Having problems with closing...

by kemdev
19 replies
Four days into this week, and I'm sitting on 400 dials. Out of those dials, I'd say at least 50 were either no answer, wrong number, or disconnected. Between the other 350, I've talked to gate-keepers, gotten names of contacts, and secured 3 meetings - 1 via phone and two of which were in-person.

I've failed to close three meetings which I truly believe could have turned into sales, and I'd like to start a discussion to see where I went wrong and explore some avenues I can take to get things back on track.

Phone meeting #1 - I've spoken to this guy three times now, the last contact we had was today. After my first call I explained what I could do, started a dialogue, sent a proposal with three options, and followed-up today to discuss his options. A little about him...
  • stated he was very interested in the services
  • qualified (originally) for price
  • told me today he's gotten at least 6 calls this month from people offering the same services I offer... and he's 100% more inclined to use me than anyone else (although I'm not the cheapest)
When it came to brass tax today, he wasn't ready to make the commitment. He cited that it wasn't in the budget 'right now' but assured it would be within the month. He gave me a fairly lengthy explanation as to why this was the case.

I tried to secure a deposit and payment plan, but after two failed attempts I didn't want to press the issue. This contact has asked me a lot of questions about the service, gave me a ton of buying signals... so I guess my main question is: after already qualifying for price, why is this prospect citing budget as an issue now? Normally a prospect who says 'call in a month' I don't waste my time on... but I get the strong feeling that this prospect doesn't fall into the same category. Am I wrong?

In-store meeting
This is the most frustrating to me. This prospect has already stated interest in my service, we've built up good rapport with each other, I've qualified him for price, and he's even told me flat-out: you've got my business.

But in my meeting yesterday, when it came time for me to pick up the check, he said he needed more time to think about exactly what he wanted on the website, which inventory items he'd like to use for pictures, etc... He also asked me for a hard-copy (printed version) of two websites I've designed.

When I visit again Monday, how can I structure the meeting so that I get all the necessary details from him to get working on the project? He's an older gentleman and websites are wayyyy over his head... so how can I go over details with him so that he's not overwhelmed?

In-store meeting #3
Here, I'm in the same situation as above. Prospect has agreed on price, agreed on service, agreed I'm the best man for the job, and flat out told me: you have my business. This was three weeks ago, and for three weeks she's been "working on getting all the details for the website ready."

As a service provider, how can I assist my clients with getting these details together more quickly without pressing too hard for the sale? I've spent enough time with her to realize that she likes things her way and knows what she wants... but at the same time I don't feel she's educated enough on websites to know exactly what she needs, which could be what's keeping this project from getting started.

When a prospect verbally commits, but isn't ready to sign the check just yet, this business can become pretty frustrating. What can I do in terms of my sales process to make sure that when they say "I want you" my prospects are also ready to sign over a check?


Sorry for the long post... just wanted to get some input on some of the sales situations that keep popping up for me. And as a side note: if you're not dialing now, start tomorrow. You won't regret it.
#closing #problems
  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by kemdev View Post


    Phone meeting #1 - I've spoken to this guy three times now, the last contact we had was today. After my first call I explained what I could do, started a dialogue, sent a proposal with three options, and followed-up today to discuss his options. A little about him...
    [/I]
    I didn't need to read further after this. You don't need help "Closing" (although most people think that's where they lost the customer). You lost them because;
    1) You spread out the sales process over three meetings. You aren't selling jets, you're selling something where 1 call should be plenty.
    2) You explained what you do? What about the client? What about what they want? What about their needs? Did you ask qualifying questions? Did you let them tell you what they have done so far? Did you listen?
    3) Sent a proposal? Why are you forcing the prospect to jump through hoops before they give you money?


    You said;
    ..."he's even told me flat-out: you've got my business."

    That's a lie. He lied to you. You don't have the business. He was being kind as he ushered you out the door. I have heard that hundreds of times. "Man, you have my business....." and then it trails off into nothing. Did they give you a check? Then you have their business.

    There are a couple of cold calling experts here that can, and will...give you the direction you need, quickly and inexpensively. John Durham or Jason Kanigan. There are none better in the world. Pick one, let them help, and get going. That's my best advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

    .
    In general and very quickly as about to go out for a while, but in most cases I have read there you seem to be stating that you are qualifying the price ?

    Not sure that is where I would be taking things, in that for me I would be working harder along the line of solving problems making things easy / better or making them extra money and that where my focus or direction would be to a point where the client now wants you so bad that price is not a real issue or the main focal point.

    Also keep in mind that unless you sharpen up these people will use you like a information and quote machine so maybe with out the direct price qualification work more alond the lines of if we were able to today could we gain you business type questions, and be bang in the face on the that and if they are just kicking tyres or unable to make a call because they need to check this or check that then don't quote them or hand out your info.

    If you do keep down that path you will just feel angry and frustrated, so take the control and put it back into your hands.

    As an example closed many bigger deals this week but one example I quoted in at close to 30K and manged to bring that down to around 24K with a few perks and closed it, not once did price become a qualifier but more fixing a problem.

    Afterwords the client told me that he was only wanting to spend 8K on the job, so clearly fixing his problem and adding value held more miles than price, and that happens most times.

    There are people who will genuinely be bitten by price after you deliver a quote and at that point it may be something like hey look we have some further options but in a soft way you should be able to feel around that during your chat / presentation.
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  • Profile picture of the author workers24hdotcom
    No check= no guarantee that the business owner accepted your offer.

    What did the prospect ask?
    Did you take any of your previous work? Samples?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    1: You need to be telling your prospects in the presentation with authority "This is what needs to happen, its simple".

    This way at the end they arent scratching their head saying 'I will have to think about what I want to do with the site more...", because you already established what needs to happen with them. Its clear, and its simple.

    2: You need to add urgency to your pitch, or a reason to do it "NOW", a limited time offer...

    3: You need to be happy to meet them but not "need" the sale. This way you can confidently work on your own terms, and that confidence will close more deals for you.

    With confidence, you will be able to say "I need a check to get started", and put it in their lap...as if to say "Im serious, are you serious?"

    Ask them to put their money where their mouth is.

    Why do you have this confidence?

    Because you arent desperate.

    How do you get "not desperate"?

    Good question:

    You get not desperate by making 800 calls next week and booking twice the amount of appointments, and having potential customers and meetings coming out of your ears! In fact, you will be a better telemarketer next week, so that same 400 numbers even may yield twice the amount of appointments .

    Lots of appointments makes you "not desperate".

    "You wanna do some serious business Bob? If not I have places to go and people to see...call me when you are ready..."

    By pumping up your prospecting efforts, and maximising the number of opportunities you create for yourself, you will naturally become more confident, and less desperate, and you will make money in the process.

    Within 5-10 presentations you will master it and start closing at 50%.

    Ps. At 3 appointments out of 400 numbers, you are performing like an average telemarketer in training. Next week you should be able to double that with close to the same numbers Im pretty sure.

    400 numbers is about a half a day of straight dialing. Maybe 5 hours. 5-6 appointments is reasonable after you get the hang of it.
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    • Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      With confidence, you will be able to say "I need a check to get started", and put it in their lap...as if to say "Im serious, are you serious?"
      This is it. If he insists over and over that "you have my business," just ask for a check. If he still stalls, you have to ask him why.

      You don't have to be a dick about it, but tell him, "something must be holding you back. What is it?" or "Can you share it with me?"

      If he says something like, "Well, I just want to make sure," say "I'm right here. I'm an expert. What are you unsure about that I can clear up for you?"
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    • Profile picture of the author kemdev
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      I didn't need to read further after this. You don't need help "Closing" (although most people think that's where they lost the customer). You lost them because;
      1) You spread out the sales process over three meetings. You aren't selling jets, you're selling something where 1 call should be plenty.
      2) You explained what you do? What about the client? What about what they want? What about their needs? Did you ask qualifying questions? Did you let them tell you what they have done so far? Did you listen?
      3) Sent a proposal? Why are you forcing the prospect to jump through hoops before they give you money?
      Just to clarify... we spoke once on the phone for about 30 minutes, an emergency came up and we had to set another time to talk. The next time I called he was busy, and the third time we had another conversation for about 20 minutes.

      I qualified him the first time we spoke - found out where he was coming from, what web provider he had used before (YP360), what he needed from me, specifically what I could do for him, etc... The second time I really sat down and spoke with him, it seemed he was qualifying me for HIS business... asking for references, portfolio items, etc... all of which I was able to provide and he seemed satisfied with.

      ...but then, of course, came the issue of budget. But I understand what you're saying, it's very possible that I lost him before budget became an issue.

      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      1: You need to be telling your prospects in the presentation with authority "This is what needs to happen, its simple".

      This way at the end they arent scratching their head saying 'I will have to think about what I want to do with the site more...", because you already established what needs to happen with them. Its clear, and its simple.

      2: You need to add urgency to your pitch, or a reason to do it "NOW", a limited time offer...

      3: You need to be happy to meet them but not "need" the sale. This way you can confidently work on your own terms, and that confidence will close more deals for you.
      I understand what you're saying John. I don't feel that I need these sales... I would just like to know if I'm doing anything in particular that's putting myself in a situation where I need to wait on these prospects.

      Right now I have a more consultative style of selling I guess... I ask a lot of questions about what they'd like, and tell them how I can make it happen for them. I guess once I've already established interest and qualified them though, should I be TELLING them what they need? Instead of waiting on them to figure it out themselves.

      ...and I'm pretty sure I just answered my own question.

      PS - How can I add urgency without conveying to the client that I'm desperate for the sale, or knocking my price lower?
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

        I would just like to know if I'm doing anything in particular that's putting myself in a situation where I need to wait on these prospects.
        In order to answer that question, you need to answer this question.

        At any point, did you ask for payment?

        If your answer is "no" then the answer to your question is "yes".

        If you don't ask for the sale, that gives them permission to string you along.
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        • Profile picture of the author kemdev
          Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

          In order to answer that question, you need to answer this question.

          At any point, did you ask for payment?

          If your answer is "no" then the answer to your question is "yes".

          If you don't ask for the sale, that gives them permission to string you along.
          I asked for the sale 100% - in two cases even offered to take a deposit down. On all three occasions, I was put on the backburner.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

        How can I add urgency without conveying to the client that I'm desperate for the sale, or knocking my price lower?
        Adding urgency doesnt have to convey that. A limited time price can be like "It's a 6 month contract for $1,000 per month, but if you sign up today I will give you a $100 per month discount."

        It's more a matter of "If you make this easy on me and it doesnt require alot of hassle I will give you $1,000 credit for that, but if you make me work for it, Im going to have to charge you full price."

        Business people understand that you dont like to waste your time either, and they respect that you respect your own time.

        They will either pay up or back out. If they back out, then walk out the door, put them on a call back list for two months out... and dont look back til then, some of them will call you back and buy later. In the meantime run your next appointment, and focus on creating more prospects.

        As far as price, and discounting... You could always be charging more....Jack your price up , and then make your current price the new discounted price.

        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        In order to answer that question, you need to answer this question.

        At any point, did you ask for payment?

        If your answer is "no" then the answer to your question is "yes".

        If you don't ask for the sale, that gives them permission to string you along.
        Major SCORE here! This is the most fundamental question!
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      • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
        Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

        or knocking my price lower?
        Again your talking about price as a sales tool, please forget about it, learn that it is only the weak sales people that will fall back on price, you do not want to be one of those, price can be adjusted a little at the end if need be but thats it and should have nothing to do with the sale itself.

        If people want cheap then your not the man to deal with it, cheap is dime a dozen.

        Since we spoke this morning I have closed 2 more sales for a smaller amount / around 8k in both cases price was not a selling factor and in both I quoted more than they were expecting and both paid.

        Do as the guys above suggest and load your bases with appts and then walk and talk like your standing on a hot tin roof, but focus on fixing problems / making a better bottom line / build emotion etc not price, then for you to fix things for them today it will be xyz$ and if they want to just screw you for dirt cheap discount dollars walk away and go next, do not do what many do and pimp yourself or focus on dollars as a selling tool.
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by kemdev View Post

        Right now I have a more consultative style of selling I guess... I ask a lot of questions about what they'd like, and tell them how I can make it happen for them. I guess once I've already established interest and qualified them though, should I be TELLING them what they need? Instead of waiting on them to figure it out themselves.

        ...and I'm pretty sure I just answered my own question.

        PS - How can I add urgency without conveying to the client that I'm desperate for the sale, or knocking my price lower?
        Kemdev; To be honest, this post sends a different message than the first one. And now you sound like you are better equipped.

        Think about a doctor. They ask questions, show concern, make a recommendation, and expect you to follow it. They are selling.
        I love using the word "Recommend". Why? Experts recommend, lackeys are too afraid to.

        You give urgency by making the client feel urgency, not by you conveying urgency. John Durham said "I'm serious. Are you serious?"
        Personally, I think I'm going to use that as is. I know it was not meant to be said literally, but I'd risk it.

        I get them to convey urgency with questions like "Do you believe that this will make your online marketing more profitable?" ("Yes") "If you were ever going to start forcing your online efforts to pay...when would be the best time to start?" I just want them to hear themselves say "Now" or "Right away".
        I also want anyone else in the room to hear them say it.

        "I need a check" is one of the most powerful things you can say. I say it like I just said "I need a stamp". Does the prospect feel like the last 100 clients gave you a check when you asked for it? They need to.

        You said: "I understand what you're saying John. I don't feel that I need these sales... I would just like to know if I'm doing anything in particular that's putting myself in a situation where I need to wait on these prospects."

        I think that may be it.

        "I'm serious. Are you serious?" Man, I love that. I might try that as my end to one of my speeches.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rearden
    What helped me was to implement a "Prospect Management System" Pipeline to manage your expectations.

    Here's the basic structure:

    Opportunities: These are prospects, suspects, leads, referrals

    Appointments Without A Next Step: You've presented your product but do not have a clear next step because all the information wasn't available. These are one sliver above an "Opportunity" in quality.

    Verbal Closes: These are people that agree to do business with you, given your terms and conditions match theirs. Ultimately 50% of this business goes away, so only count on truly closing 50% of all Verbal Closes.

    Contract Signed: This category is for everyone you've collected a deposit for; assume some small percentage will not fully follow through (they don't pay the last deposit after paying the first, chargebacks, etc.)

    Closed: Contract signed, all deposits collected, product delivered.

    The reason I suggest this system is because I got pissed by a lot of life insurance prospects who declared with utmost sincerity (I thought) they would buy from me in a month or so. I banked on their word (which these days is equivalent to used toilet paper) and got pissed when they backed out.

    The system accounts for that and sets you up to expect prospects to fall through the cracks.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    You need to create a cue (Q) (qualification) sheet and go through it like a doctor would when he is trying to diagnose a patient. Your prospect will view you as a real expert then and defer to your obvious superior knowledge.

    My q sheets usually have around 10 to 20 questions depending on the product. The purpose is to uncover the problems (that you are later going to provide the solutions for)....or translate that to uncovering the symptoms that you are going to diagnose a treatment for.

    It sounds like you are diagnosing with knowing all the symptoms at the moment. When you spend a LOT more time examining the symptoms (qualifying the problems) you'll suddenly find yourself closing (diagnosing) a lot more easily than right now.

    If you need help designing such a sheet/system then pm me and I'll send you an example.
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  • Profile picture of the author Noah Fleming
    You don't have a relationship with the buyer. You're the same as the last 75 people who came through the door and called.
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  • Profile picture of the author Seantrepreneur
    I would suggest you start making it seem like they need your services immediately. Make them feel that if they don't sign up with you they are losing out on customers and profit.

    Do you explain the benefits of working with you? Not the features either, the benefits. The features are (using SEO as an example) you'll get them ranked on the first page of Google so more ppl well contact them. The benefits are because of that they'll make more money. See the difference?

    If you present it to them like that, they'll find money in the budget. There's almost always money in the budget to make more money.

    Good luck!

    Sean
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    • Profile picture of the author RyanLester
      I've got to say, this is one the best threads ive read in a while. great questions by the OP!

      Like Rus Sells, I MIGHT NEED SOME POPCORN!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    You're not having problems with closing...

    You're having problems with qualifying.

    First, you are desperate for the sale.

    I appreciate you letting us know the details of each situation.

    In #1, you sent a proposal after one conversation. Did you have an up front contract in place that they would review it and say Yes or No within a certain amount of time?

    Had you discussed the proposal and its options with them prior to sending it? Or was it a surprise to them?

    Try this: don't send a written proposal unless you know the answer is going to be Y-E-S.

    And then he blew you off by telling you that you're a commodity.

    OK, I'd put this guy in a spot where he either buys or you move on. No more chasing.

    #2, why does the guy want a print-out of your web design? Is it because he doesn't have a computer to view an image? Or does he want to take your design and shop it around in his own low-tech way?

    All those details he wants to mull over...those happen after the process is started. You need to tell him that. If he wants your expertise, he has to get on your playing board.

    Again, set a time limit for you to hear from him or move on. A short one. If he comes back later, that's fine; but you're not going to waste any more energy on these people.

    #3, ask the question flat-out. In fact, I would do that for all three of these guys.

    "Mr. Prospect, you've told me you like what I have to offer, and that you want to move ahead with this project. I feel like it's stalling here, though...what is it that you need to see to get your project on my schedule? Otherwise, I'm afraid I'm going to have to commit my time to other projects."

    If they come back with the "Oh well, I guess you'll just have to go do the work for the other people," then you know exactly where you stand; don't you?

    Or you get a list from them of items they need tick marks beside. Once that happens, you ask for the check. There's no reason not to move ahead anymore.

    Be Tough! Don't let them or yourself off the hook.

    It is better to Qualify Out and move on than to waste time chasing people who are not ready to buy.

    Now go watch my video on what to do with those gatekeepers you run into. You could be getting a whole lot more appointments out of those calls you're making.
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    • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      You're not having problems with closing...

      You're having problems with qualifying.

      First, you are desperate for the sale.

      .
      More a combination of both, defiantly lacking the harder close as mentioned with the consultive type approach, and although this works and can be done it also can lead to being all nice and polished and cute n cuddly, to a point where asking for the sale is often is weakened to take deposit down, and all to soft and timed wrong rather just ask for the full payment and if that falls over then swing to a deposit down and close on that.

      In all the OP is very close to slamming some closes, there is a learning curve and it looks like from the help here that will happen soon.

      Build some value into your presentation, put some benefits into it, fix peoples problems or bottom line, place your self as the standout option and then do not dilly dally with a meek can I get a small deposit down, slam dunk with a home run while looking them in the eye and do it with full confidence.

      A tip on your lead sheet after each meet spend a few minutes writing on the back, what went right and what went wrong and write down why those things happened and become a student of the process, go home and create a spreadsheet or draw up on a big white board a matrix of your outcomes, look for patterns and start to work on improving it.

      You will notice common things and begin to put the puzzle together.

      This week I was on the beat doing what your talking about and I will share the results.

      13 appointments - 12 closed sales - sold in the many tens of thousands - put in my own pocket this week over 6.5K for a little under 20 hours work.

      Stay focused and it will turn for you and if you were to apply the great feedback from some of the other top guys here it is sure you will start to close a few deals next week and from there your confidence and skills will grow and you will be kicking goals from there on in.
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  • Profile picture of the author lamour11
    I think that you should maybe consider to work on your introduction and qualify before anything else.
    First, start thinking like your clients. Market to your prospects from their perspective, and you’ll never forget that:

    1. No one likes to be sold, but nearly everyone likes to buy.


    2. People do things for their own reasons, not yours.


    3. People buy from you because they know you, like you and trust you.


    4. People make buying decisions based on emotions, not facts.
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