Ten Tips to Close Your Next Deal

By Jessica Fialkovich | @jfialkovich

Growing a business relies on generating revenue, and revenue requires sales. Many women owned businesses find it difficult to reach $1 million or more (a topic I discussed in a previous post), and one of the reasons why is the struggle to make the sale.

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the Twentieth Century Fox film Wall Street (1987). 

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in the Twentieth Century Fox film Wall Street (1987). 

In some circles, sales is a five-letter dirty word. It reminds us of used car salesperson or Gordon Gekko from Wall Street. However, sales is not just for stereotypically aggressive men. Women are very successful in sales positions, given our natural tendency for relationship building and nurturing. However, at times women may find it difficult to close the deals they need.

I’ve compiled some tips from mentors and colleagues to help you close deals and grow your biz.

Sales Tips for Business Broads

  1. Listen: A sales conversation should be 80% listening and 20% speaking or selling. The more you listen in a conversation, the more a prospect feels heard and understood. This is important for bonding and rapport building as well as a credibility factor. Listening is the top skill salespeople struggle to master.

  2. Ask questions: A majority of the time you spend speaking should be spent asking questions. A curiosity to learn about your prospects, their business, and the fit between your company and their needs will pay dividends not only in closing the sale but also for customer satisfaction.

  3. Ask for the sale: This is where most women fall short, you have to ask for the sale. Many of us spend too much time building the relationship and do not want to ruin that relationship by making the ask or sounding too sales-y. The prospect is expecting you to tell him or her the next steps in doing business with you, so do it!

  4. It’s not about you: Remember, for a deal to work it has to benefit both parties. Determine if what you do will truly solve the prospect’s problem(s). Many times when we are in survival mode we work to make any deal fit, even if it is not in the prospect’s best interest.

  5. Pain or gain: Every buying decision is made either to alleviate a pain or establish a gain. For example, I “buy” from my doctor an appointment when I don’t feel well (solving pain). Or, I buy a new pair of jeans to make me feel good (gain). If you can not identify why your prospect is buying, it will be difficult to illustrate how you will solve their pain or facilitate their gain. David Sandler is a sales guru who has perfected how to find pain/gain, and these books are the best place to start.

  6. Clearly identify next steps: At the end of every sales call establish what the next step in your sales process looks like. Clearly identify what “no” looks like and what “yes” looks like. Some sales processes take weeks or months and clearly identifying the path for the prospect is key to keeping a deal on track.

  7. Set an agenda: At the beginning of every meeting set an agenda. What are you here to discuss, what are the topics you will cover, and what will be the outcome of the meeting?

  8. Identify the players: Early in the sales process, it is key to identify who the decision makers are. Many times other parties like spouses, attorneys, business partners can come into a deal late in the game and tank all the progress you have made. It’s best to be talking to all of the decision makers from day one.

  9. Talk numbers: Does your prospect have a budget for your products or services? Many times they might not even know what to expect to pay. Again, it’s best to have these conversations up front and leave no surprises for the day of the closing.

  10. Pick your battles: Negotiation is part of all business deals, so expect it. Pick your battles and stand firm on the points important to you and your business, but do not expect to win every point during negotiation. If price is important, fight for it, but you may have to give on payment terms.

I hope these tips help you and your business when you are faced with your next deal, and help you close more business to get you over whatever revenue threshold you have in your sights. Remember sales is not a dirty word; it is the core of our businesses and as women we need to embrace and dominate it.