How bad are sales closing ratios?
One of the things most salespeople, and their management believe is the closing ratio should be higher but have absolutely no idea how to do that. How bad are closing ratios? the answer to this is often the thing most people believe will solve their problem; call on more people. It is NOT a numbers game! Yes, you have to make prospect ‘calls’ (on the phone, email, in-person etc.) but just calling and pitching what it is you do or something close to it is futile.
Since sales closing rates are in the 15-20% range nationally, one of the biggest concerns that management and salespeople alike have is a desire to increase closing rates. Although there are several reasons for Bad sales closing ratios, one of the most overlooked is the tendency for salespeople to make proposals without knowing what will happen when the prospect gets the proposal. This is like rolling the dice and hoping for the best. I do not know about you but I would like a bit more control on my process than ‘rolling the dice’. There is a reason why Vegas makes lots of money and their patrons don’t.
The traditional focus on sales closing ratios has been to make sure we “ask for the business,” memorize a few good “closes,” or some other tactic. We’ve been told that we must qualify, make a presentation, and then close. We think that this approach makes little sense and puts the salesperson at a distinct disadvantage. Many salespeople don’t want to appear pushy so they act subservient – often they would rather make a friend than make a sale. They feel that if they ask for a commitment it will sound tricky or “salesy,” and they might not like the answer. It’s easy to see that old habits are hard to break.
You have a right to get a commitment from your prospect before you “reward” them with a presentation. Think of it as trading a proposal for a decision. Having a sales process, whichever one you choose to engage, should have a way to avoid this roller-coaster of; asking questions, present and try to close. This may have worked in 1975 but today, we need to be a lot more consultative.
Try saying something like this before you make the presentation:
“Assuming you’re totally convinced that our solutions will fix these problems for you, and the investment is within the parameters we’ve already discussed, what would happen at that point?” If you get a positive response, then all you’ve got to do is deliver recommendations that match deliver the solutions they asked for. If you get something other than a positive response, chances are you have failed to qualify properly. If you don’t like the prospect’s answer, there’s nothing in the rules that says you have to make a presentation and as a matter of fact, I would recommend not making one. When I recommend this to client they will often say, “it’s OK, it doesn’t take that long, or I have a template I can use…” whatever…Still stupid! Do not present anything unless you have uncovered the issue and understand that you can and are willing to fix their solution, they can afford the investment and you know what their decision process is.