10 Better Ways to Seal the Deal

10 Ways Close A Sale Faster and Easier Without Being Too Salesy

Sales. Ick. Blech. Ugh.

There is very little that the average designer, developer, freelancer, or business owner likes about sales, except the very end result of gaining a new client or customer. With that in mind, today we're looking at how we can shorten the sales cycle, and get prospects to say yes to hiring you, buying from you, or learning from you easier and faster.

Let's examine 10 simple ways you can sell less and still close new sales:

1. Identify The Decision Maker

There is nothing worse than getting 30-40 minutes into a sales conversation only to discover that you are speaking to a middle man with no authority and not the actual decision maker.

Speaking only with a middle man during the sales process can create the potential for future misunderstandings, confusion, and uncomfortable situations.

Why? Both you and the decision maker assume in good faith that your words, feelings, instructions, and questions/concerns are being passed on accurately and in full. You may even create and sign contracts based on these assumptions. But often assumptions are not reality. In many cases, important details are lost in translation from you to the middle man to the decision maker and back.

To avoid these situations, ask up front if the person you are communicating with is the final decision maker. Also find out who the key stakeholders are and if decisions will be made by committee.

Once you know who the decision makers are, require that they all be present for your sales meeting or phone calls to ensure everyone involved with the project is on the same page.

2. Create Unique Packages

A lot of prospects will reach out to you about your services to get more information so they can compare your service to your competitors' services. Consumers want to be able to compare apples to apples and get the best price.

But, if you package your services together in a unique way, you make it very difficult to compare on price alone because the items they are comparing are not the same.

With unique packages, your prospects must evaluate the total package, deliverables, and value, instead of just the price — and that is worth its weight in gold because when you compete on price, no one wins.

3. Build Trust With Testimonials

One of the easiest ways to shorten your sales conversations is to get your prospects to decide that you are the best and only choice for them before they even reach out to you for a conversation.

Testimonials that illustrate a ‘before and after' help prospects visualize themselves achieving the same thing and build trust.

By showcasing testimonials on your website, in your marketing materials, and even in your sales contracts, you are reminding your prospects that you have helped others just like them achieve their similar goals.

4. Showcase Case Studies

The goal of your marketing is position yourself as the only choice in the eyes of your ideal clients instead of just another choice.

Besides testimonials, case studies are one of the most effective ways to quickly build trust, showcase your expertise, and make prospects want to work with you. Case studies give you the opportunity to walk a prospect through the process step-by-step, in a safe, non-salesy manner.

With a case study, you are showing your prospects what you can do for them and what kind of results they can achieve — you are demonstrating what's possible and inspiring them to take action so they can experience the same thing.

5. Get Prospects To Agree With You Throughout The Sales Process

Ultimately, the end goal of a sales conversation is to get your prospect to say YES! to hiring you or buying from you. The entire conversation, the questions, the objection squashing — the entire dog and pony show comes down to getting them to agree that you're the best choice.

— and get them used to agreeing with you, to saying yes — so when the time comes to make the decision to hire you, it feels natural and easy.

To do this, you can add short questions to the end of statements you make, like:

– Is that right?
– Aren't they?
– You know what I mean?
– Shouldn't it?
– Wouldn't you agree?
– Can't you?
– Are we on the same page?
– Does that make sense?

6. Offer Fast Action Rewards

If you are speaking with a potential client who is still on the fence, be prepared to offer them a fast action bonus — something truly awesome they will receive ONLY IF they make a decision in a certain amount of time.

This opportunity must have a limiter on it — by the end of our conversation, by the end of the day, at the end of the week, on a specific date, etc. They key here is to require a deposit be made along with the decision, so you don't end up giving away valuable materials for free.

7. Add Value With Bonuses

People love free stuff. This is the land of the free gift with purchase — and consumers can't help but feel compelled to look closer at an offer when there are special bonuses tied to it!

Evaluate your offers, packages, products, and services to figure out what type of bonuses may work for you. These may include:

  • Checklists and templates
  • Ebooks or reports
  • How-to guides or manuals
  • Resources and tools
  • One-on-one call with you
  • An extra training session or webinar
  • A free ticket to an event
  • A free copy of a product or program you sell

Remember, these items don't have to all be created by you! Consider partnering with a complimentary service provider and offer one of their products as a bonus, and offer to provide one of yours for them to use as a bonus. This is a great way to cross promote other great businesses you love and respect.

These items also don't have to be brand new. In many cases, we over deliver and add too much to our packages and programs desperately trying to make it juicy and desirable. If that's you, take a look at what item(s) you can pull out of your standard package to make a bonus instead.

8. Provide Flexible Payment Options

 — your prospect may want to say yes, but the total is more than they can swing at the moment. Quickly squash this objection by offering flexible payment options and payment plans and being open to working with your clients and customers to remove payment as an obstacle.

  • Accept a variety of forms of payment, including cash, check, bank transfer, PayPal, and credit cards
  • Offer automatic payment plans, or payment plans based on project milestones
  • Work with clients to invoice according to their needs, rules, timelines, or formatting requirements. Some may not pay an invoice unless the purchase order is clearly included. Some may need invoices 30 days in advance, some may require you to send them by snail mail.

9. Leverage Urgency and Scarcity

Communicating scarcity and creating urgency can quickly move a prospect from a maybe to a yes, if done with integrity.

There are times when we are speaking with a potential new client, they are dragging their feet on making a decision, and we need to let them know that other signed contracts are coming in, we are quickly booking up, and if we don't have a signed contract by X date, we will no longer be able to work within the initial timeline we discussed.

Being open and honest about scarcity — communicating that there is a limit on your availability, capacity, or time — creates a sense of urgency because they are now at risk of losing the opportunity to work with you or met their deadline.

Let me be clear: while this is an extremely effective tool, you must ONLY leverage urgency and scarcity when it is real.

10. Ask For The Sale

Finally, you need to actually ask for the sale!

Asking for the sale isn't always the most comfortable part of the sales conversation, and as a result, a lot of services providers never actually ask for the sale, or ask for a yes to taking the next step — they just wait for the prospect to decide and let them know.

But therein lies the problem. When you leave it on the prospect to make the decision, reach out to you, and take the next step, chances are it won't happen. Life gets in the way. Their business gets in the way. Client work gets in the way. Then suddenly too much time has gone by, they somehow connect with a competitor, and because you are no longer top of mind, they sign a contract with someone else.

The sales process doesn't end until you have a signed contract in hand and a deposit made, and those who quit too early, or stop actively courting a potential new client will lose the sale.

You need to continue to stay in contact, follow up, and stay top of mind consistently until you hear a definitive yes or no.

  • Send them a link to an article or resource that has to do with their project or business
  • Offer to answer any questions they may have
  • Decision by committee? Offer to come in an meet with all stakeholders
  • Send them a quick email with an idea you have for their project to let them know you have been thinking about them and are excited about the possibility of working together
  • Send them a snail mail note thanking them for the opportunity to talk with them about their project

That means staying engaged and top of mind throughout the sales process will become even more critical. The key is finding out which ones work best for you and resonate with your clients the best.

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Jennifer Bourn

Jennifer Bourn is the Creative Director and Digital Strategist for Bourn Creative, a full service design company based in Sacramento, California that specializes in custom, lead generation WordPress sites. With more than 15 years in the design trenches, and 9 years as co-owner of Bourn Creative (with her husband Brian Bourn), Jennifer is an award-winning designer with a penchant for writing, marketing, chocolate, and Legos (yes, Legos not logos). She built her first WordPress site in 2008, fell in love with giving clients the ability to make their own content revisions, and went all in with WordPress pretty much the same day. Now with more than 300 custom WordPress sites under the belt Jennifer now shares her expertise and lessons learned as a dynamic speaker, an avid blogger, and a co-organizer of the Sacramento Meetup Group.

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