After progressing through the steps of the sales cycle, we eventually reach the point where it’s time to close the deal and ask for the business. If you’ve properly conducted a thorough needs analysis, aligned features with benefits, and illustrated how the product or service you are proposing can be a solution for the needs your customer has, it really should be a no-brainer. A “done deal” if you will. But sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as planned.
Psychological research shows that people have six emotional triggers that push them towards saying “yes.” I’ve defined these six factors to be applicable to what we do, day in and day out, as advertising sales professionals:
1. Reciprocation – The act of repaying someone for something they’ve done for us. If we continue to provide value and benefit to our customers, they may eventually recognize the time and thought we’ve dedicated to helping their business and be more likely to say “yes.”
2. Commitment – Make sure to use every opportunity to ask your customer to make a mutually beneficial commitment as you work through the sales process. Commitments can be in the form of scheduling meetings in advance or providing you with information you need to help make smart recommendations. When your customer feels vested in the process, they are more likely to say “yes.”
3. Social Proof – People tend to gravitate towards what others are doing (or not doing.) From a sales perspective, referrals continue to be an extremely powerful tool to share with your customers. If they believe other businesses are finding success doing something similar to what you are proposing, they are more likely to try it themselves by saying “yes.”
4. Likeability – People simply like to do business with people that they like. People are more likely to trust others that appear to have similar opinions, personality traits, backgrounds, or lifestyles. Make the time to establish a comfort level, familiarity, and a frequent rapport with your customers and you’ll find them saying “yes” more often.
5. Authority – As a consultative sales professional, you have an opportunity to look and act like an authority – or an expert – in the world of advertising. Be sure your client understands that your education and experience supports your ideas. But be careful as you walk that line – don’t come off as a “know it all” or too arrogant – as people tend to turn down the volume on salespeople who are too full of themselves…which makes it very difficult to get that “yes.”
6. Scarcity – In many instances I’ve found success using sales strategies focusing on the importance of customers making timely decisions. But be careful, as there is a proper way to do this and also a way that borders on deception. Using terms such as “limited availability”, “first come – first served”, and “category exclusive” can be powerful tools to persuade your customers to act quickly and say “yes” out of fear of losing the opportunity.
Remember, our ultimate goal as professional salespeople is NOT to manipulate or deceive customers into saying “yes.” We simply want to understand what they need and provide them with solutions to meet those needs. Each of the six steps described above are things to keep in mind as you work through the sales cycle – another arrow in our quiver as we make the leap from “just another salesperson” to “trusted business advisor.”
Have a great week,
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at (612) 278-0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org