Discover what to do with the rep who never seems to be able to close. Look at how to find out the real deal about whether customers are engaged or not, as well as how to help your rep figure out when to walk away.
- We've all seen that rep who is unable to close. It's a common problem, especially with less experienced reps. The good news is, this is a solvable problem. So if your rep is having trouble closing, the first thing you want to do is coach your rep on trying to figure out if the buyer is a serious customer or not. So, you want to ask your rep questions like this. Is this customer similar to our other existing customers? Are you speaking to someone who has the authority to make a decision, or are you stuck in purchasing, or maybe with a middle man? If your rep isn't speaking to the correct person, you can overview some techniques to help them get to a true buyer.
You want to encourage your rep to say things like, you know, I think having a conversation with the real buyer will ensure that we're making a plan that will meet his goals. Or, maybe, you might suggest that your rep have you, their boss, come in, to help them get to the boss of the person that they're calling on. But if your rep is calling on the right person, and it's still stalled, it might be that they're not building enough value to create urgency. So, ask your rep questions like, you know, why would this matter to this customer? Help me understand.
What's the win for the customer? Ask your rep, how can you provide a fresh approach to get them more engaged? How might we reframe that story? So, value building and getting to the right buyer aside, sometimes it just doesn't happen. Some reps spend a lot of their time focusing on sales that will never close. So, some signs that you want to look at as a coach might include things like, a lack of response to emails, or lack of response to phone calls, a buyer who consistently reschedules meetings, or a lack of questions from the buyer.
You know, you can usually tell if a buyer is going to close or not based on your gut intuition, because you're more experienced in this. If that's the case, it's important that you give your rep permission to stop investing time and resources in a sale that's not going to close, but coach them on how to keep the relationship positive and open. So, let's look at two scenarios. The rep has made multiple sales calls, and they just can't seem to get the deal to close. And I want you to watch my behavior as the coach, and ask yourself, which one of these scenarios is best in terms of serving the rep and our company? So, Elizabeth, where are you with the Bender account? - Well, I'm still working, but it's going to close.
- That is excellent news. How big do you think it's going to be? - I hope 20,000 or 30,000. - $30,000 would be amazing. When do you think you can get the revenue in? - I'm shooting for end of the quarter. - End of the quarter, $30,000. Now, do you have all the decision makers? - Not yet, but I will. - I know you'll be able to do it. So, here's my vision, $30,000, end of the quarter, you are going to close this thing. - I'm going to try. - I am so confident in you. You're a sales machine. I see you closing this, you got it? - Got it. - You go.
So in this first scenario, I think I was pretty motivating. I got Elizabeth fired up, she's going to go back out there, and she is going to give it another whirl. But let's watch the same scenario, and this time, I'm going to use some different coaching behaviors, and I want you to think about which one of these two scenarios is actually more effective. So, Elizabeth, where are you with the Bender account? - Well, I'm still working on it, but I think it's going to close. - Good, so, tell me a little bit about it. What are the indications the buyer's given you that he's moving forward? - Well, I'm not talking to him.
I'm talking to his admin, and she's trying to get me on the calendar. - Mmkay, how long you been trying? - A month, maybe two. - Hmm, well, that's a pretty long time. What's been the responsiveness on their side? - Well, I think they have some interest, but we haven't really talked value yet, so, we're still early. - So, have you talked to the buyer at all? What's been his response? - I haven't talked to him yet. - Well, what's his admin saying? - Well, she just says he's really busy, but she's going to work on it. - Okay, well, I'm a little bit concerned that he hasn't been responsive.
I mean, think back to what's been going on. Is this a good use of your time? - I mean, now that I think about it, he hasn't returned my last three emails, so I might be down a rabbit hole. - Mmm, are there other things that you should, you know, be working on instead? I mean, what's the real likelihood this one's going to close, do you think? - Well, I just some new leads, so maybe I can focus on those and put this one on a back burner for now. - Yeah, I mean, if he hasn't answered you after three times, I mean, I might give it one more, and then, you know, he's sending you a message. - Yeah, good call.
- Yeah. It would be really easy to say that the first scenario was the best one, because, like I said, I was pretty motivating. But think about what was happening. I was actually telling her to go get something that was never going to happen. You know, in this second scenario, as her coach, I was actually better. Because by questioning her, I helped her eliminate a possibility that was never going to close, and she reached that conclusion on her own. You know, good coaching can jumpstart a stalled sales process, and there are other times when your coaching is to help your reps let go of something that frees up their time for something better.
It will increase their win rate, and, ultimately, make them a stronger rep.
- What sales coaching is and what it's not
- Planning for a call
- Dealing with a difficult call
- Debriefing after a big win or a loss
- Positioning yourself with the customer
- Dealing with customers who ignore your rep
- Handling abusive customers
- Planning joint calls
- Creating killer presentations and proposals
- Dealing with stalled sales processes