5 ways to improve your sales closing rates

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In the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin — the “heavy” that comes to a real estate office to “motivate” its agents — gives a profane and blunt speech that includes such classic lines as “ABC: Always Be Closing” and “Coffee is for closers.”

We’ll leave the profanity and cruelty of his speech for you to view on YouTube.

We’d all like to think we’ve moved beyond the old school, Willy Loman world of sales.

And we likely have. The problem: Selling is still extremely difficult and might be harder than ever before given rampant competition, highly selective and educated consumers, and the supersonic pace in which business gets done.

So, how does a company and its sales team convert leads into sales at a higher rate? It’s not easy, but it can certainly be accomplished with consistent effort and a systematic approach to enabling your sales team to succeed.

Whether you lack a clear sales system, are understaffed, have a high sales consultant turnover rate, or don’t yet understand what motivates your customers, sales performance can improve if you adopt a consistent, systematic approach to learning and continual improvement.

Here are five ways your sales team can improve its sales closing rates in relatively short order:

Stop Talking About Yourself

Another way to put this: Focus on what your customer or clients need and want. Focusing on your audience’s pain points rather than on how great your company is at this or that immediately builds engagement and connectivity between your sales people and a lead.

Provide your sales team with training on how to reframe how they engage a lead. Put helpfulness first; lead with recognizing problems and offering up solutions. At the start, don’t chirp endlessly about your great brand. Listen. Ask good questions. Nurture. The time to show them what your company can do will come.

Essentially, invert your approach from brand projection to discovery and recognition of your audience’s essential pain.

Leverage Your Data

Mine your CRM data for insights on customer behaviors by segment, geographic location, and product types. Look back to move forward. Understanding what’s worked and failed in the past generates a framework for moving ahead. There will always be things you don’t know and that have yet to be discovered — but you have to look to the past to know what you don’t yet know.

By mining your lead and sales data, you can segment your customers and build personas or profiles that you can use to tailor your marketing and sales efforts. These customer profiles empower your marketing team to create the right content and deliver it at the right cadence. This, in turn, nurtures leads through the pipeline at the right pace, building rapport and increasing the likelihood for sales conversion. That’s just one example.

Go back and look at the past to map out a pathway to future sales closing success.

Emphasize Value

Again, customers don’t care about how great your company’s product is; they don’t care about the bells and whistles; they want to understand the value they’ll receive by choosing your service or product.

Always go back to the pain. Value becomes apparent when you show how you help alleviate the source of their pain.

Also, it’s best if you show the value rather than talk about it. Use customer testimonials, case studies, white papers, or short videos about a pain point/solution scenario to emphasize value ... always.

To close a sale and increase conversion ratios, you need a lead to keep moving through the funnel. Leads will jump ship early if your sales team constantly focuses on features rather than value and benefits.

Score Your Leads

One of the biggest impediments to closing more sales is time wasted cultivating unqualified or incorrectly qualified leads. If your marketing and sales functions lack a lead scoring system that’s mutually developed and agreed upon, leads that should not get a lot of attention do and those that should get more attention don’t.

It’s that simple.

A lead scoring program will assess the quality of each lead, where it stands within the buyer’s journey, and assign a quantitative value to it indicating its overall score. This score will determine how sales reps engage leads, dramatically increasing efficiencies as well as sales conversions.

Without a lead scoring system, your sales team is essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping some of it sticks.

Execute and Sustain Sales Enablement

The sales conversion tips above all fall within the broader concept of sales enablement. A strong sales enablement program provides your salesperson or team with the tools, processes, and knowledge they need to succeed. As mentioned earlier, making this straightforward concept reality is no easy task.

This includes continuous sales training, content focused on the buyer's journey, marketing and sales alignment (lead scoring as one example of alignment), robust tracking protocols and systems, and leveraging captured data to inform marketing and sales activities.

In short, your sales team will close sales at a higher rate if they operate in a smart, agile sales ecosystem that encourages professional development and furnishes a suite of tools that empower amplified performance.

Building out a sales enablement platform is a heavy lift, for sure. But the rewards you reap could change the future of your business.

If you’re looking for a sales expert you can trust, Illumine8 Marketing & PR is always here to help. Reach out to us today. We’d love to learn more about your company and how we might be able to take your sales performance to the next level.

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