Inside Sales Tips: What is a closing ratio? Your closing ratio is the number of sales you’ve made over the number of presentations you gave. To calculate a closing ratio, divide your number of closed deals out of your total sales presentations. If you presented to 10 prospects and eight purchased, your closing ratio is 80%.
Would you like to double your closing ratio?
Umm. Yes, please!
So how do you accomplish this feat? Ask fifty different sales professionals, and the chances are you’ll get fifty different answers on how to close a sale.
There are many subjective factors involved in closing the deal, like the prospect’s personality and current situation. Your goal is to convince the decision-maker to buy your product or service, and you may have to deal with defending against a competitor’s offer, indecisiveness on the part of the contact, or other internal issues related to the account’s buying process.
When it comes to closing those sales qualified leads, you can employ a variety of techniques. Your sales manager and colleagues all have their preferred approaches, but maybe you’re new to selling or still trying to find what works best. While closing techniques vary, some practices remain true. The following inside sales tips can help you catapult your sales closing ratio.
1. Earn the Right to Ask for the Sale
Salespeople should always be moving in the direction of closing a sale, but you need to earn the right to ask for the sale. How do you do that? Here are twelve questions from Sandler Sales Training to help you determine if you’ve earned the right to ask for the sale.
- Do you have a complete understanding of your prospect’s problem or pain points?
- Does the prospect understand the ramifications that come with not addressing the problem?
- Do you think the prospect felt you understand his or her business?
- Did you get the impression that the prospect sees you as an expert in your field?
- Do you and the prospect have a good rapport or comfort level between you?
- Can you tell if the prospect has confidence in you?
- Does the prospect need the solution you are selling?
- Have you helped the prospect understand how your solution will improve his or her business?
- Can the prospect afford what I sell?
- Do you have a handle on the decision making process and who the key stakeholders are?
- Assuming you spoke to the primary decision-maker, do they have enough information to make a buying decision?
- Do you think the prospect is willing and able to invest in your solution?
If you feel uncertain about the answer to any of these questions, you may have a little more work to do before asking for the sale.
If a prospect shows interest but does not buy right away, schedule an aggressive follow-up plan to help you eventually close the deal.
2. Maintain a Follow-Up Plan
Successful inside sales reps develop and maintain a persistent follow-up plan to help them close more sales.
The unsuccessful ones often give up before they should.
According to the Telfer School of Business, it takes 5.7 attempts for B2B companies and 5.9 for B2C companies to get a positive outcome with a lead. This stat perfectly illustrates why having a well-thought-out follow-up strategy is one of the most important inside sales tips you can get.
To make that sales persistence a little easier, use multiple touchpoints and messages in your follow-up sales cadence with prospects. Prospects don’t always want to hear a sales pitch, so sometimes you can send informational and educational posts or news items about their industry, so they see you as a trusted advisor.
You can try an automated email drip interspersed with social messages and phone calls in between those email touches.
If your prospect has opted in, mix in some SMS text messages as well.
3. Implement a Sales Engagement Platform for Efficiency and Productivity
Sales organizations should implement a sales engagement solution to streamline and automate sales follow up.
Think about it.
During the period of time between first contact and the goodbye voicemail/email with a single prospect, new leads — possibly a great number of leads — have also entered the sales reps list of people to contact.
With a queue-based sales engagement solution, sales calls and other forms of follow-up stay on track and no lead falls through the cracks.
A predetermined workflow schedule automatically reminds sales reps when it’s time to call a new contact or get back in touch with an existing prospect. Sales engagement software helps inside sales teams convert more follow-ups into sales.
4. Resist Chasing Rainbows
Far too often, sales reps chase leads that they have little hope of converting into a deal.
This means that you’re at risk of wasting a lot of time and resources trying to move things forward with prospects that never actually had the intention to buy from you.
The first test is easy – after you follow up with a prospect, either make an appointment or move on to the next qualified lead.
When setting an appointment, make sure that it is a definite appointment and not the “call-me-next-week” scenario.
An appointment with an exact time shows commitment from the prospect and interest in your product or service.
Unfortunately, that’s not all there is.
Sometimes, such suspicious prospects are only trying to obtain the information they can use for different purposes, or they have already decided to purchase from your competitor but just want to make sure it’s the best deal they can get. Beware of tire-kickers and cheapskates, too – they want to shoot the breeze while not having the real need for your solution or are trying to get something for free.
You’ll recognize these potential duds based on the following red flags:
- They’re not willing to share personal information with you
- They only talk about the price from the very beginning
- They’re not respecting your time, e.g. they fail to show up for scheduled meetings
- They avoid talking about a decision-making timeline
- They’re reluctant to make any extra effort such as provide you feedback about a piece of information you sent
These signs indicate that all your hard work might be in vain.
5. Recognize Buying Signals
As you’re moving a lead through the sales cycle, you need to be able to recognize and react quickly to buying signals to close the deal. Here are some buying signals that will signal that the prospect is interested:
- Probing questions – asking detailed questions about the product
- Mental possession – talking about the product as if they own it
- Asking for opinions – including another person in the meeting for feedback
- Comprehensive evaluation – Investing a lot of time looking at your product
- Constant agreement – saying yes to the sales rep often and showing enthusiasm
6. Ask Closing Questions
Once your prospect begins to exhibit buying signals, ask for the sale. How do you do that?
Go forward with a “closing question.”
Let’s say your initial meetings went well, and you followed up appropriately via follow-up emails and calls; it’s time to see where you stand. There’s no need to beat around the bush.
Ask something along the lines of “As I believe that we’re a perfect fit, it would be great if you could tell me what steps we should take to help you make a decision and purchase?”
Such a direct question requires a pretty straightforward answer, so if they say that they need a couple of months to weigh their options, you’ll know that it’s time to move on. You can agree to get in touch later, but you’ll be aware that you may not close that particular prospect quickly.
Similarly, if a prospect asks you how soon they can get your product, ask them when they need it? Don’t give a specific delivery time.
It’s important to give the customer a little more control when you ask a question. Even if you can’t meet the requested delivery date, you can negotiate a reasonable timeline that works for the customer. They feel good because they played a role in that process.
7. The Power of the Pause Inside Sale Tip
One of the most effective inside sales tips says that after asking for the sale, you should remember to pause.
Wait for the prospect to answer.
The first person who talks loses.
Some sales reps get caught up in the excitement of the sale and the possible thrill of victory; they forget to listen. They may even talk themselves out of the deal by continuing to pitch.
Resist this temptation and wait for the prospect to speak first.
Yes, this will cause uncomfortable silence, which means that a couple of seconds will seem like an eternity. But this is a powerful mechanism. Research shows that people need at least 10 seconds to start articulating and formulating an answer.
So, by jumping to end that awkward silence, you’ll actually cut your prospects off in the middle of thinking and disrupt their flow of ideas.
Great salespeople are excellent active listeners, and they know when to keep it quiet and take advantage of the pause.
No matter how impatient you are to hear the answer, count to 10 before you speak and make sure to allow your prospect to collect their thoughts. The odds are that you’ll learn much more than if you never stop talking.
Hope you enjoyed our inside sales tips. Ready to Close More Sales?
These are just a few tried-and-true inside sales tips that we like. What are your favorites? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We want to know about your inside sales tips.