker(s) to a timeline really does work wonders.

7) Drive consensus of the management team. Agreement does not always equate to action but having every stakeholder nodding �yes� is an important element if your solution involves a broader decision-making-unit. Solution selling is complex; this stuff�s chess, not checkers. Not every decision maker has to agree, but just about any one of them can veto it. Getting everyone on the same page can be time consuming and costly but it does lead to agreement and action.

6) Persistent follow-up. Ah, the basics. Professional, value-based follow-up is magical. Out-of-sight is out-of-mind; so be tenacious with your best leads and you�ll reap the rewards of focused activity.

5) Align the solution to a strategic objective. Whether it�s at the departmental or corporate level, if your solution helps the company achieve their stated goals, chances are it�s closer to the fast lane. Even better, align it to an objective that is part of the decision maker�s compensation or bonus program.

4) Expose a personal gain for the key decision maker(s). It�s important to understand the difference between a professional objective (see #5 above) and a personal objective. Uncovering the personal ambitions and desires of the target people is a powerful method to get the customer to take action.

3) Tie your solution to a market opportunity of the customer. This means enabling your customer to provide an increased service level that will yield your customer (incremental) revenue, or shield your customer from losing (decremental) a current revenue stream.

2) Demonstrate a strong return on investment (ROI) supported by customer data. If the decision maker recognizes that the department or company is losing money by not implementing the solution, it begins to become a no-brainer to get moving sooner rather than later.

1) Tie your solution to a pending regulation or other impending event whenever possible. Granted this doesn�t affect most solutions. However nothing is more motivating for a company than an impending event, such as a new regulatory requirement that forces the company to act by a specific date.

Whether you�re selling a product or a service, the reality is that the customer is not buying a product or a service. The customer is buying a solution to a problem. Zig Ziglar once talked about Home Depot selling one million 1/4� drill bits per year. Yet none of the customers actually wanted a 1/4� drill bit, they all wanted 1/4� holes. The same dynamics applies to your solution.

Kevin Graham, managing director for Empowered Sales Training, authored �The Top Ten Ways to Accelerate a Deal to Closure.� EST leverages deep personal experience, gems from industry icons, classic sales methodologies and innovative practices to empower sales success. Graham has qualified for President�s Club status in three Fortune 500 companies, led teams of more than one hundred associates, and successfully achieved revenue objectives in excess of $1-billion per annum.

Visit www.empoweredsalestraining.com for free sales guides, such as Book More Meetings and Get The Decision Maker On The Phone, or to take the Empowered Sales Quiz. (The Empowered Sales YouTube channel offers dozens of free sales videos.)



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