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Sales | May 6
Masooma Memon on April 20, 2021 (last modified on April 28, 2021) • 27 minute read
So you’ve got lots of leads coming through. Except, your sales close rate could use some work since you aren’t converting as many leads into buyers as you could.
Perhaps your service/product isn’t up to par?
Or, your sales reps aren’t putting in the work?
Maybe the way you move people through your sales funnel isn’t the very best?
Questions like these all too common when you work on boosting your sales close rate. So, in this piece, we’ll hand you 29 actionable tips on how to improve your close rate. This way, you can stop overthinking and start acting. 💪
Here’s what you’ll learn.
Ready? Let’s go:
Sales close rate is the number of leads that convert into customers. These could be conversions to your free trial or conversions into a paid account depending on what you’re tracking.
Simply take the total number of your conversions and divide it with the total number of all the leads you had in a given time, say a quarter. Then multiply by 100 to get a percent value.
We recently recorded an episode of Data Snacks that details how to track your close rate by sales rep from HubSpot CRM––no manual workarounds needed. Doing so allows you to quickly identify areas of strengths as well as reps who may need addition support.
Check out the episode…
Want help building the report seen in the above video? Start a chat with us by clicking the chat icon on the bottom right of this page––we’ll build it for you for free.
Of the respondents that contributed to this piece, 34.55% had a sales close rate of up to 20%. 30.9% observed a close rate ranging between 21-20%. And the remaining, 34.55% enjoyed a sales close rate of 31% and more.
So, we decided to divide all the tips based on businesses and their close rate. This way, you can better understand which tips will help your sales team the most depending on where you are at in your business journey at the moment.
Here’s the full list of all 29 tips put together.
Let’s get to the meat of the matter now:
Contributors in this group are agencies (31.6%), software/SaaS service providers (15.8), eCommerce businesses (10.3%), and finance providers (10.3%) mainly.
These folks have between 2-5 sales reps with only 26.3% of them having over 5 reps. Some 5.3% have one rep bringing home a close rate of up to 20%.
As for the revenue these sales bring in: 35.3% say they generate a revenue of up to one million. The same number, 35.3%, see revenue between 1-3 million. About 29.4% generate three million.
If you’re aspiring to reach these business metrics or the respondents profile resonates with you best, you’ll find the tips these experts share invaluable to grow your sales close rate.
To begin with, up your follow up game so that you’re moving faster – a hat tip to Alex Birkett from Blissfully.
“It’s common to think that long sales cycles pave the way for complex or high ticket offers, but in many cases, momentum carries the deal,” Birkett explains. “So if you have a prospect who is interested and fits your target client profile, follow up quickly and don’t let more than 48 hours or so pass between touchpoints.”
“While the final close could take several meetings or touchpoints, it’s unlikely the prospect actually needs weeks in-between to think through specific points,” continues Birkett.
In short, remember: “momentum wins the deal in the majority of cases.”
Maintain a steady follow-up cadence such that you’re giving the prospect the time needed to call the shots while staying top of their mind.
A month-long trial means users will probably end up forgetting about you according to the research at IP Toolworks.
Yvonne Morriss from their team shares: “We reduced our trial period from 1 month to 14 days. Although a month’s trial hooked our customers, we concluded from the data that we had that users were not using the trial period for more than a week.
When we followed up after a month, the customer almost forgot the tool’s entire value proposition. With the lower trial period, users became much serious about the duration.”
The idea here is simple: follow up with users before they forget your tool’s value proposition.
This ensures users know how your business can help them. GoVisaFree’s Andrea Kuznak notes, “Present a solution to a challenge If you want to be convincing, your aim should be to present the solution to a problem that people heavily face.”
Put simply, focus on your target audience and their problem. Then, introduce your business as a solution to the problem instead of the other way around (focusing on your business first).
Why? Because “people are more interested in how their issues and daily life problems can be resolved, than just an average sales pitch; that’s the difference between a mediocre salesperson and a successful one,” Kuznak opines.
“You need to know how to pool your audience in. Present the customers with the benefits of your product and how it will solve their problems.”
Here’s an example: “if you’re selling digital asset management software, you tell your target audience how you’re different from the competitors. Moreover, you also tell them how features such as individual platform analysis will help them to develop a stronger digital presence.”
And you thought your job was done when the user/client signed the deal? Not really.
To retain customers and, eventually, cross-sell or upsell to them, focus on nurturing your relationships with customers.
Abby Ha from WellPCB agrees. “I think it is important to remember that selling doesn’t end when you make the sale. You need to keep the customer engaged and happy in the months ahead.”
To this end, Ha shares the methods they’ve used: “I’ve used a couple of different methods to do this, either sending them a small gift (both physical or digital) that is directly related to the item they purchased.
But I also have found that it’s important to stay top of mind right after they make their purchase, and immediately bouncing them out to a website that gives them special tips on how to enjoy the product and get the most out of it.”
“Don’t make the reader work,” advises Cirely’s Dan Sears. “If you want people to take an action (buy a product, sign up for your webinar, etc.), you need to make it as easy as possible for them.”
And how do you go about doing that? “The best way to do this is by using clear CTAs (Call-To-Actions),” Sears suggests. “Let readers know what you want them to do next, and how they can do it.
When you write content, and that content is designed to convert (i.e. get someone to take a specific action), and you don’t tell the reader what action you want them to take (e.g., ‘submit my contact information’), it can be confusing for the reader. The goal is to make the most important message at the end of your copy stand out.”
To this end, make sure your CTA buttons are prominent – it’s why you’ll see that most CTA buttons use a catchy color such as orange, red, or green.
Also, make sure the CTA copy is simple and packed with power words that encourage people to take action. Keep in mind: a wordy CTA can be confusing. A simple one like the one below, however, pushes people to take action by being clear.
This is crucial to make sure your reps are not only confident in closing deals but also have wiggle room to convert leads.
Melissa Kelly from virtualteambuilding.com elaborates: “When sales reps connect with clients, those clients may have a strict budget that is just slightly below your list price.”
“While integrity in pricing is important, your sales reps should have some flexibility to realize what would still be a good deal for the company. I recommend setting maximum discounts either by dollar value or percentage, and sticking to these consistently,” Kelly advises.
“Features and benefits are great and might get you a meeting. But data and cost savings will get you a deal,” comments BarBend’s Max Whiteside.
“If you want to increase close ratios focus on the value your solution brings to the prospect. Build a business case, connect prospects with current customers, whatever it takes.”
The catch? “Salespeople don’t have the intimate knowledge of their prospect’s business to build a meaningful business case,” Whiteside observes.
“It takes time and diligence to ask tough questions during the sales cycle. But it is a must. Ultimately executing a proper discovery process will net you more deals while simultaneously building your credibility with your prospects and within your industry.”
In a nutshell, data on how your business is helping customers, customer success/case studies, and social proof will help reps speed-convert clients.
This way, you’ll ensure you aren’t pushing prospects to take action when they aren’t ready. It’s why Jesse Heredia from Ravecode Solutions writes, “the number one sales tip is to build a sales system and have your prospects navigate through your process.”
The goal is to “build trust and authority [every step of the way] so when it is time for the sales meeting, [leads] have emotionally already decided to buy and the meeting turns into a discussion of logistics.”
Heredia shares their process to explain this further. “My process consists of having an initial call to qualify the prospect. We have a conversation and ask questions to see if we are a good fit, there is no selling in this first call.” That’s step one.
“If they qualify, we book a second meeting and they get an email with homework. This email provides them with access to view a case study and client testimonials so the trust is there by the time we have the second meeting which is the sales call” – making up the next step in Heredia’s process that you can follow too.
Finally, “we present them our solution with our unique systems and discuss the investment. This process has made a big difference in our sales,” concludes Heredia.
This batch of our contributors largely comprise of agencies and eCommerce businesses at 29.4% each. 17.7% of these are SaaS businesses as well.
The majority of the businesses, 56.3% have 2-5 sales reps and 25% have over 5 reps. Only 18.7% have one rep running sales.
The teams in this category generate up to one million (30%). The same, 30% also generate somewhere between 1-3 million with 40% making over three million in revenue.
Tips from these experts are as follows:
“Providing lots of value upfront helps immensely,” comments Adam Garcia from TheStockDork.
This means you need to share value both in the awareness stage and as you jump on a call with the prospect. In fact, “send over valuable insights material before the call,” Garcia suggests.
“New industry or case studies help demonstrate industry knowledge as well as understanding. Link it to the upcoming call with a comment along the lines of ‘I can run you through the most important points in our upcoming call’. This works wonders to make the call actually happen.”
“Then, throughout the call,” Garcia goes on “you keep discussing the material and its benefits. Don’t pitch your services or product to avoid the ‘here we go’ feeling kicking in.
At the end of the call, you will have shared so many insights (and no pitch) that you even get asked what you are actually ‘doing’ and what your business is. This is the moment to loop back to your pitch.”
“As simple as it may sound, confidence and belief in your own product or service is the single most effective way to improve your close rate,” notes LA Tutors 123’s Jenny Winstead.
“At the end of the day, the potential client is looking to be convinced that you are selling the product they need, and your certainty will serve as the best convincer when trying to close a sale.”
In simple words: confidence sells. So take steps to learn about the product to boost your confidence.
This means you’re targeting high-quality leads. And what makes leads high quality? These are leads that are likely to covert as they:
Brian Wool of StorySlab.com talks about it. “The very best tip I can give to a fellow salesperson has to begin at the Top of the Sales Funnel.
It starts with calling on the right type of company (know your ICP and don’t deviate too far from it) and know what problem you solve for them based on a previous deal you worked from start to finish.”
“If you’re new to your role or the company and don’t yet have a success to lean on, use a colleague’s past success and make it yours, internalize it, own it and create your own story about how your company’s product helped solve a customer’s business issue.”
Wool adds, “Storytelling through Use Cases can be the most impactful way to get a prospect to understand what value you can provide to them. Your Story should begin with a problem your customer had, then discuss what the customer needed to do, next describe the solution and end with the results your product provided.
But here’s where things get challenging: “you need to do all of this without ever talking about your product, features, or capabilities.” This isn’t impossible as such and it certainly gets better with time.
A good way to tell stories to covert leads into paying customers is to show them their desired outcomes.
To this end, Anastasia Tatsenko from NetHunt CRM highlights, “Instead of focusing on your prospect’s pain points, focus on their desired outcomes.”
“It’s more valuable for prospects to hear about the results they achieve with your product than hear about the problems and challenges they face. They already know about those.”
The solution? “Refer to their jobs-to-be-done and show how your products can help to accomplish their daily ‘jobs’ in a more effective manner,” Tatsenko advises.
This tip echoes what Alex Birkett shared about building momentum by regularly following up. The idea is to develop your “relationship with that customer through regular communication,” recommends Proper Wild’s Vincent Bradley.
“This may sound labor-intensive,” admits Bradley “but there are plenty of marketing automation tools that can send out notifications and emails on your behalf with relevant content for your potential customer.”
“It can take up to eight contacts for your lead to become a sale, but utilizing targeted content can increase your sales by twenty percent,” Bradley says.
Also, it helps to keep in mind that 44% of reps follow up with prospects only once. This means by following up helpfully, you’ll maximize your chances of closing the deal, unlike most other reps.
Meaning: don’t only provide value to prospects, but continue doing so even if it looks like they won’t covert.
The team at VantageBP does this as Dan Fugardi shares, “The team has all started taking a tone most consistent with the ‘Assumptive Close’ – in which the general mentality is that we know, no matter what the client may think, that they have never tried an unauthorized reseller protection service anything like this.
And that we will help them find another vendor ourselves if they aren’t ecstatic after the first month. (Fortunately, our service is able to back that up and our retention rate is well over 90%)”
This means you need to offer prospects ease every step of the way – be it in the discovery, consideration or a stage beyond these two.
“By far the best tip I ever got was from my Sales Director about 10 years ago, he said ‘make it easy for them to buy,’” Gary Bury from Timetastic opens up.
“It’s formed the backbone off my sales strategy ever since, breaking down barriers, simplifying the process of onboarding, making it a smooth transition for users to use our software.”
Two other areas to target for better ease in addition to the onboarding: making it easy for users to:
It’s also essential you offer risk-free guarantees. “People purchase with confidence,” Emod Vafa, of TreadmillReviews.net explains “when they know what they are buying is guaranteed. best price guarantee, Money Back Guarantee, 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Risk-Free Guarantee.”
A free trial works much the same way. Customers are likely to buy from you “when they can test the product and they make sure it works.” So “Try free samples/Trial before you buy” always helps.
82% of customers expect a response to their query immediately. How immediately, you ask? Within ten minutes. In this regard, Devin Ahern, of Mid Florida Material Handling suggests you “Respond quickly to leads” to improve your sales close rate.
Not only does research confirm the benefits of this, but the team at Mid Florida Material Handling has also learned that “getting back to our leads (especially lead form submittals generated off our PPC campaigns) drives higher close rates.”
The last of our respondents in this group recommends befriending the word ‘no’ instead of fearing rejection.
Babelquest LTD’s Chris Grant comments, “Stop fearing the word ‘No’ – actively look for it.” Why? Because “this approach means you are constantly getting rid of poor fit opportunities which allows you to focus on good fit leads – which can dramatically improve your close rate.”
In this last group of contributors, we’ve 42.1% agencies and 10.5% in the tech/electronics and real estate industries each.
63.2% in this group have between 2-5 sales reps with only 15.7% and 21.1% having over five reps and one rep, respectively.
As for the revenue generated, half of the contributors in the group generate up to one million. 33.3% generate 1-3 million in revenue with the remaining driving home over three million.
Here’s what these experts have to share about improving your sales close rate.
This is crucial for solving their problem and helping them reach their goals. Jason Cutter, from the Cutter Consulting Group advises you “take it personally. When performed by a professional, sales is about service to the other person (whether B2C or B2B – it’s still a human that is buying).”
“With this in mind,” Cutter explains their workflow, “my goal is to find out everything I can about that person – what their goals or issues are – and look for ways that what I am selling will get them to be a better place.
From there my mission is to help them move past their fears and make the decision to buy. I take this personally and see them not buying as a failure on my end to serve that person.”
At the end of the day, sales is selling to humans – not businesses. So taking up a conversational – more human – way will help boost your close rate in no time.
Business Success Factors’ Doug C. Brown goes on to suggest “mastering conversational sales.” Explaining it, Brown comments, “Conversational sales is about playing win-win and staying in positive and active communication.
While there are several components of conversational sales, a major one is building initial rapport and building rapport throughout the conversation, which I’ve found to be crucial in sales and improving close rates.”
Quick ways to build rapport: be yourself, be invested in helping your prospects, listen actively, and find common points of interest to make your conversations engaging.
Speaking of listening to build rapport, Kirsten Hopstaken from GYBO Marketing LLC recommends, “listen to your prospective client and don’t think about selling, but focus on how to help them.”
“If you can give some free advice and actionable tips right there on the phone, they get a good feeling about you,” insists Hopstaken.
Vibrant Media Productions’ Alex Cascio, recommends the same: “The most important sales tip we have learned along the way is to be a good listener. We’ve all been guilty of ‘over-selling’, which typically happens when you talk too much.”
This is why Cascio thinks, “Sometimes it’s best to ask the customer or have a series of typical questions to let them do more of the talking. Then you can come in at the end, address any concerns whether they are underlying or out front. This has led to many more closed deals and is a simplified approach to sales in any industry.”
A good way to keep the conversation going and listen proactively is to ask prospects the right questions.
It’s why Titoma’s Keesjan “Case” Engelen shares, “the most effective way to improve your close rate is to ask the right questions, and ask all of them, every time.
“Do everything within your power to get every relevant piece of information from a new lead before you get deep into the sales process. If a potential customer is adverse to answering any of these questions, have a tactful retort prepared that explains why it is necessary.”
It’s also essential you find out all relevant info bits on the lead so that you know you’re targeting the right person. “Do not get through the entire sales process just to find out that a lead is not qualified because a piece of information was missed, perform due diligence,” Engelen warns.
Wondering what question to ask? We Buy Houses In Delaware’s Andy Kolodgie has the answer for you.
“Focus on asking open-ended ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions instead of ‘why’ questions.”
This is critical for “understanding the client’s problems, impacts, and goals” – the backbone of selling well. What’s more, the ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions “help the prospect open up to you instead of putting them in a defensive posture and stops them from only saying yes or no.”
Not to mention, as clients open up, you can get your hands on “as much [client] information as possible… so you can uncover exactly where you provide value to then close them on it.”
Contributors in this category talk in favor of following up too. But you’ve already learned that you need to follow up. What next?
Simple. Get over the hesitation to follow up – something that’s super important to ensure you don’t give up in just one or two follow-ups.
“People like to feel like they’re appreciated, and customers are people (contrary to popular belief)! But a simple follow-up can help get them over that finish line,” opines Jerome Williams of JWorks Studios.
“A lot of times when you don’t close on a looky loo is actually because they forget. Maybe they’re busy or get sidetracked with social media, but a simple email, text, or DM will jog their memory and they’ll be like, ‘Oh yeah!’”
“This opens up communications again and if necessary, it will give you the chance to negotiate money matters,” Williams adds. “And because you took the time to put the personal spotlight is on them, they’ll be more willing to finish the deal. I’ve followed up many times on inquiries and it works!”
Not only does relevant content help you build brand awareness, but it works wonders for engaging leads.
It’s why Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls leverages content/thought leadership to “pull prospective clients.”
“These are great ways to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients/customers. Activities like hosting podcasts/webinars, writing articles, building your following on social media all contribute to increasing your awareness with potential customers and building your credibility with a larger community,” Arnof-Fenn explains.
But before you go about creating helpful content, keep this tip in mind: “Make sure you put your URL or contact info on it so they can find you and follow up. When your articles or talks become available online, make sure to send them out via social media to all your friends, followers and contacts.”
And not just any sales enablement strategy but one that brings together the sales and marketing teams. The goal? To ensure you’re targeting the right people.
Ardent Growth’s Skyler Reeves comments on this. “The single most effective thing that can increase your sales close rate is to maximize the time you spend talking to people more likely to buy and minimize the time you spend talking to people less likely to buy.”
“All of the standard tactics like mirroring, labeling, and going silent are all great, but none of them will move the needle like having the right person on the other end of the deal,” highlights Reeves.
So to ensure you’re targeting the right people: “Build a sales enablement strategy with marketing for inbound leads, strict criteria for outbound prospects, and most importantly: learning to identify and pivot away from a bad fit quickly and professionally.”
This is essential so that your focus is on how your product helps leads.
“Showcase the benefits of products,” as Value Hunta’s Liam Mills puts it. “One way to make your selling better is to showcase the products in a more creative way.”
In this context, Mills suggests:
“It is our standard practice before sending some important and professional recording that we first check our voice to see how it feels to hear, and do I have room to improve The same case is when we are selling products,” outlines Johell Aponte from MoveOnHouseBuyers.
This comes with an excellent benefit. Aponte explains it: “checking its functionality and experiencing its working develop more confidence and understanding with the product. If you can’t do it, research it so you could be able to answer and satisfy customers’ queries.”
Another great way to increase your sales close rate is to use a “Trojan horse objection handler” as Lisa Lacey from Lisa Buys Austin Houses does.
Lisa explains: “A very good strategy I have been using is adding a ‘Trojan horse objection handler’ at the beginning of my sales pitch. This ‘objection handler’ could be the statement that can be referred back to and will address any objections that a possible client might have.”
Let’s run the strategy through an example that Lisa shares: “For example, the prospect contacts you through your website because you have good social proof. You asked them why they contacted you and they will say: ‘I saw your reviews and thought you could be a good company.’ (or something like this).
Then when you give your prices and they start backtracking and saying: ‘Gee, that sounds a bit high’ You can then use your ‘Trojan horse objection handler’ and say: ‘Yes, I understand but in order to build good reviews you have seen, we use the best possible (something) to exceed our customer’s expectations
This always helps handle the objections and reminds them that you deal with quality solutions! If you can master this you will notice a much better closing rate.”
So you know what to do, right? Figure out how you can reasonably tackle a prospect’s objection in a manner that’ll convince them to buy from you.
This is a good way to encounter the ‘spray and pray’ approach that The 5% Institute’s Khabeer Rockley condemns.
“One of the biggest mistakes Sales Professionals and Business Owners make, is something called ‘Premature Presentation’. They present their product or services too early; and then hope that something about what they sell interests their potential client. This is a ‘spray and pray’ strategy – and isn’t something that’ll improve your closing rate.”
So what do you do instead? “We recommend prescribing your products or services instead,” Rockley advises.
Here’s how it works: “Throughout your sales conversations, learn about their pain points, their ideal outcome and more importantly – what it will mean when they achieve that outcome.
Once you learn the meaning (in their words) – simply demonstrate and prescribe how your product or service will give them that outcome.”
By following this method, you’ll improve your closing rate because now what you sell will have meaning – rather than just being positioned as another commodity or expense,” Rockley summarizes.
Now when you know what to do to improve your sales close rate, it’s time to start tracking your progress.
In the video below, we show how to easily track and visualize Close Rate by Sales Rep in HubSpot CRM with Databox.
For more info and detailed explanation, you can also take a look at this blog post.
From following up regularly to actively listening and having a plan to counter prospects’ objections, there’s lots you can do to improve your sales close rate.
Start with explaining reps how your product works and giving them the data and case studies they need to do the convincing. Then, follow through the tips we’ve shared today and your close rate will get better in no time.
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