We’ve all heard at least some form of those infamous words from the brilliantly depressing movie Glengarry Glen Ross. If you haven’t had the privilege of seeing it, this phrase comes from a scene where Alec Baldwin is challenging a team of has been salespeople in the real estate business to man up and generate some business.
As a business owner I certainly understand the pressures of meeting payroll this week or forecasting revenues and profit for next quarter. It’s easy to look at your sales pipeline and demand to know why all of these opportunities aren’t signing “on the line that is dotted”!?!?! The most common response to this problem that we’ve seen is to assume that your salespeople aren’t “closers” and thus it’s time to fire and hire.
I have worked with many clients and sales managers who all struggle with similar issues who tell me there is one person or maybe a small minority of their sales organization that is closing and they go crazy wondering, “Why can’t I get more people like them?”
Here is the problem: sales is a process and, like all other processes, closing new business is simply the end result of a number of factors that may or may not have happened prior to that point.
Of course, this is probably something that you already know and understand. If one of your reps has more opportunities in their pipeline than another rep, it goes without saying that he/she will close more business. From a mathematical perspective we hope that you are paying attention to other key performance indicators (KPIs) in your sales process because it’s critical that managers understand the whole story. This is the logical and statistical way of observing a sales process and the overall performance of your team.
But this still doesn’t answer the ultimate question of why some of your reps have higher closing percentages than others. Does some of it have to do with natural ability and personality? Of course it does. However, we strongly believe that you shouldn’t hang the future success of your business on trusting how talented your salespeople may be; It’s too intangible.
Even if you convert customers and make a lot of money, you will never fully understand why and most likely, you won’t be able to replicate that success in another environment.
The key to cloning closers is to take a look at the psychology behind selling, which is really the science behind how human beings make decisions regarding anything in their lives. People aren’t robots and therefore, your prospects and customers aren’t either. Ultimately, every decision that we make as people is tied to some sort of emotion- especially in a buying situation.
So what does that mean for you and your sales team?
We have a philosophy about the sales cycle: the sale is always made before the demonstration.
In other words, people have already decided emotionally whether or not they are open to buying before they even take a look at your product or service. Thus, they are actually closed earlier in your sales cycle than you probably realize. Your demonstration simply serves to reinforce whether or not you can actually solve their problem.
The key is you aren’t really selling them at all. They already know what they want or need; you just need to create the right environment for them to buy.
When your sales team effectively creates this type of environment for prospects, their closing percentage will improve dramatically. Here are 3 things your team should focus on that will immediately impact the conversations they are having with prospects.
Spend more time asking your best salespeople about what they’re actually doing throughout the sales cycle. Listen to their interactions with prospects and take notes.
What you will find is that your best customers really decided to buy before they ever fully understood how you do what you do. In other words, they weren’t “closed” in the eleventh hour. Once you understand what is really causing your customers to buy, you are ready to grow our organization.