7 easy-to-overlook factors that will trash your close ratio
While no doubt you got a good sense from those posts of what NOT to do to a prospect, there are more ways to do a bad number on your close ratio…and that’s something your business just can’t afford.
When connecting with your ideal prospects, there are two key areas to address:
- how you mentally prepare for these interactions
- how you actually conduct the conversations
Naturally, the inner work you do will affect your outer work, and vice versa. So let’s look at these areas individually and in tandem.
Not having a clear sense of your own value.
Chances are that one of your toughest critics is the one inside your own head. Many, many talented entrepreneurs question their value, or continually – and unfavorably – compare themselves to others in their field. This is a really effective way of eroding your self-confidence; this, in turn, makes it hard to convince your prospects to place their confidence in you.
Repeating past mistakes.
The Universe will continue to send you learning opportunities as long as you need them. The question is, How long can you afford to spend time on the lessons?
It’s tempting to try to put mistakes behind you as quickly as possible; after all, who really wants to re-live the embarrassment of sticking your foot in your mouth?
The only problem with this approach is that, if you don’t learn from your mistakes, you’ll be doomed to repeat them. Can you say yuck?
Re-inventing the wheel.
The flip side of not learning from your mistakes is not learning from your successes.
It’s natural to celebrate closing that ideal client. It’s smart to review and document what you said and did that resulted in the close.
If you fail to intentionally develop and refine success strategies, your successes are likely to be intermittent, more the result of luck than skill.
Not talking to enough of the right people and/or not engaging them enough.
You’ve got an 80% close ratio? Fantastic! But you only have an in-depth Discovery call with one ideal client a month? Not so fantastic.
Or maybe you have a decent-sized list of people to market to, but only connect with them every couple of weeks….maybe three.
Your inner and outer games have to be equally sharp.
You certainly don’t want to talk to just anybody, nor do you want to badger people on your list. Having said that, though, successful marketing is, to some extent, a numbers game. Your long-term success depends on speaking to enough of your ideal clients (you do know who they are, right?) and connecting with them powerfully enough that they ultimately feel comfortable working with you.
Not asking for the sale.
You’ve heard it a zillion times: The best prospect discussion ever is worth exactly nothing if you don’t conclude by asking for the sale.
Have you taken it seriously yet?
The results may look the same whether you get a “no” or simply don’t ask, but their impact is very different.
Getting a “no” does a lot for you:
- it encourages you to make sure your selection criteria for talking to prospects are appropriate
- it points out areas where your Discovery questions need work, thus enabling you to be more effective next time
- it builds your confidence because you know that – despite the possibility of “no” – you had the self-confidence to ask anyway
On the other hand, not asking does a lot to you:
- leaves you in the dark as to which parts of the conversation were effective and which were not
- wastes time and energy
- damages your confidence because you have to admit to yourself that you just plain chickened out
Probably all of us have had at least one experience of wondering where the money for this month’s bills was going to come from.
Knowing you need to earn enough to keep yourself and important others fed and sheltered is certainly a powerful motivator to bring in more business. But when that needs shifts to desperation, your prospect will feel it a mile off and take off running.
Not laying the groundwork for a productive prospect conversation.
No one likes to be taken by surprise – and that includes your prospects. If they don’t know what you expect from you during a call, they’re likely to have all their defensive shields up because they expect you to try to “sell” them.
And if you don’t know what you want the call to accomplish, you certainly can’t tell them.
“To see what shakes out” is a very, very bad goal for a prospect conversation. Unless you have all the time, money, and prospects in the world, steer clear of this approach.
Do any of these ring a bell? What other “Don’t go there!” blunders can you share with us? Let us know in the Comments section below.
(BTW, thanks to Kevin Gessner for posting the trash image in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in business development and tagged professional skills. Bookmark the permalink.