The Investment Of Closing a Sale
How much are you willing to invest in closing a sale? One minute of your time? Ten minutes of your time? How about ten hours of your time? The amount of time you invest will often be commensurate with the size of the sale.
Retail sales involve a very short sales cycle. In some cases you can blink and it’s over. As you probably know, most retail salespeople are paid an hourly wage. At the end of the week, they get a paycheck that they can spend immediately. No questions asked.
Commission sales is an entirely different story. For example, real estate transactions involve a much longer sales cycle. From the time a home is listed to the time the realtor sees the money in the bank can often be months. Most real estate salespeople work on straight commission – if the property doesn’t sell, they don’t get paid. However, if the property does sell, the pay is often significant for the amount of time invested. As a general rule, the higher the risk and time commitment involved, the higher the pay.
You, as a person in sales, must decide what your time is worth. How much of your time are you willing to invest in getting the sale? Also, how much of your time are you willing to risk on a deal that may go south?
When I was starting out in sales, I was guilty of getting caught up with prospects that did not have a real need at the time of engagement or in some cases had no intention of purchasing at all. I’m embarrassed to say it happened many times during my early years. It was a function of experience and qualifying my prospect. As I gained more experience, my skills at qualifying a prospect improved greatly.
A key component to qualifying a lead is simple: ask questions. A few questions you may want to ask when qualifying a prospect are:
- Do you have a need now?
- If not now, when?
- What is your budget?
- Are the funds available or will you need a lender?
- Are you the primary decision maker, or is there another person or group who must make the final decision?
While there are many other questions you will want to ask that are buyer and industry specific, if the prospect can’t answer these five basic qualifying questions, you may want to move on to one that will.
I invite you to watch this short video by sales great Jeffrey Gitomer on asking questions:
Asking Powerful Questions
By asking qualifying questions, you will improve your time management and, consequently, you will improve your income. This requires discipline on your part. It also requires confidence in your belief that the services you offer are of real value that you can stand behind. Sales can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. Put in some work by doing a little research and asking the right questions. In turn, you will save your prospect and yourself time and move closer to what you both want: a sale.