Why you aren't closing more deals.
Over the course of my years of negotiating, both in politics and business, I have seen the highs and lows of closing a deal.
Here are the typical categories of the ever twisting vortex of closing a deal:
You have your Apologetic One
You have your Seller One
You have your Non-Seller One
You have your Emotional One
You have your Lost One
Each their own strengths and weaknesses. We will dive into that here in a moment.
The very first thing you HAVE TO DO is start to value your time. I have worked with branding agents over the last couple of years. This is a hard thing to do because they all sell the same things but in completely different ways. It is a service that is already more challenging than a product. To top all that off they have personality strengths and weaknesses. It absolutely does not matter what category you fall under ever single one has to follow the cardinal rule. Your time is the most valuable thing.
Well, do you attain this philosophy as a habit?
First, let's identify who you are.
1. The apologetic one. The agent says things like "the client are just super busy but he wants to do it." Or maybe you say "I think I wasn't clear on how important the tool is so I am going to have a third meeting with him to try and give more details." This person always blames either themself or finds a logical excuse to protect the client. This gives them false hope and makes them feel like a nice person for blaming ownership of a failed deal.
2. The seller. Oh boy, he loves to talk and talk and talk. he has an abundance of energy and/or the information and believes everyone would love this thing if they just knew all the facts. The truth of the matter no HUMAN cares about facts they care about how you make them feel. The seller is typically very pushy and scares away authentic clients or talks over their clients rarely listening to what the client actually wants from the meeting. the client feels unheard, disrespected, and uncomfortable.
3. The Non-Seller. The do anything, say anything, or go anywhere that doesn't look or sound like a seller. Completely turned off at the ideas of coming across as a salesperson they are never direct with their objective and/or tool. They waste an abundance of time in a meeting beating around the bush or allowing the client to lead by not wanting to push the conversation forward. Very knowledgeable and most likely the most educated however unable to know when to say what information in the challenge with overthinking the situation constantly.
4. The emotional one. This one is a hard one to beat. They believe in what they do with full conviction. It does not matter if this person has known the prospect for 5 minutes or has been grooming for 5 months they take rejection very personally. usually takes an enormous amount of time to bounce back in between prospects and rarely ever has more than one case at a time. Giving full attention to every person who walks through the door and becomes personally vested in their story.
5. The Lost One. This person has no desire to learn any additional or new material. They fixate on what everyone owes them and rarely sees any encounter with humility. As they process rejection it is with irate anger. This person is rarely prepared for a meeting. They find value in their own time but not others. There is a need for entitlement and usually has a high turn around rate in every job they have managed to acquire.
Regardless of which category you fall under and what downfall is listed under that category your biggest hurdle might also be a strength.
Here is the formula every meeting should follow using the exact details of this menu:
(1st 15 min) LISTEN. Ask "What" and "Tell Me More" questions only. Be a diligent listener and do not interrupt the client. Ask questions like "What are some goals you might have?" "Tell me more about your current situation?" "Tell me more about what it is you do?"
(The 2nd 15 min) DEFINE. Define a product or solution to solve the concerns exposed in the 1st 15 minutes. Do not give a broad idea of possibilities, do not change your mind, and definitely do not apologize through over-explanation. You will confuse the client and leave them feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. You would not want to go to a doctor, explain your symptoms, and have the doctor say "well it can be anything you want it to be." You would want them to define the problem and give solutions whether it be medication or surgery. No one wants to hear I don't know or hear you guess. Therefore, if you need more time say "I am going to sit down and DESIGN a portfolio you will love." Then IMMEDIATELY set a time and date for a follow-up appointment. Do not say l"et me get back to you" or "maybe we can meet again next week to discuss." You will find it near impossible to get them back on the line. Use a system like Calendly to make sure they see the reminder for the follow up on their phone and/or email before they even leave your office.
(The 3rd 15 min) GATHER. You will need to start gathering the information necessary for an application. If the client begins to halt you know they are not ready. That means STOP. You can meet for another 3 hours they are not going to be more ready. you will only have waisted another 3 hours. If they don't want to keep going. Politely say "when you are ready to move forward let me know. I have another meeting I need to prepare for but thank you for taking the time to come in."
(The 3rd 15 min) FINALIZE. You will be doing 1 of three things. 1. Setting a follow-up. 2. Taking an application. or 3. Cutting your losses.
In closing the deal whatever you do DO NOT use why? questions. The client will immediately become defensive and back out abruptly. When you were a child you heard Why questions in a negative way.
"Why did you go outside when I told you not to?"
"Why are you still in bed when I woke you up 30 minutes ago?"
No one wants to hear "Why are you not willing to sign today?" It sets a negative tone and makes it easier to say NO. instead use statements like "Would it be unreasonable to get you to leave a review before you leave today?" They would have to say "No it is not unreasonable" instead of "Yes I will." It is much easier to say No than it is to say Yes.
The client, much like an attendee at a church on a Sunday, can only really absorb what is said in the first 45 minutes. Anything longer than that you will lose them.
Notice that in all the steps I never once talk about what the 5 categories would do differently because regardless of what you intend to do naturally you need to turn that off. It may feel unnatural at first. You may feel oddly maneuvering. That just means you need more practice. Like a kid that has never swum it feels like your drowning until you get the hang of it. Rehears on family or friends. Practice being a listener. Ask your wife Why and What questions. Who knows might help your marriage. Left to solve base on immediate information and not sell based on the product you want to push. Absorb knowledge but don't talk over the client's head. Keep to the timeline and be in control of the conversation.
You got this.