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How to Move Deals Forward & Close the Sale

How to Move Deals Forward & Close the Sale

Full-cycle and Account Executive sales roles have one thing in common:

They need to move deals forward and close the sale.

A recent poll on LinkedIn showed 71% said “moving the deal through the pipeline and closing the sale” is their biggest challenge.

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Here’s how to solve that.

Moving Deals Forward

Sales reps must achieve three (3) significant factors before a lead is qualified to be an opportunity for a deal to move forward.

Problem Recognition

Problem Recognition means the prospect sees, understands, and agrees that a problem must be solved.

Your prospect will not buy unless they recognize that they have a problem and have concluded that they can no longer operate with the concern being present.

When salespeople assume problem recognition, they skip a significant step in the sales process and leave themselves wide open for failure.

Adding “deals” to the pipeline that do not have problem recognition established and understood by both sides leads to missed quotas.

Top full-cycle sales reps know that identifying a problem and getting agreement the problem exists and the prospect wants it to go away, is critical to closing the deal.

Account Executive sales reps who are struggling either forget or have yet to be taught that they still need to qualify the prospect, even if the SDR/BDR (sales development/business development rep) did the heavy lifting and set the appointment.

Remember: If there’s no problem to solve, there’s no need for a presentation.

Once problem recognition is established, the next critical step is to:

Identify Your Prospects Role

If you’re “qualifying” your prospect’s role in the decision-making process by their title alone, chances are you have a lot of deals that are stuck in the pipeline.

Assuming one is a decision-maker because of their title is a massive blunder by the sales rep.

The word blunder is used in the game of chess, and it refers to when a player makes an unbelievably stupid error – like leaving your queen wide open to be taken by a pawn, as an example.

It does seem that most salespeople have never been taught that qualifying the role of a prospect on their decision-making ability by their title alone, is an “error”. So, now you know.

How many times have you “qualified” a prospect by their title and assumed they were a decision-maker, only to hear “I need to check with my (fill in the blank)” when you went for a close?

And here’s the kicker… they may be telling the truth, or they may be lying.

If they are telling the truth, but you try and handle it as an objection, you jeopardize the relationship you’ve been working to build.

If they are lying, but you don’t question them on their response, you may never get them on the phone again.

Learning how to properly qualify your prospect on their role in the decision-making category is essential to eliminating or, at the very least, reducing the number of stalled deals you’ll have in your pipeline.

Learning how to get problem recognition and qualifying on the prospect’s decision-making roles are critical skill sets all top sales teams need.

And if you’re a Sales Manager, Director, or VP, your life will be way more enjoyable having a team of highly skilled sales professionals who know what, how, and when to ask the right sales questions.

The third critical piece to help reduce the number of staled deals in the pipeline is:

Time Frame

Once you have established that your prospect has a problem, they want it solved, and you have a solution to help them with that and have met your criteria for decision-making authority, another significant piece to the puzzle is to ask about their time frame.

As in:

“Mr. Prospect, if we could help you solve your team’s call reluctance issues and get them to set more qualified appointments with our turnkey on-demand training program, how soon would you be looking to get started?”

Or

“Once you find the ideal solution that fits your needs, how soon, realistically, are you hoping to get started?”

Wouldn’t it make sense to know this information? Wouldn’t it help you give a more accurate forecast in your sales pipeline if you knew the answer to this question?

Can you see how it would make no sense to ask the time-frame question without first confirming a problem exists, the prospect wants it solved, and you can help solve it, and you’ve qualified the prospect on their decision-making role?

When you learn to master the sales process, you will:

  1. Close more deals with less resistance
  2. Have better pipeline management
  3. And accurate forecasting

It’s important to remember that when it comes to “selling,” skill levels aren’t measured in “years of experience.” You have to be a student of the game to maximize your earning potential. Listed above are three critical sales skills that, when mastered, will help more prospects get what they want/need while putting more money in your pocket.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – a turnkey on-demand skills-building program for inside sales teams. Try a free class today.