Sales. For some, it's as easy as ABC—Always Be Closing. For others, upholding the Glengarry Glen Ross mantra is a constant struggle.
Despite the meetings, dinners and creative energy spent on a potential client, deals can fall through at the last minute. The client doesn't want what you're selling. The client doesn't need what you're selling. And your price? Forget it.
Or, maybe there's more to it.
According to William J. Farquharson, vice president of NAPL, East Rutherford, N.J., the answer lies in the root of the word itself: objection. "'An objection is a request for more information,'" he said, referencing Wikipedia's definition. "What if the client was saying 'no' because of a lack of information instead? Perhaps you simply didn't do your job."
Forget about plowing through objectives. Closing the deal requires thoughtfulness, self-reflection and smarts. In other words, there must be a willingness to let things naturally unfold. Tired of talking to the hand? Below, Farquharson, along with Linda Bishop, president of Thought Transformation, Atlanta, and Devin O'Brien, M.A., senior business consultant at O'Brien Corporation, St. Charles, Ill., share five ways to get results—and handshakes.
1. Perform a Dry Run
Knowing how to anticipate problems is key. Bishop suggested mapping out a course of action prior to the call. Try composing a list of all the objections you've heard over the years. What type of approach would invite open and honest dialogue?
"Figure out how to change people's minds. Practice those conversations. Better yet, record them and listen to yourself," Bishop said. "How do you sound? Would you buy from you? Keep practicing until the answer is 'yes.'"
2. Charm the Gatekeeper
The gatekeeper is arguably one of the most important people in the sales process. While he or she may not be in charge of a company's purchasing decisions, this individual is the link between you and the appropriate contact, so play nice. O'Brien believes that respect, curiosity and courage can go a long way.