You've followed the rulebook and done everything in your power to turn leads into prospects, and now you're at the final hurdle; closing the deal and making that sale. This is certainly no mean feat; particularly when you're targeting a market as vibrant as Singapore where company executives see so many pitches each month.
Closing deals effectively is an essential part of any business' growth; it's no surprise that research from the State of Inbound report found it is the top priority for businesses, as is shown in the chart below. There's no doubt that it takes a little practice to master the skill, but by following these tips you'll be on the track to success.
Regardless of how great your product is and how carefully you've crafted your pitch, if the prospect isn't ready to buy you're essentially wasting your time. If this is the case, even if you manage to get through to the key person who has authority to go ahead with the deal, it's unlikely to go any further.
When you're qualifying leads, make sure you look at where they are in the buying process. This is likely to require some direct contact with the company, but it's better to show that you're interested in learning exactly what their wants and needs are and build a rapport than charging straight in only to be shut down.
Try to focus your questions on the formation of a timeline. Are they currently gathering information on what's on the market? Looking at individual companies to decide which is best for them? Determine where they are in the process and, most importantly, how long each step is likely to take.
Going into any kind of business negotiation without having a solid understanding of the other company is a big no-no. It's so important to carry out detailed research on the prospect not only to qualify them but also to tailor your approach and what you're offering to them as much as possible.
Global Database offers a complete solution for your background checks. Our business intelligence platform holds information on 1.6 million companies across Singapore and includes information such as address, direct contact details, years in operation, employee details, digital insights and technologies used.
It also offers a look at the financial background of each company, so you can learn what their potential concerns are, as well as the kind of price point they'd find acceptable.
With all of this information, you can enter negotiations without having to ask your contact for basic information about their company, and personalise your pitch to their requirements.
Sample screenshot from Global Database’s B2B platform, showing the wide range of financial data available for each company listed.
A large proportion of deals fall through simply because the salespeople involved were targeting the wrong person. You can't rely on having your amazing pitch fed back to higher-ups - you need to reach the person who actually has the power to say 'yes' to the sale.
In order to do so, you should look at the structure of the company to determine how decisions are likely to be made or even ask outright. Ask your contact at the company questions like 'what's the process for making a decision on a deal like this?' or 'who has final say on purchases in your department?'
Once you've established who the right person to reach out to is, you'll ideally need to get direct contact information for them to avoid having your messages blocked or forgotten by gatekeepers. Global Database is ideal for this scenario; we provide direct phone and email details for Singapore employees across all industries, job functions and seniority levels, so you can find the decision makers at every prospect company.
Building a rapport is incredibly important in B2B sales, particularly given that only 2% of deals are done in the first meeting, according to Marketing Donut. In order to build up a good relationship by the time it comes to closing the sale, it's a good idea to focus on the smaller points of the deal.
You're more likely to agree on these points that hold the least importance to both you and the prospect, so they're more likely to see you as someone who is on their wavelength and who they can work easily with.
It may seem counterintuitive to reveal something about your company that seemingly puts you at a disadvantage, but it can be a great way to help gain your prospect's trust. This is vitally important given that, as the chart below demonstrates, only 18% of buyers trust salespeople, according to research from DiscoverOrg.
Telling your prospect something that they wouldn't expect you to, for example mentioning that one of your competitors has a cheaper alternative to yours. This will undoubtedly shock your prospect, but they'll also see that you're open and genuine, and not just going in all guns blazing to make a quick sale. Just remember to put a positive spin on a statement like this one, by mentioning that your product is of superior quality or better suited to the prospect's needs.
Once you've determined exactly what your prospect wants, and the points that don't matter as much to them, you can use this to your advantage, by offering trades based on points that are less important to you. This tactic is great for when the deal has reached a standstill; you just need to figure out what you can trade.
For example, if they're stuck on the price you could propose a negotiation in the timeframe you have to deliver. Whatever trade you’re offering, be as specific as possible and if they seem keen, ask for them to sign off there and then. If they continue to stall, be direct in asking them what you can do to make the offer more appealing.
Business buyers are naturally cautious; it could potentially be their jobs on the line if a deal has a negative impact on their company after all. One way to ease them further down the sales funnel is to offer some social proof to show that there is little risk involved in going ahead with the purchase.
This could take the form of things like case studies, customer reviews, positive press mentions, awards one, or if you have referrals from mutual business connections, even better; as the graph from Nielsen below shows, this is the most trusted form of advertising for buyers.
It's also a good idea to show them exactly how you've helped similar companies to add value to their business through your products or services. Be as specific as possible here, and include their competitors if you've served any, in order to give them that little push to make sure they're not falling behind.
Once you've built up a rapport with your prospect and you've both determined what you want from the deal, it's time to talk price. One potential tactic is to meet in the middle of your original price and what your prospect has proposed.
This can often work out well for both parties as a fair trade-off, however, bear in mind that it only works to your advantage if you're both conceding equal amounts; if you've already been negotiated down on price meeting in the middle obviously won't be such a great deal for you.
If your prospect is dragging their heels and shows resistance when confronted with your proposal, make sure that you take the time to ask them exactly what they need from the deal in order to sign on the dotted line.
This not only makes it clearer for your own purposes in order to determine whether or not you can fulfil their expectations, it also helps to show the prospect that you're taking their needs into consideration, which, as the chart below from Salesforce shows, is incredibly important when forming a positive relationship with a buyer.
Once you've established exactly what your buyer is looking for in the deal, it's important to emphasise exactly how your product or service is going to benefit their business. This will put you in a much better position if you need to negotiate; after all, why would they be prepared to pay more for something they don't feel is completely necessary?
Closing deals is often the most difficult part of the sales process, so mastering the techniques to give yourself the greatest chance at success is essential. Providing you follow the steps above, and also take the time to gain a thorough understanding of your prospect and their needs, you're likely to see a much better rate of closing deals in your favour.