Archive for February, 2016

Are You Happy With Your Closing Ratio?

Monday, February 8th, 2016

by Susan Novicki

It may not seem possible but we are almost halfway through first quarter. And developmentally we should have enough in the pipeline to be pacing to hit our first quarter numbers. Are you closing what you thought you would be at this point in the year? I was on a call this morning with a client and we were talking about how everyone was pacing. Stop and think for a minute, how are you pacing? Are you happy with your closing ratio? Do you know your closing ratio? It’s hard to track your pacing without it.

As salespeople the best adrenaline rush we get is when we close a big sale – that is the “high” that makes us love what we do although sometimes the anticipation leading up to it can be brutal. And many times salespeople have a difficult time actually asking for the sale. If you have done a great job researching the company and industry, landscaped the decision-makers and conducted a great needs analysis to understand the true objectives of the client, the close will happen - but you DO have to ask for it. At the end of the presentation do you ask “When do you want to start?” So many times people stumble around the close, similar to asking for the budget, because they are afraid that they will hear “no”. But you need to get a clear indication of the next step. So look at your closing ratio. Are you making plenty of calls and presentations but they are not closing?

If you are unhappy with your closing ratio ask yourself these questions:

Was this a good prospect in the first place? How much research did you do on the company, their industry and the economic outlook for them? How much money are they spending in the market? How are they faring in relation to their competitors?

Were you clear on what they really wanted to accomplish? Many times we fail to uncover a need and hear what the client is saying because we are too busy talking about how great our stations and websites are – the most efficient media schedules in the world will not necessarily accomplish our client’s objectives. Remember the process to uncover a great homework assignment. Learning to ask the right questions and listening to the answers will result in an opportunity to present a concept to the client that will meet their objectives. And it will save you time and make you money! One of my favorite questions when it comes to asking for the close and they are not willing to sign off immediately is “on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being that you are signing off on the proposal, where do you see this? What are your thoughts on getting this to a 10?” You may think this sounds brash, or even cheesy, but it works and it can give you great insight into why you are not closing this immediately. Again, ask for the sale! If the answer is a 7, ask what you need to do to get it to a 10. They are forced to tell you why they are not closing and what you need to do – believe me, this works.

Did you know everyone that was involved with the decision-making process? There are times the person we are talking to tells us that they are the decision-maker but when the time comes to close you hear “this looks great, let me run it by my boss.” UGH – to avoid this, earlier in the process ask “is there anyone else that would need to approve a program like this?” or “walk me through the process of how your company would make the decision to run a program like this.”

Did you use all of your resources to close? Are you asking your managers for help with closing if needed? Are you using Morrison and Abraham? If you need help, then ask! Another perspective is always helpful.

Make sure you are not letting the fear of asking the tough questions get in your way of closing more business. Know when to walk away if you are wasting time on clients that will never close. Listen and create integrated programs to answer the objectives of the client. And have fun – a big close is the best “high”!