Earlier this week, Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline came and went, marking an annual milestone in the season where contending teams across the league strike bold last-minute deals to load up for the stretch run. As usual, closers were highly coveted commodities at this year’s deadline.
There is a certain mystique in the game surrounding that label. While every pitcher plays a role in helping his club emerge victorious, there is added pressure for the closer, who comes in to protect slim leads in the final inning. It’s his job to slam the door shut and secure the win. If he fails, it hurts, and his entire squad feels the pain.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. The highest-performing salespeople are consistent closers, and can identify with the stakes faced by baseball’s bullpen clinchers.
Closing deals in sales was the subject of a recent piece from sales training expert Grant Cardone over at Entrepreneur. He offers three distinct reasons why you might not be bringing sales home, and all have to do with body language or mannerisms.
Cardone calls out these behaviors as barriers for closing a deal:
- Not communicating well. Many sales reps spend ample time practicing and mentally scripting the beginnings of calls or meetings, because the intro is more predictable and easier to plot out in our minds. But being clear, cogent, and convincing when decision-time arrives is vital, and should factor heavily in your preparation.
- Not making eye contact. Some people naturally make eye contact throughout conversations. Others are not so lucky, and it can be difficult to notice it in the moment. Looking someone in the eyes while finalizing your pitch is crucial for making your points hit home. Cardone suggests recording yourself to ingrain the habit.
- Not sitting down. Cardone calls this out as a policy even seasoned sales pros often stray from. Remaining seated while going over the final terms and negotiations conveys calm and confidence. Standing and moving around conveys uncertainty or unrest.
These are great pointers to keep in mind, but they are really only relevant to the salesperson who is closing deals face-to-face. Since many B2B transactions now take place online, we thought we would add a few more tips for the digital sales pro, tasked with completing a sale solely through interactions on the Web.
Tips for Closing Deals Online
Make sure you’re engaging the right decision-maker. It’s a tale that plays out all too often in B2B sales: a rep is working with a member of the purchasing committee and seemingly has them ready to sign off, but there’s one problem — it’s not their call. Meanwhile, a higher-up has already decided on another solution. You want to be in front of that top dog who has the final say, so do your research ahead of time to understand the company’s structure and make sure you engage the right people from the outset.
Create urgency, but not too much. There is a delicate balance here. It’s savvy to provide some sort of incentive to move things along, and compel a buyer to commit, but you don’t want to overdo it. These people already deal with enough stress in their professional lives, and won’t be eager to take on more of it. Find subtle ways to nudge them across the finish line.
Provide testimonials, customer reviews, or recommendations from connections. Social proof is a potent motivator. If you’re dealing with skepticism at the tail end of your dealings, don’t hesitate to send examples of positive experiences others have had with your offering. If the prospect has a mutual LinkedIn connection who’s been a happy customer in the past, that’s gold.
Cancel out the competition. “Anticipated regret” is a component of decision theory, a psychological construct wherein a person struggles to choose between two options due to a sense of impending regret over not selecting the alternative. This can be a powerful (albeit subconscious) influencer, and you can overcome it by downplaying rival products during the home stretch. Save some of your product or service’s best direct advantages to pitch in the final stages, and they might be more effective in getting you over the hump.
Now, Go Get That Coffee
These strategies can help you thrive amid late-game pressure and convert your “saves” at a higher rate. By stepping up your closing performance, you too will become a coveted commodity, and a cherished star of your team.