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Slowing down is the last thing you want when you are trying to close deals. Remember that old adage, “You need to slow down to go faster?”  It applies here.

If we slow down at the beginning of the sales process, and cover all the bases, the end of the sale should go smoother. That is why the best sales hacks happen at the beginning of the sales process.

Here are 10 sales hacks that take time in the beginning, but save time at the end.

1. Create an ideal customer criteria and use it to qualify leads

If you want a higher close ratio, find better prospects. Remember that the marketing department is evaluated on leads delivered.  You are compensated for deals closed.  Don’t waste time on leads that aren’t a good fit. If you want an even better criteria, use data to create it.

2. Manage your funnel

Make a little time everyday for the top of the funnel. The more qualified leads you have coming in the top, the more you are able to focus on leads with a shorter sales cycle or higher payoff. Let’s face it, with nothing coming in the top, you are likely to waste time on leads that won’t close. There are many programs to help you create and manage your funnel. Salesforce is just one.

3. Do your research

What do you need to know about the company, people or industry before you walk in? What has happened in the past that might make them wary? Why are they looking for this solution now? If you don’t have time to do the research properly, there are companies that will do it for you.

4. Understand your customer

You may already know what your customer wants to buy, but do you know what they want to achieve personally and professionally? When you know that, you can present information that is relevant to them.  It will simplify the discussion and keep the customer focused and more engaged.

5. Ask smart questions and listen…really listen

Give your prospects all the time they want to talk. They will probably tell you everything you need to know to close the deal if you let them. Write down what they say, don’t interrupt, and don't plan your answer.

6. Make sure your solution is solving a problem

Tell your prospect if there is a mismatch and see if you can find a work-around. Ask the questions to determine if it is a good fit. Don’t avoid questions just because you don’t want to hear the answers.

7. Watch the client’s signals

Are you in step with them, or have you gotten ahead of them? If you get too far ahead, the sale will slow down.  Ask for clear action steps along the way, so the sale doesn’t get stalled. End each meeting with an agreement on your next action, and an agreed upon date. Send the next calendar invite.

8. Understand their buying process

What is your prospect's timeline? Who will be involved? Who will be affected by the purchase? What processes will the purchase impact? How flexible is the budget?  Who approves the budget? Who will sign the contract?  Will Legal need to review the contract? Create a list of these critical questions and keep them in front of you.

9. Familiarize yourself with the buying checklist

With this list in hand, confirm that you have addressed everything on it.  Determine if there are any items on the checklist that you can’t address. Determine how important they are to the decision. 

10. Prepare all the way through to the closing question

If you have done your homework, you will know what the closing questions need to be.

Get more sales tips in the RingLead ebook, Sphere of Influence Selling: An Inside Sales Approach to Crushing Your Quota.

The author:

RingLead offers a complete end-to-end suite of products to clean, protect and enhance company and contact information, leading to improved organizational efficiency, reliable business intelligence, and maximized ROI on CRM and marketing automation investments.Since 2003 RingLead has helped solve the dirty data problems of large enterprises, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses across the globe.