hether you’re a newbie to sales or have been in the game for a while, you’re probably still looking for ways to close more sales. To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a list of 14 easy adjustments you can make to your sales pitch that’ll get more customers to “yes”.
Mistake #1: Talking too much.
In this case, less is more. Michael Nova, director of Nova Custom Printing, has watched salespeople literally talk themselves out of a deal.
“Your buyer’s ready to buy and as you continue to push, they lose interest.”
- Michael Nova, director of Nova Custom Printing
“Lay out your case and then stop speaking. Otherwise, you don’t look confident. Just ask for the sale, and then listen. If your buyer has any objections, you can address them. Silence is golden,” he says.
Experts also suggest throwing out your sales script, especially if you’re a seasoned seller. “Sales calls have a dedicated grip on sales scripts, which are pre-packaged and often lack emotion and depth,” says Annie P. Ruggles, founder of The Non-Sleazy Sales Academy and host of the podcast, Too Legitimate to Quit. “These scripts take up the majority of the call and force the client to answer, unheard. This simply does not work.”
Mistake #2: Not creating urgency.
If you don’t discover problems, challenges and opportunities for your client, you can’t use these findings to create urgency. “Buyers are motivated when you can solve their pain and problems, and urgency is another strong force to motivate action,” says JP Hunt, co-founder of InkSoft. “Pair problem identification with urgency and you have the perfect formula for closing sales opportunities faster.”
Here are some of Hunt’s tips for creating urgency:
- Use production and shipping lead times to get purchase commitment sooner.
- Use approvals (art, quote/estimate) to drive urgency. For example, you can say, “Once you approve, I can lock in production dates to ensure we can meet your deadline.”
- Set a clear agenda and list of expectations. Then, make sure you following through.
Mistake #3: Giving them too many options
When you present too many choices, your customers might overthink what’s in front of them—rather than placing the order. “Too many options creates confusion in their mind, and they need to take a step back to weigh the options,” Nova says. “Give them a few key choices so they can get to yes faster.”
Mistake #4: Leaving dollars on the table with existing customers
The easiest way to drive more revenue is to monetize existing customers and relationships. “Cross-selling and upselling are simple ways to create revenue expansion, but so many salespeople fail to invest the effort to present upsells to their customers,” Hunt says. “When presented and executed properly, upsells add more value to the customer by enhancing the end products. You almost have a responsibility to share these enhancements with customers. They’ll appreciate the options and be educated and empowered to direct the outcomes of their branded merchandise.”
Mistake #5: Not asking enough questions
Nova uses questions to make sure what he’s suggesting to the client solves the problem. “It doesn’t do either of us any good if I can't solve their problem,” he says, “so I need to delve into the details of exactly what they need, when they need it, and exactly how they’ll use the product. I put myself in their position treating them as I’d like to be treated.”
Mistake #6: Arguing objections
Ruggles say this is the sleaziest of all sleazeball tactics, and it's glorified in the "greed is good" school of sales. “It's been called many names like ‘tear-down selling,’ but what it really is a form of emotional manipulation and gaslighting,” Ruggles says. “Invalidate the objection, and razzle-dazzle the client into saying yes. Instead, we should look for the truth in objections and speak directly to that truth. Whatever we’re selling requires commitment on their part—more than money, energy, trust, time—and to shoot down their objections and strong-arm their choices disrespects that balance.”
Mistake #7: Overcomplicating your pricing
About 30% of small business owners say that competing with low-cost providers is their biggest selling challenge. If you want to avoid this, don’t present an overly complicated pricing matrix and pricing logic.
“Consumers don’t understand (and don’t care) about the variable costs and pricing involved with screen printing and other decoration methods,” Hunt says. “They want quality branded merchandise with an easy buying experience. So, when pricing products, don’t overshare too much product pricing information, as this could introduce confusion which drives uncertainty. Uncertainty is a surefire way to kill sales opportunities.”
Pricing shouldn’t break down and present setup fees, printing pricing, and product pricing. Instead, Hunt recommends simplifying with per-unit pricing and a subtotal with any discounts (quantity discounts and any other discounts) as a distinct line item to call out cost savings.
Mistake #8: Selling ‘ink printed on apparel
Don’t focus on the production and manufacturing of custom-branded merchandise, rather than the solution you’re selling. “Instead of the mentality of ‘we print ink on apparel,’ which creates a commodity framework, take the approach of, ‘We help brands and organizations look their best with high-quality custom branded merchandise,’” Hunt says. “This shifts to the value your products and services offer customers, rather than on your cost and markup to make stuff. This may seem like a simple concept, but perception is everything.”
Mistake #9: Not offering “perks” for working with you
Nova’s number one technique to get a sale is to offer a customer several perks that show them they’re getting a great deal. “I’ll give them two quantity options with the higher quantity at a discount,” he says. For instance:
- 10,000 units = $2,500 (25 cents per unit)
- 20,000 units = $3,000 (15 cents per unit)
“So, for another $500, they’re getting twice as many units, which is a great deal. When I point out the savings over several orders, the client immediately sees the benefit.”
Mistake #10: Using rush orders to your mutual advantage
Sometimes, Nova meets a prospect who’s got a rush order and is very concerned with meeting the deadline. If that happens, he tells them he’ll check his shop’s schedule and call them right back. “When I call, I tell them the price and that we can meet the deadline, but we need their artwork immediately,” he says. “They’re so happy we can meet the deadline, they almost never quibble on price. Quick caveat: I don't take advantage of this to charge an exorbitant amount, because that's just not ethical, but it helps close the sale, as long as your price is reasonable.”
Mistake #11: Trying to get a big win, instead of small ‘yeses’
Instead of focusing on the big yes that seals the deal, Hunt suggests trying to score a lot of “little yeses.” “It’s best to seek many points of agreement throughout the sales process and conversation vs. going for the single big yes at the end of the conversation,” he says. “Tie-downs are a simple strategy for seeking these little yeses. Tie-downs are questions that you ask to seek agreements.”
Here are the types of questions that Hunt suggests that you ask during the conversation:
- Are you excited about the product and decoration ideas I’ve presented?
- Would you agree that the branded products we’ve curated and presented match your goals and solve your problem?
- Are we aligned from a budget perspective?
- Are you ready to hear about the next steps?
“These little yeses help to confirm that a salesperson has done their job and that no real objections are left unanswered,” Hunt says.
Mistake #12: Not asking for the sale
Actually, you should be asking for the sale with confidence. Hunt suggests saying something like this: “We’re really excited about your event and about serving you as a new customer. We’re confident that we understand your needs and goals and we know we can exceed your expectations and execute. Can we earn your business?”
Hunt recommends not confusing being confident and direct, with being pushy. “If a prospect isn’t ready to commit, and they say so, this allows you to address any real and outstanding objections or concerns,” he says.
Mistake #13: Not giving your prospect breathing room
“Many people go for the close too soon,” says Shavon Jones, a sales trainer, coach, speaker and author. “Give your B2B prospects an opportunity to get comfortable that you’re legit and your offering is a fit for them.” She suggests after you’ve had a great sales conversation, invite your prospect to take a day or two to do their research. Then, set up a follow-up call for 24 or 48 hours later.
“Once the pressure is off, you’d be surprised how many people will close right then,” Jones says. “Others may want to think, but if your offering is right for them they’ll close at the follow-up call. It’s also not uncommon to get an email before the follow-up call saying, ‘Let’s do it!’”
Mistake #14: Not sharing social proof
At the bottom of every quote Nova sends a client, he includes a partial client list of logos, so they know his clients are major corporations. “This is great social proof that shows you do good work for well-known clients,” he says.
Your Top ‘Closing’ Takeaways
Hopefully, you’ve recognized one or more areas where you can improve your sales game in a flash. By making small adjustments to the way you approach your sales pitches and conversations, you’ll start noticing that your moving more clients towards giving you the order. The best part is that as a result, you’ll also be creating a better overall experience for your customers too, which is great for brand loyalty.