The sales cycle is an integral process in business. Sales cycles vary from business to business, but what remains universal is this: you only get one first face-to-face meeting so you need to make it count. In this day and age, time and attention spans are short, so be prepared to let your prospect know what pain point you solve and how it will make their life easier.

Here are Seven Steps to help close sales efficiently and quickly:

1. Make Your First Impression Count

Do your homework on the organization and the people you are meeting with. Have you set the agenda and meeting expectations correctly? Do you have the right people at the table? Have you prepared the appropriate questions and do you have the answers to them? Can you back them up with customer examples or data? Are you prepared to manage objections?

2. Identify the Problem Your Company Solves

Be clear on the results the person can expect from your organization. Keep it brief and powerful. Make sure your agenda addresses their pain points. Have case studies, examples and references ready to support and confirm your services and customer delivery process. Outline what you can help the accomplish and how.

3. Consider Your Presentation from Your Client’s POV, and Then Listen

What does this prospect really need in a solution, do they even know? Why should the prospect care what you do, what is in it for them? As important as it is to ask questions, make sure you know when to stop and listen. Try to marry your customer experiences to help the prospect see the problems you can solve with your products and services.

4. Demonstrate Your Passion, Enthusiasm and Confidence

Silly as it may sound, you want to feel positive and passionate about what you do when you are presenting. People can read body language and non-verbal clues.  The chemistry in the room contributes to the end result. Make the prospect want to work with you and be confident that your organization offers the right solutions.

5. Determine If You Are a Fit for Each Other

Your solution will not be a fit for all prospects. The chemistry may be off. The potential client might not be ready to buy, or you may not have a clear understanding of your prospect’s pain points. It is better to realize that sooner rather than later for everyone involved. And you never know, working together may be a fit at a different time. In addition, there may be a referral to be had.

6. Ask for the Close If Appropriate

When I’m in a meeting and the prospects is giving buy indicators, I start to ask about the next steps and collect additional relevant information and address close concerns. What is the signature approval process? Is there an incumbent provider, is there an exit clause. It is my job as a sale professional to ensure a superior customer experience for the first step and ensure that we are both on the same page at each step of the buying process.

7. Follow Up

This is as important as the first six steps outlined above. Even if you determine that you are not a fit for each other at this time, send a thank-you note, do what you say you are going to do.  Your follow-up is a peek at how they will be treated when they sign the deal.

Follow these rules and you’ll surely increase your close rate. And if you have to focus on just one piece of advice here, then let it be preparation. As President Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” 

Gina Murphy is Executive Vice President at TriCore Solutions, an application management company that provides a full suite of scalable and reliable managed application, cloud and infrastructure hosting, and consulting services to enterprise organizations. Murphy is responsible for all of the company’s Solutions, Service Strategy and Sales Enablement. She can be reached at Ginatricoreno@yahoo.com