What is the one thing many people in sales get wrong that affects their closing success? They walk away from a meeting without a firm understanding of what their prospect’s problems, challenges or needs are.

Some salespeople do an amazing job of presenting their product or service and feel pretty pumped up about giving a great presentation. When I ask them to tell me about the meeting or what they learned many don’t have much to share. They can however, give me the blow by blow of what they said and how they said it. I admit they killed their sales presentation. Amazing. But, and there is a big but here, they did not learn anything new about their prospect. Some discover more about them personally, how many kids they have, what sports they play, where they go to school or what kind of dogs they have. It is great to begin to build a relationship; however, you can do both equally well.

key to closing more business

The key to closing more business is to uncover your prospect’s pain then give a presentation that addresses their needs.

So, if I can only give you one thing. The ONE KEY to being more effective in your sales appointment that will result in closing more business is to discover your prospect’s pain. I am a firm believer, if you don’t uncover their needs or challenges you are not going to sell them.

So how to you do that?  It all starts with your pre-call planning. Yes, a little extra work for those of you who like to wing it. What is your plan for the meeting? It takes time to get meetings these days. Make sure you are providing value.

Pre-call Planning Lead to Closing Success

  1. Research the person you are meeting with. LinkedIn is a good place to start.
  2. Research their company and review their website.
  3. Research their industry. What are the common challenges in their industry?
  4. What is the title of the person you are meeting with? What are some common challenges for people in this role?
  5. Develop a list of questions you will ask in your meeting.

Many people ask me if the questions should be written and visible. My response is no. I think the average salesperson is capable of remembering a short list of go to questions. You want the discovery stage to be a natural part of the meeting. If you are properly prepared you will know what questions you need to ask. Remember to listen to the answers because that is where your next question will come from. In order to find the pain, you need to move away from the obvious and dig deeper to discover their real problem.

Shelly Pereira is a Sales Coach and Sales Trainer with Verance Consulting.