Some people say that there are 2 types of people: Those who can sell, and those who cannot.
I think this is untrue.
As someone who went from zero sales experience to closing major deals for my place of work, I can tell you that the ability to sell is not something that is given at birth. It is taught, practised, and sharpened.
So how do you go from not being able to sell, to closing large deals on the regular? Well, I’ve learnt a few things that I think will help you close those deals
1. FIND YOUR STRENGTH, THEN MAKE IT STRONGER!
You’re definitely good at something. Don’t get it confused with “doing what you like”. Some people love playing video games but aren’t competition material. Find what you’re GOOD at, and work on that in any capacity you can.
Why? Because you need to learn everything you can about what you know you’re good at, to get even better at it. Understanding the ins and outs of an industry, product cycle and how things fit into society and the world helps tremendously in your ability to become a better closer.
2. SELL IDEAS, NOT PRODUCTS!
Salesmen sell products, but closers sell an idea. You need to know the specifications and usage of the product, but you don’t need to rattle them off like a machine. What you need to do, is inspire others to want what you’re selling.
This is why…
- You’re not selling a car, you’re selling a convenience.
- You’re not selling a condominium apartment, you’re selling a living space for a family.
- You’re not selling a phone, you’re selling an accelerant to life.
- You’re not selling a toilet, you’re selling a comfortable answer to a human need.
I can go on, but you get the point. Take the idea of the product, and find every way to make sure your prospect understands its value.
3. SHARE, THEN LEAVE IT THERE
Your existing network of friends and family are the absolute best option for getting the word out. They already trust you, and they’re not going to be hostile from the start towards an idea coming from you. This does not mean you start calling them with your sales pitch.
Instead, always share about what you’re doing, and the latest occurrences in your life. Find a way to connect what you do, to how you live your life. Make them seem inseparable, and authentic.
Then, let them know that you’re always there if they, or their friends need anything from you. The idea is to plant enough seeds across as large a swath of people as possible.
What next? LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE! No one owes you another 5 minutes to pitch them. They’ll call you.
4. KNOW YOUR PLAY, THEN BE FLEXIBLE
Closing a deal WILL require you to give a little something away. If you’re closing a deal and the other party didn’t negotiate, then it’s a bad deal (lots of reasons why, and I’ll explain them in another post).
Therefore, be aware of your objectives, and always know what you can accede to. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say you’re writing articles at $100 per piece.
Company A offers you to write 5 pieces at $400. But, you want to close the deal above $400, and preferably build good will to grow this business. You can structure the deal multiple ways:
- Secure longer term guaranteed revenue: Offer 5 pieces at $450, and another 5 pieces at a preferential rate of $400
- Upsize the value of your deal: Let them know you can do 6 pieces at $500
- Meet in the middle: Tell then you’ll do it at $450, but let them know you’re meeting them in the middle.
On the buyer side of things, you can also consider doing the following:
- Diversify Service Providers: At any one point in time, be in touch with 3 or more service providers of similar standards and engage them regularly. Having a larger pool to choose from allows you to make decisions based on best prices at a reasonable quality, and gives yo an edge when you’re negotiating.
- Use Volume: If a service provider cannot provide a competing price, but tends to give higher quality work, give them work over longer periods of time. To use the Writing example above: 40 pieces at, 5 a month, at $90 per article. Instead of maybe just 20 pieces of work across 4 months.
- Buy Time: One of the best things you can do is to ask for better payment terms, especially if you’re dealing with a service provider or product seller that is charging a premium for a good reason. One way is to break up the project into more than the usual milestones You can pay a bit more up front as a deposit, and then draw out the rest of the payments to give yourself breathing room. The other is to extend credit terms beyond the 15/30 day standard. Use both tactics in exchange for paying a premium.
5. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
It took me 4 solid years of hard work to cultivate my personal style, connections and deals. I closed many many small deals before I did the first big one. So many years later, I’m still growing and cultivating my deal making abilities. It never ends.
So, if you’re just starting out and struggling: remember that you’re early in the process!
6. GO THE EXTRA MILE
In all my time selling and being sold to, I realise that this most important lesson is the hardest one to learn.
Going the extra mile means that if you need to meet someone on the weekends and you know that’s going to help make them more comfortable later in the process, do it. Going the extra mile can also mean giving people a call, to say hi and find out how they are, and how the project is going even after they’ve made their initial payments.
Going the extra mile is about understanding delayed gratification and creating real relationships. It’s about Recognising that what you’re doing right now is either earning someone’s trust and respect, or losing it. Remember: It’s not about the money, it’s about what that money means to the person.
These pointers need time and practise from you, in order for results to materialise. I hope you don’t give up when you’re having a down day, and that you don’t forget to keep applying positivity even when you’re riding high!