Clients don’t respond to pushy, hard-selling salesmen, and no one wants to be perceived as one either. Most agencies would rather be seen as consultants, someone prospective clients look to for answers to their business challenges.
The traditional salesperson has a “me-first” attitude, focus more on their company’s products or services when they pitch, and are more forceful in getting commitment from prospective clients. In contrast, consultative salespeople pride themselves in being client-centric, understanding their prospect’s needs first before proposing the appropriate solution. In a consultative sales process, closing is supposed to happen naturally.
But there are times when this doesn’t happen. And since selling Digital Marketing Services is an inherently consultative process, some agencies find it difficult and awkward to suddenly switch to the more assertive persona of a “traditional” salesperson. For all their bad reputation, they are much better closers than their more consultative counterparts precisely because they’re not afraid to push prospective clients into making a decision.
Does this mean that we should do away with solutions-selling and go back to the old hard-selling way? Not necessarily. There are ways to seamlessly integrate closing in the consultative solution-selling process itself, generating results without being perceived as pushy.
The key is to get your prospective client to take one small action for each stage of the sales process rather than take one big leap at the close. This involves being more client-centered, not less, and reading the prospect and situation accurately to determine the right course of action.
Prospective clients usually pass on your proposal because there was a specific step in the sales process that was inadequately done. Let’s take a look at the most common challenges in closing, and what you can do to overcome them.
Challenge #1: They don’t think your solution suits them
Sometimes your prospect says no simply because your proposal doesn’t make sense for their business. They may already have a website they are already satisfied with, so your Web Design pitch doesn’t address any actual need. Or the prospect just isn’t able to see how the solution directly addresses their needs.
In these situations, it’s important to first understand where your prospect is. Conduct a thorough needs analysis prior to meeting them, and discuss these in your first appointment to make sure you understand their objectives in detail. Find out if they have any experience in digital marketing. If they don’t, it’s crucial that you explain each service you offer step-by-step. Avoid using any jargon that they may not be able to comprehend. Instead, empower them with the knowledge that helps them make the right decision.
If they have an existing solution, and are just shopping around for alternatives, ask them what difficulties they encountered that led them to look for an agency. Do they have an agency they aren’t satisfied with, or are they trying to do it on their own? By finding out the particular problems they’re facing, and explaining how these can be alleviated, you can more effectively communicate the value of your solution.
Challenge #2: They don’t think your solution is a priority
While some prospects have business challenges that they understand your solution can address, they may not consider addressing it a priority. One way to gauge this is by asking if they already have a budget and target launch date in mind. Prospects that have ready answers are the ones that will prioritize finding a solution.
If they don’t, help them decide on a tentative budget and launch date. Doing so helps turn something they’re merely considering into a real action in their minds. Convince clients that establishing an online presence isn’t just important, it’s urgent. Then show them how your solution can bring their business online and generate results.
Challenge #3: They think your solution is too costly
Clients who object to the price of your solution may be too concerned with what they have to give, not what they’re going to get out of it.
Encourage your clients to think in terms of value instead. Emphasize that investing in an expertly managed digital presence as a necessity to stand out from the competition. Proving value is also much easier in digital channels compared to traditional advertising. With digital advertising they can more accurately see how their money is translating to more business.
Many low cost providers may have taken shortcuts to bring their prices down. Correcting blackhat SEO tactics or mishandled social media and PPC campaigns will often cost more than a solution that was properly handled from the beginning. Assure them that you will handle their digital presence with a long term view.
Challenge #4: They’re indecisive
Even when you’ve clearly identified their needs, proposed a solution that’s a perfect fit, and expertly addressed any concerns they had, there will be some prospects who are simply indecisive. These prospects are usually afraid of change, even when the change could have a positive impact on their business.
In these situations don’t be afraid to be more assertive. If you truly believe that you can add value to their business there’s no reason you shouldn’t help the prospect take action. And doing so is important, because with digital marketing services closing isn’t just the end of the sales process—It’s the beginning of a professional relationship.