Closing a lead is obviously a vital step to the sales process, but it's also an extremely delicate one. Your lead is usually weighing a number of options, several of which are likely your best competitors. Here are a number of tips that will give you the edge against them and help ensure you get that sale.
1. Keep in touch: Schedule a follow-up
The worst thing that can happen is for your leads to fizzle out. If your customer forgets about you, then your relevance goes out the window. This means you must remember to follow up with them.
TIP: After your meeting, immediately make a reminder for yourself to check in after a week or so.
2. Don’t try to be “sell”-y
Sell-y is almost as bad as smelly to a potential buyer. Following up should have the goal of genuinely keeping in touch and being honest and helpful, referring back to your prior conversations with the lead. If they aren’t ready to buy yet, don’t push it on them.
TIP: While talking to your client, be sure to make a reference to something non-business-related you talked about last time.
3. Be knowledgeable and informative
If your buyer is doing some research on their own, which any good buyer should, then you will want to be a good resource for them to come to. In your conversations with the lead, give unbiased and helpful advice on your product and the current market.
TIP: Point out a good thing about each of your competitors. The buyer will respect this honesty.
4. If the product isn’t right for them, just say it
Some customers may be barking up the wrong tree. If you can tell that your product isn’t going to be the right solution, then tell them that, and point them in the right direction as much as you're able. The respect they gain from you will go far, and if you ever are the right product for them, you can be sure they’ll call you first.
TIP: If you know it's not a fit for them, say it.
5. Mention referrals (but don’t push them!)
If you’re doing your job right, your customers will want to tell their friends and colleagues about you. The problem is, they might not be thinking about it. When it feels right, just give a gentle reminder that if they have anyone they know who would also be interested, to send them your way. Just a simple reminder is all that’s needed.
TIP: "Have your friends tell me you sent them" is a magical line, and works wonders.
6. Send along useful information
You should always keep up-to-date product's market. If you see something that will help make your buyer's decision easier, send it along to them. If it's from a reputable source and has good information, you make an awesome impression by being well-informed in your market. This will build rapport with your potential buyer.
TIP: Have a statistic or two about the market prepared.
7. Make sure they try the product
If you've got an awesome product, then you'll definitely want your lead to know that before they buy. Be sure that they get to experience using the product, on their own and, if they'd like, with your guidance. If you do get the opportunity to do a demo of the product, don't try and sell it. Just honestly show what is good about it.
TIP: Depending on what you're selling, giving a free trial period can work wonders.
8. See if they're happy afterwards
Check in on your buyer a month or two after they've made their decision, even if they didn't decide on you. This is usually where faults in a product start to become apparent. If it's your product, then help them get it resolved. If it's your competitors, they are reminded of your excellent advice, and yours may be the very next choice.
TIP: Schedule a post-sale follow-up! The sale isn't the final step .
These tips are only part of a much larger process, though, and will work best when they fit the philosophy of the rest of the sale. You want to be a knowledgeable and friendly source for your leads, through every step of the process. This will give you a persistent edge against your competitors.