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Monica Smiley

Monica Smiley is editor and publisher of Enterprising Women. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute of Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW). To learn more about how you can become a mentor in the Peace Through Business program or donate to the organization, visit www.ieew.org. Contact her at msmiley@enterprisingwomen.com.

Why Are You Having Trouble Closing The Sale?

It’s frustrating when sales don’t close. If deals don’t close as often as you believe they should, assess why and fix it so you can accelerate results. Ask yourself these 6 questions to help pinpoint why sales may not be closing.

1. Is this prospect the right kind of prospect? Perhaps you were too broad in your definition of the best prospects? You may end up with too big a market when you simply consider criteria such as size of company, level of decision maker, and industry. Use these additional filters to narrow prospect groups:

Urgency: Which prospect groups have a more urgent need for your products/services? Prospects who feel urgency will close sooner.

Willingness to pay: Not every prospect will willingly pay what you want to charge for your products and services. Stop talking to people who are unlikely to pay for your value.

Obvious Solution: Your prospects need to see you as the obvious (or only) solution to avoid a lot of time consuming justification.

2. Are you communicating GAP in your Sales Messages? Gap is the difference between what prospects have now from vendors versus what they could have from you. One question which communicates Gap is, "What more would you want from your vendors than you're currently getting?"

3. Are your questions optimal? You may ask questions but are they optimal questions, the ones which elicit the most useful information? Make time to prepare questions that will help you elicit the best possible information.

4. Do you know the Path to the Close? Sometimes sales don’t close because sellers don't know what steps to take or who to involve to get to the close. One question to ask during the first meeting is, "If what we talk about is nirvana for you, what is the path for us to work together? Who needs to be involved and what is the process we need to follow internally?"

5. Have you socialized the concept? In many organizations there's more than one decision maker involved to start working with a company. There are also several influencers. Too often sellers focus attention solely on one decision maker to the exclusion of other decision makers and important influencers who have the power to put the kibosh on a deal.

Find out who all the decision makers and influencers are early on and be sure to initiate relationships with all of them. In doing so your name, offering and value will be top of mind when decisions are being made.

6. Are you comfortable with The Ask? You may not feel your services are worth the price. You may feel asking is pushy. You may need a transition sentence to move from the conversation to the ask. If getting the words out when the time is right is difficult, pinpoint why so you can fix it and close more.

Let nothing stand in the way of closing sales by asking yourself these important questions.

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Enterprising Women is a partner in the new Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative.

The initiative supports the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors — women and men — to increase the interest and confidence of young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

Read the full news release.

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