How familiar is this scenario? You had a great first call earlier in the year with a stakeholder that is fully qualified to buy. As you continued the discussion, you realized that budgets and end-of-year considerations were your best chance to tip the scales in your favor. So you set up a closing call in Q4.
And then, nothing…
When you call back in Q4, you find that the stakeholder has already forgotten your name and service, and the rapport that you built was not enough to keep the deal from sinking. Since you assumed that the deal would close, you’re now sitting below your quota, struggling to come up with a deal to fill in the gap.
The reality is not that your pitch was wrong, but that you forgot to instill a deep sense of urgency! Urgency, the idea that your prospect must adapt your solution as soon as possible to succeed, is an important tool in the sales kit. Yet, it tends to get forgotten when a pitch goes well. During Q4 in particular, not relating this urgency in your pitch makes it likely that the sale will never close – research by the Sales Benchmark Index notes that 58% of qualified leads end in no decision in Q4, because most companies choose to do nothing. You need to learn where urgency is lacking, and how to make it a core part of your story – you’re fighting the status quo, not your competitors.
1. Don’t let a good pitch disable your sale.
It is easy to take a great call, with great rapport, and get overexcited when you reach the end. In doing so, you think of the prospect as a comrade, and scale back the effort you put into closing. Learn how to look objectively at any sales interaction, training yourself to follow through and instill urgency even when it seems to already be there – you need to clearly answer, “why now?” Train your reps to use this formula to success as the year closes.
2. Data, data, data.
While you shouldn’t overwhelm a pitch with statistics, the information that leads to a close is data that distinctly and reliably demonstrates that a market shift is underway. If you confidently relate statistics that provide an insight and undermine the status quo, you put your prospect in a position to want to change…now.
3. Use psychology to your advantage.
The ideas of CRED (Consensus, Repetition, Ease, and Defense) make up the backbone of psychological certainty. In other words, the best tool in convincing your prospect that they need to buy is to get them engaged and tapping actual human psychology. Try bringing in peers, discussing how their competitors and market leaders are all adapting to your solution. Repeatedly drive home need, and make it easy for prospects to see your point of view. Even try to make them defend their own view of things. In the end, you won’t alienate your partner – you can get them more engaged than ever.