7 Traits of every closer: the not-so-dark secrets of sales
Movies and television shows often present an unflattering picture of salespeople as slick liars who take their customers for a ride, but those manipulative Hollywood caricatures would be out of place in a world-class sales organisation. The very best salespeople have several genuine, non-creepy “tricks” up their sleeves and their clever methods (coupled with honesty and passion for their product) are what make them successful. Here are seven traits shared by consistent closers.
1. They dive deep on social media.
Successful salespeople often look through clients’ public profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to find any kind of hook and will use it to build rapport and trust. This isn't a bad thing; the better they know their prospects, the better they can customise their approach and offer so that they’re pitching the most relevant, useful things possible that will actually suit the needs and interests of their prospective buyers. Using social media as a sales tool yields big results.
2. When they ask questions, they really care about their prospects’ answers - even if they already have data that tells them the same thing.
Salespeople who have access to rich user data don’t want to spook a potential client by admitting they already know the information. If a salesperson is upfront about her research into a client and his past behaviour, he may feel like he’s in 1984 - Big Brother is watching - so she is more likely to ask indirect, leading questions that will keep him moving all the way through the sales funnel without feeling like he’s always being tracked.
3. They make it hard for prospects to say no.
Salespeople frequently ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes/no response. A “no” is a closed door; it’s hard to argue with it. But a description of a buyer’s problems or even her concerns about the product on offer gives a salesperson more information to work with to win her over. People sometimes think a leading question will get to the point faster (“Do you wish you could save more time?”), but an open inquiry provides a better foothold for continued progress (“What are the typical ways your productivity is interrupted during the day?”).
4. They like to collaborate.
The worst salespeople see marketers as co-workers who get in their way and prevent the sales department from achieving goals by setting up road blocks. The best salespeople know that when sales and marketing work together, great things happen. In general, marketing provides sales with leads - and the quality of those leads is critical for success. On average, more than half of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting, costing companies at least $1 trillion a year. So the best organisations have figured out how to bridge the gap between departments, which increases the quality of the leads and the efficiency of the organization. SiriusDecisions notes that B2B organisations who've taken the time to align sales and marketing see faster profit growth - 27% faster over three years. Closers see marketers as allies, not enemies.
5. They don’t waste time.
If a lead presents itself, a top salesperson will drop everything to jump on it. Why? According to InsideSales.com, up to 50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. There’s no time to lose in the race for your attention, so as soon as that starting pistol is fired, salespeople need to start moving.
6. They’re out to blow your mind - or at least change it.
As Seth Godin says, “selling is interpersonal. I am not moving bits. I'm trying to change people's minds, one person at a time”. A salesperson’s success relies on their personality along with their skills — and the top salespeople are persuasive. We’re not talking about pressure, we’re talking about the conviction and the knowledge to present information in a way a client has never imagined so the salesperson (and their product) stay foremost in the customer's mind.
7. They embrace technology.
Top salespeople appear to have memories like a steel trap. A politician has a “right-hand man” at her side to remind her of names and key details for anyone who crosses her path. Technology works in a similar way, by collating customer data in one place so contact information, transaction and communication history and important personal details (like the name of a client’s dog or their favourite drink) are easily accessible. Keeping this information in one place leaves more room in salespeople’s brains for expert knowledge of their products.
Maybe your sales team is already practising all these tips, but could you be more efficient? Are you ready to run with the best?