Go for closure in B2B sales – How and when!

Many sales reps struggle to close deals. They are good at presenting their products or services. They also rely on various psychological tactics they’ve learned to artificially push their prospect to accept the deal.

Although i don’t deny that theses tactics can be effective to go for closure, I see that most tactics applied are suitable for B2C sales and not B2B sales.

The tactics to go for closure in B2B sales need to be more sophisticated, often because more people are involved and the deals take longer time to close.

I know you are more likely to increase your hit rate if you follow the recommendations given in this article. These  are grouped into three main topics.

> Target the right prospects

> What needs to be established to go for closure ?

> Apply the “Fantastic Four” concept: Who? How? When? and Why?

Why B2C sales closing tactics don’t work in B2B sales

From my many years working with B2B sales I know your success in closing a deal is much more correlated to the quality of your qualification phase than your ability to “trick” your prospect.

In fact in B2C sales you only need to convince a single buyer, often in one meeting or call.

In B2B sales you need to get the “go” from multiple people.

Even if you may be able to get a “yes” from one of your stakeholders using B2C tactics the same tactic won’t work on their colleague or manager.

This is due to the fact that B2C tactics are focused on pushing a quick decision and B2B is not about quick decisions in one customer interaction.

Another obstacle in the B2B environment is time, the sales process is longer: that is to say the moment between the approval and the effective realization of the deal is not measured in minutes, hours or days but in weeks or months.

Therefore, the initially triggered approval is more likely to vanish over time if your client is not deeply convinced of the value of the deal.

For all of these reasons I believe that your ability to close a deal lies in the quality of your qualification phase.

Who should I approach ?

One of the most important things you as a sales rep can do to increase your hit rate is to make sure you work with the right kind of potential customers (prospects).

If you work with the wrong kind of prospects the rest of the recommendations in this article won’t matter.

Don’t waste your time on something that was bound to fail to begin with.

If your company has not provided you with a target customer profile, create one now!

What is needed to go for closure ?

Before moving on to the fantastic four there are some basics that we need to establish.

Unless these basics are established between you and your potential customer you will never be able to go for closure.

To be able to go for closure you must make the decision makers you are interacting with:

Trust you – If they don’t trust you as an individual, you will never be able to get them to buy from you !

Trust your company – If they don’t trust your company will be able to survive, deliver the service/product or whatever they might worry about, they won’t buy from you !

Love your product/service – If they don’t love your product, it will be much harder to make them choose you and your company as the provider. The less they love your product the more you need to work with discounts !

To reach these things you as an individual sales rep need to be:

Enthusiastic – If you are not super engaged about your product, why should they bother looking at you offer. They must feel your pride about selling this product and also how convinced you are that the product will be the best choice.

Sharp – Your time is precious, you don’t waste their time and certainly not yours. WHen you say something it matters.

The expert – You need to know what you are talking about. Your customer expects you to provide knowledge, domain expertise and recommendations to the discussion. This part is vital to build trust.

Unfortunately many reps neglect these basics and try to go for closure without them being fulfilled.

That’s why we see many reps working with discounts, gets low hit rates, the prospect perceive the reps as pushy and not listening.

In modern sales it is crucial to nail these things to go for closure. To be able to nail them applying the “Fantastic four” is one good approach.

Step up your Qualification phase with the “Fantastic Four”

Since classic closing “tactics” are not efficient in a B2B you should focus on building the best qualification phase possible.

A good qualification phase will assure you to address the real need of your prospect and the closing phase will go smoothly.

To do so you can use the “Fantastic Four”: Who? How? When? and Why?

The answers to these four questions will help you to maximize your chances to close the deal.

In fact it will just become a minor milestone to pass on the way to get your product/service onboard.

Who is making the decision ?

Your goal here is to identify who is the real decision maker.

The person with enough decision power and budget to proceed if you manage the person.

You do not want to waste your time with a person that is not a decision maker.

In fact it will be quite disappointing when a prospect with whom you had agreed will come back and say that the superior manager does not agree.

To do so you need to identify how your target organization is proceeding when buying products or services like yours.

How is the decision made ?

Your goal here is to identify the buying process of your prospect organization to fit in and increase your chance of success.

This requires answering a series of questions like: How do they review the competition ?

You want to know how many and which of your competitors are being reviewed.

You also want to know if there are several steps in the buying process and how many.

Then you can also try to affect the process to align with your own strengths.

What are their proofing habit? Are they looking for a large established provider or small agile one. Do they require a proof of concept or not? etc. Same thing with a Minimum Viable Product.

What are the most important criteria? Is it the price or the quality?

Do they usually require a good after sales service or is it something they don’t really care about?

When will the decision be made?

Too often sales reps reach out to their prospects when it’s not a relevant timing.

By addressing the “when” question you will make sure to initiate your qualification process when it’s a good timing for them.

They won’t buy if the timing is not right so, again, don’t waste your time. 

You can detect recurrent buying periods by analysing your customers and see when they are buying your product on average.

In the same way you can look for common buying triggers among your existing customers and see if you can detect them among your prospects. 

Often though, the easiest way to know the answer to the “when” question is actually to just ask.

Also, if the person don’t know “when”, ask if there is a colleague who might know, if such a person exist, they are also more likely to be the decision maker.

Finally, to step up your Qualification Process, you will need an answer to the most important question: Why?

Why do they want to buy?

This topic has widely been covered in various articles, however a quick reminder should be welcomed because answering “Why?” will greatly increase your chance of success.

In fact, an organization will only buy your product or service if you correctly address it’s needs.

In this phase your goal is to identify the real needs of your potential buyers.

What problems do they seek to solve with your solution? What are the existing pain points?

What solution are they currently using and why do they want to change?

You want to know exactly why they need to change.

From a business perspective:

> What are they looking to achieve when it comes to ROI?

> Do they already know which KPIs they want to improve?

> You need to discover their business goals.

Finally, you want to know what personal goals they seek to achieve by buying your solution.

It is important to know what their intrinsic motivation are to leverage on them.

For example, it can be earning their bosses trust or try to get promoted.

When can I go for closure?

Just as previously said, you can’t apply B2C tactics to go for closure when working in B2B sales.

The most important things are about trust and the fact the customer loves your product/service.

Once you feel those are established you should actually ask the question.

In many cases you need to repeat that process with several people.

Therefore going for closure means different things in different stages.

In the first meeting going for closure is most likely about getting access to the other stakeholders that are part of the process.

Once all those stakeholders have been covered, going for closure means closing the deal.