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4 Steps to Take When Closing Your Next Deal

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 2, 2017 6:30:00 PM

Closing a deal is the ultimate reward for all of the research, preparation, and follow up that goes into building new relationships and maintaining a high level of client satisfaction.

Every now and then, it’s important to remind yourself to go back to the basics of selling to ensure that you’re not simply closing a deal, but instead, opening a new relationship that has future growth potential.

So, when the time is right and you’re ready to close your next deal, remember these four tips: 

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(SLA) Service Level Agreement

SLA stands for Service Level Agreement; in other words this is the document that outlines the timing and delivery of the products and/or services you will provide. This is a critical point in the sale because this is where all expectations need to be set and understood by both sides.

When you close a deal, it’s not enough simply to get the sale. You want to be able to leverage the sale in the future. To do this, you need to confirm with the customer that he or she feels your level of service is superior and that you did more than simply meet the minimum requirement. So, when formulating your close, review what the minimum deal is and then determine what else you can add. Be sure that you have added in enough elements to your deal to get that agreement.  

TRY THIS:

Review a sale you are closing now or have just closed. Decide what you can add (product, service, conditions terms, etc.) to enhance the service level without increasing cost to you.

On-Boarding Process

Sales continue even after the close.  As the seller, you are the “face” of the sale to the customer. So, the customer will always look to you to explain and validate every step of the implementation even after the close. Therefore, meet with your internal team and carefully review who does what, when, why and how. Then, repeat the process with the customer explaining who on your team will be taking over the implementation on your side. Be sure to always point out the value of each person taking charge of the steps in the implementation. This builds rapport and helps pave the way for future sales.

TRY THIS:

Think of a current sale and review your on-boarding process for the account once you close the deal. Use a tool like the following to think through all the steps in on-boarding. This will help you be ready to both explain the process to the customer and to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Future Opportunities

A single sale for a single deal may have a finite point. However, the superior seller knows that each successful sale leads to another... and another…. You can leverage past success into future success by ensuring that the job you do with the first sale is not only adequate but superior, beyond expectations – in effect, stellar. This way, you develop equity within the account and draw upon that equity to pursue one successful sale after another.

TRY THIS:

Review a current or upcoming sale. Review the terms of the offering. Find something that will help the sale exceed expectations – something you or your company will do, a “deal sweetener,” etc…

Strategizing the Right Time to Ask for Additional Business

 A major goal of the consultative seller is to position him or herself as the “conduit” of a range of products and services that address multiple functions within the account. This process is called “evergreening.” To successfully evergreen an account, you have to be extremely observant to what you see and hear and what you can deduce to identify opportunities all the time. Then, when you spot an opportunity, you move on to that one if your present sale is going well. This way, the present sale “evergreens” into additional business.  Account selling is not linear.

TRY THIS:

Review all your active accounts. For each, think of additional opportunities and note how you think you can transition from your present deal to the future opportunity even before you close the first one. Use a tool like the one below for your analysis.

Conclusion

Before closing your next deal, take these four things into consideration and utilize them to your advantage by ensuring that you: set expecations up front, properly on-board new clients by clearly outlining how your product or service will be implemented, understand what a future opportunity might look like, and strategize the timing of asking your client for additional business.

How to ask for the deal without sounding too

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated.

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Topics: sales, training, tips, managing, manager, client, cold calling, building client relationships, strategy, deal, service level agreement, client on-boarding

Special Delivery: How to Make Your Value Proposition Stick

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Jan 24, 2014 11:30:00 AM

By Buff Parham/Parham & Associates LLC

A carefully crafted value proposition is of no value if the recipient doesn’t see the value!make_money_keyboard_button

Far too often, we take the “Field of Dreams” approach that assumes that our prospective buyer will easily recognize the benefits or our proposal and act accordingly. This leads to a tendency to hold back when we present, for fear of insulting that person’s intelligence. “I’ve made this so obvious that they’re bound to get it, and make the desired commitment”—famous last words!

Think of your value proposition as the first draft of an agreement.

If you can look at it that way, then it’s only natural to work toward getting buy-in on each and every aspect of your proposition. The only safe assumption is that your client doesn’t perceive what you’re proposing to be of compelling value. If you start from there, then the presentation becomes a process of building layer upon layer of agreement with your client about the contents of your value proposition.

The best way to find out if a client agrees with your proposition is to ask them!

While that may sound incredibly simplistic, it’s absolutely true. For a variety of reasons, we as salespeople tend to “work around the edges” as opposed to asking direct questions about the validity of what we’re proposing. Not asking a direct question allows us to delude ourselves into thinking that the client is buying what we’re selling. That feels good, but can lead to a very uncomfortable outcome. Checking for understanding and agreement should be done in a tactful and professional manner—and by doing so we show that we salespeople really do care what our clients think!

A well-delivered value proposition stimulates a great conversation instead of a bad argument.

The easiest way to avoid the latter is to not think about who’s “right” or who’s “wrong”. This is when the spirit of “give and take” should be top of mind. Sometimes we act like a defense attorney delivering his/her closing remarks in a jury trial, railing on and on about the rightness of our case. In sales, we can be absolutely “right” and have nothing material to show for it. Most sales managers are more concerned about how many orders we’ve written as opposed to how many arguments we’ve won.

Success happens when your value proposition becomes your client’s value proposition.

The goal of your presentation is “transfer of ownership” of the proposal from you to your customer. There will be a discernible change in their choice of words when that “golden moment” occurs. Listen for it! As soon as you hear it, start talking about it, recognizing that the proposal has a new happy home! Now we begin to reinforce the idea that our buyer has made the right decision. And don’t be offended if your client makes it sound as if your proposal was their idea—that really was the original goal, right?

Here’s to great delivery of great value propositions!

About the Author:

Digital Media Training is excited to announce the addition of Buff Parham, a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales. Buff will be contributing a new blog article to Digital Media Training once per month about various sales and sale management topics. Stay tuned!

Connect with Buff via LinkedIn
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
Follow @BuffParham

 

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Topics: sales, business, building client relationships, value proposition, sales advice

How Valuable Are You?

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Oct 29, 2013 12:00:00 PM

Let’s hope that the title of this week’s message doesn’t scare you! No doubt that you are valuable to your family and friends, and hopefully to your employer! Our focus will be how valuable you are to your clients. Take a moment to answer the following: how would your clients complete this sentence?


(Your name) is valuable to me because he/she ______________________________________.

Brings me donuts? Buys great lunches? Always gives me the price I want? Tells funny stories? Has never let me down? Now those aren’t necessarily bad responses, but they lack “staying power.” And who says that your competition isn’t the master of providing donuts, lunches, rounds of golf, etc.? The ideal answer indicates that you provide significant and consistent value to all of your clients!

perfect_glowNo question that the ideal answer is a combination of both subjective and objective elements. We can’t quantify every bit of value that you provide to your clientele. But they can’t either! So there’s room for presenting and projecting yourself as a value provider as opposed to an order taker or an annoying pest. We also need objective measures of how much value you are providing…and that’s also up to you. If you think that this “providing value” thing is just one big hassle, think again. Being perceived as an effective and consistent provider of value is the best job security in the world. It will also put some extra dollars in your pocket and a smile on your boss’ face!


Never assume that you necessarily know what your clients are expecting from you.

In order to provide value, you need to first find out what your client perceives to be valuable and whether or not you can deliver it. Your client’s needs are ever changing, so probing about this issue with a “constant conversation” is incredibly important. Ask yourself right now about how much you know about your clients’ “burning issues.” Small talk is nice, but delving into the critical issues with them should be a part of every conversation and/or email exchange. You’re the doctor who’s always on call, seeking new solutions for whatever ails your clients!


Maybe this is the “ultimate litmus test” for how valuable your clients think you are

how often are you asked for serious advice about their business issues that have little or nothing to do with media? How often are you asked about pending decisions about new locations, new product lines, etc.? Clients only ask those who they trust and whose opinions and expertise they perceive to be valuable.


Before you can make real headway with selling value, you need to be perceived as valuable too.

There must be real continuity between the perceived worth of the seller and the perceived value of what’s being sold. It’s as simple (and as complicated) as that. Far too often, there is a disconnect that kills a sale because the client doesn’t see much value in the seller. As consumers, most of us have declined to make certain deals because we didn’t think much of the other party.


The internal “gut check” I’ve just described is a first and necessary step to take before developing effective and compelling value propositions.

That’s where we’ll go next month. In the meantime, think about tangible ways that you can enhance how valuable all of your clients perceive you to be! I promise that it will be time well spent…

 

About the Author:

buff_parham
Digital Media Training is excited to announce the addition of Buff Parham, a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales.

Buff believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!

Buff will be contributing a new blog article to Digital Media Training once per month about various sales and sale management topics. Stay tuned!

Connect with Buff via LinkedIn
Check out Buff’s Blog at www.BuffParham.com
Follow @BuffParham

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Topics: business, creating value, client trust, building client relationships