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Closing skills: Why the pandemic has made it even harder to close that deal and what to do about it.

*8% of salespeople close 80% of deals. How can you join them?

The pandemic has left even more salespeople with deals stuck in the pipeline, those deals that go so far and then… nowhere? Salespeople miss out on a chance at hitting target and buyers miss out on the positive difference your solution could make to their business.

Unfortunately, this is a familiar scene for salespeople right now

Monday morning. De-brief time. Your manager is asking about that deal, the deal you’ve invested all your recent time and effort into, the same deal that hasn’t progressed, the same deal stuck somewhere between you and your buyer…

What do most salespeople do when they realise weeks have past and ‘that’ deal hasn’t got any closer to a sign on the line?

Typically, they will re-trace the steps of their journey, something like this:

  • Thinking back to initial conversations – Did I miss something?
  • Questioning the client’s motivation – they seemed so keen – has something changed?
  • Replaying the buyers understanding – they said they understood what they needed to do – why haven’t they done it?

Logical? Yes. Effective? Not usually.

***The first quarter of 2020 recorded the lowest deal volume in seven years. 

Sales people urgently need to change their approach. This change needs to start with a shift in perspective and an understanding of the buyer’s experience.

Change perspective to close more deals

Buying was tough even before the pandemic with the average number of deals closed declining year on year. Right now, buyers and their clients are facing revenue challenges like never before, and they’re exhausted by the sheer effort required to manage the chaos of an uncertain and everchanging environment.

As a result, buyers are now more risk averse, more protective of their reputation, slower to make a decision and more sensitive to a salespeople’s motivations. Any interactions they have with salespeople must instil them with trust. A **B2B buyer survey conducted just before the pandemic found that 23% of buyers said they needed to have more confidence in the buying decisions they were making. This need to feel confident in the solution, has only increased, meaning the risk associated with buying your solution has to be clearly outweighed by an inclusive (speaks to all decision makers) results focused proposal. 

It’s time to step into the buyer’s shoes!

Salespeople must change their lens; they need to go back to the beginning and see things through the eyes of their buyers.

Salespeople must take a wider view, buyers aren’t operating in isolation; they are experiencing the constraints of their own business, which post pandemic, has a more complicated decision-making process than ever before.

Salespeople must revisit the methods they use to lead their buyers to ‘Yes’

These 3 areas should be immediately examined:

  1. How am I currently gaining buy-in?

Your client needs to be 100% bought in. They need to believe in the personal value to them of your solution. If you can’t achieve this, any yes will be short-lived.

  1. How am I currently leading them to sell-on?

Your client needs you to lead them through their sell-on journey, they need your proactive help in navigating and teaching the stakeholder group why your solution is the right one.

  1. What type of support does my buyer need?

Your client needs your experience and input, they need fail safe methods that will make the process of selling on easier. The tools you support them with, must help to break down the daunting task of selling your solution into their business. They need methods that focus and organise the steps they need to take.

Closing is still achievable, but the biggest mistake that a salesperson can make is to resist changing their perspective, assume their client is personally bought in and leave them to navigate the buying journey alone.

Training to close more deals: On 30th September 2021, we are running a course on how to close more opportunities. Find out more our training to closing more deals here.

*Rain group
***Data from investment analysts at Dealogic