You’ve found a potential customer, you’ve gauged their interest, you’ve followed up, you’ve sent a pitch and now they are finally in a position to buy from you. Last but certainly not least in the sales process is closing the deal. This is a subject I’ve covered in my series ‘How To Convert” but to give you to give you a good overview.
Ducks In A Row
In order to get someone to buy from you, you do actually have to ask for it! Of course, there’s not much point in doing that if you’re not ready to process the order. Make sure you have all your paperwork, estimates and costings ready to go because nothing is more annoying than being in a position to buy and then having to wait around.
There are three golden rules when it comes to negotiation. The first is to never into a negotiation if aren’t prepared to walk away with nothing. The second is not to get caught out on pricing, it can look very unprofessional if you’re just pulling numbers out of thin air. The last is that in negotiation you either both win or both loose, it’s not a case of you versus the client. Either you have a deal you’re both happy with or you don’t work with them.
Always look for ways to make a sale as easy as possible for your customer. If you are selling a service/product that is going to be high value or a long shelf life, then potentially there is more risk associated with the purchase of that. In order to lessen the burden it’s normally a good idea to give the customer a taster. If you’re selling a car you give them a free test drive. If you’re selling them services then you propose a small job. A small job is a good way for the customer to see the value, while you in turn see what they are like to work with and by spending a little bit of money with you, they are more likely to spend a higher amount in the future. This can of course ‘backfire’ and create customers who only ever want little jobs every now and again, but they are still better than prospects who have never bought anything.
You need one. Cover your arse, consult a lawyer if you need to, get everything signed. It makes you look more professional and should cover what is being delivered, to what time scale and for what amount. Unfortunately though there are cowboys out there and ultimately a contract is only ever worth the paper it’s written on. Legal proceedings are costly and stressful and should be avoided wherever possible.
Quote possibly you need some money down BEFORE you start. Doesn’t matter if they are a big company, doesn’t matter if they have certain payment terms, and doesn’t matter if it’s your Mums best friend. Money on the table is a much more serious indication that they are ready to go.
Usually at this point your job changes. You stop becoming a sales person and start becoming an ‘account manager’