A lot of salespeople can get a prospect close to becoming a client and then drop the ball on the final inches of the race. They may say their prospect didn’t have the budget, another supplier undercut them, it turns out it’s not the right time, etc.
Regardless of the reason, it’s a mis-management of the closing process. The problem is, so many salespeople wait until the month or week they’re projected to close a deal before handling things that should have been ascertained during discovery. Hal Deadwyler, a sales leader with Call MC, recently educated us on how he ensures his salespeople are regularly re-opening their closing process.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: Hal recommends the trigger to put a closing process in play needs to come before the prospect is close to becoming a customer. If we wait until a proposal goes to bid to begin controlling the procurement process, we’re late to the show.
Instead of waiting until a proposal is requested or a purchase order is generated, salespeople need to establish their trigger ahead of time, and it needs to be centered on budget. Too many deals are lost in the final moments because salespeople didn’t ascertain (and re-confirm!) the budget window of their prospects.
R – Repeatable: Instead of learning the hard way to manage a closing process by making mistakes, salespeople can put together a set of steps to help them remember to ask the right questions, check inventory, and everything that happens after the salesperson generated a quote.
Each customer’s procurement process is unique, so it’s valuable for salespeople to develop a checklist general enough to fit most of their prospects and room to enter unique data – influencers, decision makers, negative influencers, special procurement requirements, etc.
I – Improvable: Salespeople may have a closing process in place, but when was the last time it was updated? Without using the system, it’s impossible to improve upon it, so it starts with evaluating whether the process shortens your closing time.
Hal also recommends salespeople take the time to ask what other products or services might have been a good fit for that customer, knowing what we know about them now?
M – Measurable: To measure a great closing process, we simply need to ask: ‘Is this getting us better results than we had before we had a closing process?’ Hal advised we measure something that’s not metric-driven: Is the customer happy? Will they buy again? Will they tell everyone how great it was to do business with you?
By measuring a process like closing steps against whether they turn a customer into referrals and repeat business, we can build a business that can replace hope with the certainty clients will return to do business with us.