Are you closing as many deals as you had hoped for?

I’ll be the first to admit, business development is a tricky industry. It has ups and downs that you must be prepared for. On a good day, you might close a few deals or upgrade several accounts. On a bad day, you might lose a client or get the door slammed in your face. When the bad days happen, it’s important to learn from your mistakes. This is how you become a more confident, effective business development professional.

Over the years, people have discovered the secrets to closing business. Below I share four of my favorite strategies to reaching your highest sales goals.

1. Sell to the right people.

This probably sounds obvious, but it’s advice that is sometimes forgotten. Often, people approach opportunities in terms of convenience. In other words, they choose the easy or available person, not the right person. Unfortunately, this wastes time and puts the prospect in an uncomfortable position, meaning they may not do business with you later. To be successful, sell to the right people – customers that need your product and can make the decision.

2. Know the challenges your prospects face.

The traditional sales pitch is dead. It’s boring and impersonal. If you don’t want people tuning you out, you must learn to connect with them on a deeper level. The best way to do this is to understand the challenges your prospects face. How will your product or service help them? People want to know that their problem will actually be solved – not maybe.

Also, it pays to talk to people like real people. Be warm and personable. Smile and show interest in their lives. There is a fair amount of schmoozing that goes on in sales, so you must be prepared to give your prospects some nurturing.

3. Be clear about the value – and the money.

Consider all the ways that your service delivers value. Customers don’t always look in the right direction, so it’s up to you to highlight the key features and benefits of your product. Money is another key factor. Too often, people aren’t forthright about their pricing. Even negotiations can be a turn off because it makes people unsure of what they should be paying. Did they get a good price or were they ripped off?

4. Schedule the next step.

A decision does not have to be made right away, but there should always be a next step. Do you plan on calling the prospect in a day or two? Will you send out an estimate later in the day? There are ways to follow up with contacts without being annoying. And, as simple as it sounds, get the person’s preferred method of contact. Some people are open to receiving texts or emails but not phone calls.

Talking to people can be scary in the beginning, which may prompt you to deliver a cookie-cutter pitch. Don’t do this! Learn about your prospects, talk to them like real humans and help them see the full value in your product or service. Over time, you’ll close more agreements and find what works for you!