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The “inoffensive close” – a tactic to increase your deal closings?

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a sales bootcamp with HubSpot. You might be wondering why, as I’ve been doing business development at Living Stone for + 25 years … but the experience was very interesting and insightful. Joining together with a group of senior leaders from marketing agencies from across the EU and beyond, and guided by our terrific HubSpot coach David Weinhaus, we shared our experiences and learned from each other.

At first, when you look at the slides and read about inbound sales, it all sounds so familiar. This is the way we’ve always been doing sales … right? But it turns out there are improvements we can make to the typical inbound approach, and a better way to close. Consider these ideas to incorporate the “inoffensive close” into your sale processes:

Connect with empathy

Think about your conversations with prospects and the way you are presenting your solution. Do you have your sales story ready? A short but to-the-point value proposition – an elevator pitch? This has to be more than just a factual statement of what your organization does. Instead, it has to be presented in an empathetic way that truly connects the mission of your organization with the needs of your audience.

Find the gap

Another lesson that really resonated for me was “find the gap,” as a way to understand the real needs of your customer. How can you ensure that you “find the gap” with your customers? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Ask enough “why questions,” so you fully understand what your prospect wants - why they want to change vendors, what their real targets are, or what changes they want to make.
  2. Make sure you’re talking to the real decision maker, the person who ultimately signs off on the deal. Otherwise, the person that you’re talking to might have completely different reasons not to choose you and your solution.
  3. Be naturally curious, don’t hesitate about asking questions – even although you sometimes feel it must be frustrating for your contact. Explain why you need all this information - so that you can make an offer that matches your prospect’s requirements precisely, and really resonates with the decision maker(s).
  4. Make sure you understand your prospect’s goals & timing, plans and challenges, and their current situation.
  5. Anchor your offer to value: what budget do they have in mind; do they have that budget – can they decide on the budget? Does it match their plans for this year?

Here are some other ideas to strengthen and enhance your sales process:

The “give and get”

This is one of my favorites - it’s important to demonstrate your expertise, and share your experiences with other customers by sharing reference cases and talking about the way you solved certain issues. It’s all about building trust.

Book a goal setting and planning meeting before the real closing

This is an ideal opportunity to repeat all you learned and what the customer agreed upon during the process. Being all on one line is important for the success of your sale.

Understand who your competitors are

Your competitors are not always who you think they are. They may not be other companies at all - in the services business for example, your competition could be an in-house team or a current employee. Or perhaps your prospect is looking into hiring someone to manage this portfolio.

Finally, there’s the objections handling and closure

This needs to be done live or in a phone call – in an uninterrupted, face-to-face discussion. And don’t forget to go back to the initial goals, plans and targets you set - the budget you need is to reach those targets. A lower budget means not reaching the targets.

It all sounds easy … but why then do we still lose deals?

We can support your sales teams by creating a great story for them. Our focus is on helping our customers strengthen the connection between marketing and sales, and growing their business. In addition to inbound marketing, we’re experts in reference marketing, voice of customer sessions, and branding and positioning.

We’d be glad to talk about how we can help you increase sales and grow your business. Call me at +32 55 591 007 (or email at anne-mie.vansteelant@livingstone.eu) to set up a meeting or a phone call.

More on the inoffensive close at: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/effective-sales-closing-techniques-for-modern-sales-reps

Anne-Mie Vansteelant
Anne-Mie Vansteelant
COO | Managing Partner at Living Stone

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