One of our Elite BSC Tribe members recently asked this question. “I have 3 ripe prospects in my sales funnel right now. What is your sales process from proposal to closing? Do you perform an in-person presentation? What does the follow-up look like and how soon before you start following up with emails or phone calls? In short, how do I increase my close rate?” This is a common question many janitorial contractors have. Is there anything more frustrating than thinking you have a new client, only to find out you lost the bid? Let me offer what I think are 4 keys to a successful close. These are real practices we have used to grow our company to over $18M in revenue.
Tip #1 – Team Sell
While we want to create a bang-up proposal that will wow the prospect, the sale really happens long before the proposal is delivered. Customers buy from people they trust and view as credible. Trust and credibility, however, are built over time as the prospect interacts with your team. Throughout the sales process, from initial contact to proposal delivery, the prospect should interface with at least two or three members of your team. This will build their confidence that you have a robust and credible team to deliver the service they are looking for.
Tip #2 – In Person Presentations
I hate emailed proposals. They are impersonal and give the prospect too much emotional freedom. Presenting your janitorial proposal in person allows you to interact with the prospect yet another time, ask questions, read body language, deal with objections, etc. If you can ensure an in-person proposal, your chances of winning the business increase, all other things being equal.
Tip #3 – Ask The Hard Questions
I have one particular question that I love asking a customer at the end of a sales presentation. Is there anything keeping us from gaining your business? I want to ask this question and then sit back, shut up, and let the customer talk. This is my opportunity to put them on the spot and find out if there are any objections looming that I wasn’t aware of. If you do find any legitimate objections, you can either deal with them on the spot, or use the information to help with an effective follow-up campaign.
Tip #4 – Pressure With Purpose, But Don’t Annoy
Finally, you need to have a solid follow-up plan. There is a fine line to walk between persistence and pestering, but you must find the balance. With each follow-up call or email, make sure you have a purpose. Perhaps there is a specific question you want to ask, a document you want to send, or an answer you want to give. For instance, let’s say the prospect was worried about your lack of experience with a facility of their type. In your follow-up plan, send them a referral letter from a similar customer and reiterate your ability to serve them.
If you implement these four simple tips, you will improve your chances of landing that next big customer.