3 Tips on How to Close Sales in the Merchant Services Industry
Today, I want to share 3 simple tips on how you can close deals. Maybe you have a merchant that already gave you their statement, you completed the...
How can you close more deals? Yesterday I got an email from one of the top agents. In the previous month he had seventeen accounts approved which is a very respectable number. But in order to get over the twenty per month average, he is looking for ways to close more deals more quickly. Out […]
How can you close more deals? Yesterday I got an email from one of the top agents. In the previous month he had seventeen accounts approved which is a very respectable number. But in order to get over the twenty per month average, he is looking for ways to close more deals more quickly. Out of these seventeen accounts, only five were contacted for the first time in the previous month. Of the remaining twelve, four were contacted one month ago and eight were contacted two months ago. In other words, eight of these accounts took about two months to close from the time he first contacted them. In addition to this, only three of these seventeen new clients signed paperwork when he first presented the analysis. Another four gave verbal commitment to sign but said it wasn’t a good time to do the paperwork. The remaining ten did not make a commitment at all when he presented the statement analysis to them. But through his persistence, he was able to eventually close these deals.
Let me say that great sales people are always great at follow up. If you are willing to follow up without being a pushy sales person, you can get a respectable amount of sales. And there will always be a lot of follow up in the schedule of a successful sales professional. However, there are certain things you can do to close more accounts on the spot or at least speed up the sales process. That is the focus of this blog article. The following blog will take you a while to read. So if you don’t have some time right now, come back to read it later. I have included some useful tips and specific closing techniques that I believe will help you.
First of all, I challenge you to look at your own numbers. Of those you closed in the last month, how many did you contact for the first time in that same month? If those are the only sales you got, you might need to work on your follow up with undecided clients. There are some people who you just can’t close on the spot, no matter how good you are. If you are like this agent and many of your accounts came from previous visits, let’s talk about how to close these accounts quicker. I believe one of the most important skills in closing deals is the skill of knowing if someone is going to say “Yes” or if they are not ready. If they are not ready when you try to close, you will increase the amount of time it takes to get them to a “Yes.” You only get one chance to close for the first time; you want to get a “Yes” when you do close. There are several ways to know if someone is ready to say yes or not. Here is the best one:
Use trial closes. These are closing statements for smaller items which will give you a clue as to how ready the customer is to move forward without risking the entire sale. For instance, right in the middle of the statement analysis overview, I will usually stop as if I just remembered something. I’ll say, “One quick question I forgot to ask: I provide a free upgraded terminal to any of my clients who need one. Would I need to order a free one for you or would you rather I just reprogram the one you have?” A customer who is ready to move forward will respond, “I would like you to order me one,” or “We actually like the one we have; could we still use that one with you?”
However, the following responses would indicate the customer is not ready: “I’m not sure; we can talk about that later” or “Well, if we decide to do this…”
Here are some other trial closes you can use:
Then you can carefully observe body language and listen to the answer in order to determine if the customer is ready to sign today. If the response is, “I’m not sure whether we are going to go with you,” or something else negative, just brush that off. You could say, “Oh no problem, I was just going to make a note on here so I don’t forget that later. Let me show you the rest of the analysis.”
If the customer is not ready, try to get him or her ready and then try another trial close. Now you might be wondering, “How do I get them ready?” Remember customers are not really buying your service; they are buying you. Obviously, the savings have got to be there for you to have much of a chance. I’m assuming the savings are there. One of the reasons that people buy after we follow up over and over again is that they begin to trust us. They figure that if we are willing to come to their business five times before they buy, we are probably going to follow up after they buy. However, if you can create this trust on your first or second visit, you will be able to close faster. Here are a few tips about how to establish trust:
1. Set a scheduled time when you will be back, and literally walk in on the minute that you said. If you get a statement which you need to take back to be analyzed, ask, “Are you normally in on Thursday around 3 p.m.?” If the answer is “Yes,” agree to be there at 3 p.m. on Thursday. Then park in the parking lot at 10 till and walk in at 3 p.m. on the dot. Business owners tend to trust people who are on time.
2. Talk about the owner’s business. Learn how to take a detour while you are presenting the savings to talk about the business. This is one of the best things you can do to establish trust. Here a couple of great questions to ask: ~”Just out of curiosity, I was surprised to notice your average ticket size was X. I thought it would be higher/lower; why do you think it is at this level?” (Careful on your tone here… make this is a light, meaningless question rather than an interrogation.) ~Compliment the level of revenue: “I have to be honest, I was a little surprised when I saw your average processing volume. I work with several other businesses in X industry; your volume is really impressive. Do you mind if I ask how you are able to do this much business?” (Be sincere; don’t say this if they process $1,000 per month.) ~Ask a general question about the business based on observation: “Wow! You must get a lot of other business clients in here that purchase X, right?” Or, “I bet X product is a big seller. I saw a news report about how popular it is; have you sold a lot of those?”
3. Talk about your business. If you have a lot of clients, talk about that. If not, talk in general about your strategy for gaining new accounts. I usually say something like, “Most of my competitors make $60 or $70 per month off of each of their clients and don’t really provide personalized service. But I have found that by offering better rates and being available to my clients, I do a lot better because my clients stick with me. I only make $15 or so off of each client each month, but I have a lot of clients who stay with me over the long haul.” Usually after I say this, the client nods and says something like, “That makes sense.” (This shouldn’t be part of your “Pitch;” learn how to weave it into the conversation. Be ready to say it when it makes sense as you are talking about the customer’s business, perhaps concerning repeat customers of the business.)
4. This is actually the most important one if you can do it. Bring up other business owners by first name during your pitch. While you are doing the analysis you might say, “Do you know Bob over at XYZ Pizza Shop?” To the owner’s affirmative response you say, “Well, for a business like his, our lower transaction fees were the biggest reason he switched to us. The $0.07 he is saving on each transaction really adds up quickly selling pizza.” This is really an art. You need to learn how to mention other clients by first name constantly throughout your pitch. I would mention at least three business owners by name and as many as ten during your presentation. If the owner shows you the terminal, say, “Bill over at XYZ has one of these; I reprogrammed it with no problem. So it is really up to you if you would like to keep it or have me deliver a new one to you.” When the owner first shows you his or her statement, always say, “Oh this is ZZZ Processing. Rose over at XYZ company was using them before she switched over to me. So I am very familiar with them.” Take some time to memorize information about your current clients such as which processor they used (you should have the statement), what terminal they use or used before you came along, what rates they were paying, etc. Bring them up constantly throughout the conversation. Nothing will create trust faster than a good local reputation.
After you do all this if the owner still doesn’t seem ready, take this tip: don’t try to close, ask for his or her opinion, or offer some other lame closing statement. Rather, say in a very brisk tone, “Thanks so much for your time today, Bob. I am going to get the paperwork all typed up so you have a few days to think this over. Then I would like to swing by on Friday; would you be in around 1 p.m. to review the paperwork?” After the owner’s affirmative answer, you continue with, “Okay, great! Are there any other questions you have for me?” Now you have managed to stay in control of the process. Go back and type up a contract in ELAP and bring it back ready to sign on Friday. If you get to this point, you may have to follow up for weeks to get the sale. But you will probably get the sale eventually. Again, you only have one chance to close on the first try. Once you lose that chance, you can just figure it is going to take a while to follow up and close the deal.
By using the tips above on each visit, hopefully you can shorten the amount of visits even though it may still take a while. Keep setting follow up times, and keep showing up on time; your persistence will pay off in the end. Now that you have created trust and gone through the analysis, you need to use trial closes again to determine whether the owner is ready to say “Yes.” If the owner is ready, you need to carefully control eye contact and pauses in the conversation. You can eventually get too good at this. I have had several clients complete the paperwork and then say, “No, I’m not ready to go with you yet” when I ask for the voided check. This happened because I gave them no opportunity or even a pause in the conversation to say “No.” Once I decide the owner is ready, I go forward through the paperwork. There is really no chance to escape! LOL Most agents pause at all the wrong moments and make eye contact right after asking a “yes” or “no” question. Here are some general rules about completing the paperwork with a nice flow.
1. Identify whether you have a threshold moment in your pitch when you move from analysis or talk about savings to THE CLOSE! If so, learn how to eliminate this threshold. THE CLOSE should never really happen in a good sales pitch. If you ask enough trial close questions and learn to read people, you just know if they are going to move forward or not without asking. If they are giving you the right signals, simply move forward with the paperwork as naturally as you can. The only time I do a traditional “closing statement” is when I can tell they are not interested at all, and I want to flush out the reason why.
2. Learn not to put too much pressure on yourself to get the sale. I know this is virtually impossible for most sales reps, but you have to look at each sale like a video game. Although it is a lot of fun, takes concentration and skill, and you will boast about the outcome if you win, when you really come right down to it…it doesn’t matter. I don’t know how to train someone to think this way. But if you can think this way, you can close a lot higher. Your mind will be focused on winning the account, not on buying groceries or paying the bills the next day. Also, the client is more at ease when you don’t seem desperate. A sales person who is desperate is probably not very good or is very new at what he or she is doing. In either case, the client feels like it is a big risk to buy from you.
-One other side note on this last point: If you find yourself constantly stressed about your money or personal problems all day, you cannot sell effectively. Take time each morning by yourself or with your significant other (if your significant other is the calm rational one in the relationship) and discuss your action plan for the day and week. In other words you might say, “Okay, we are broke today, and I have no idea if I am going to make a sale today. So let’s say I don’t make a sale today, what exactly are we going to do this week? What bills are we going to pay and which ones will be late?” Confront the problem and decide what you are going to do. Write down the plan, and then get to work. Or if you are having a family crisis, you might make a list of each problem which is stressing you out. Identify the next action you can take on each one; take that action. And then start selling. I know there are certain times when your problems are so huge you have to keep selling through them. But I find most of the time if I just make a plan of action and settle on it (and my plan doesn’t include getting three sales today! LOL), then I am much less stressed and can focus on having fun talking to business owners and making sales.
3. Move from the analysis to page nine of the application. Once I show the savings to the client, I usually say something like, “So your savings would be about $800 per year depending on your volume each month. Now let me show you the pricing schedule, so you can see how these match up.” I then take out page nine; show them each item and how it matches with the analysis; and explain what it is. I always make a point of explaining the charges at the top like Voice Authorization which does not apply to them; this adds to the trust. еК(“Now let me show you this charge just so you know what it is…this does not apply to you.”) еКIf you don’t do this, the client will see these charges and wonder, “What is that charge and why didn’t he mention it?” I also cross out the $95.00 account set up fee and the Annual fee and say, “For my local clients I waive these two fees. I figure it is a way to support other small businesses like mine.” I have seen many clients change over from a “Maybe” to a “Yes” when they saw me cross those out. Don’t $0.00 them out unless you have already spoken to the merchant. On your blank copies, leave them there but cross them out. It has a nice effect.
4. When you need them to initial, sign, or enter personal or sensitive information on the forms, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT or ask them if they mind. Simply turn the form around and say, “Okay, I just need you to initial here,” or “Okay, if you can just fill out these two lines for me.” Then look at your planner notebook, shuffle through the other paper work, or look at the analysis again as if you are checking it to make sure you have everything correct.
5. When you move from page nine to page one, ask this question as you turn the page, “So, is this a corporation or sole proprietorship?” Then dive right into the top section.
6. When you ask for the voided check, make a note to say, “Do you have a copier or something like that, so I can just make a copy of this voided check? I hate to have a physical copy of someone’s check?” If they start to say “No” just respond, “Okay, no problem. I will make a copy and bring it back over to you tomorrow with your original copy of the statement.” I used to take a picture with my phone, but I found people hate that for some reason. So don’t do that! LOL When you go out of your way to be overly cautious about little things like this, they will trust you faster. I hope these tips have been helpful. Read over this a couple times and identify a few actions that you can take to implement some of these tips.
As always, email me with questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the previous article: The Most Important Customer Service Action
Read the next post here: Market Segments – Who Should You Sell?
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