In the buyer’s journey, the gap between Analysis and Action is frequently left untraveled. Many shop. Few buy. It is not hard to understand why I am often asked how to close a sale.
How to Close a Sale: YES is nothing without HOW
In order to cross the gap from “shopping” to “sale” the buyer and the seller must co-build a bridge to a final decision. The answer to how to close a sale is a predefined process to prove your solution should be implemented. We call it a Mutual Action Plan (MAP).
The Mutual Action Plan: Your Roadmap to Closing Sales
The answer to how to close a sale, is to do it WITH your customer. A Mutual Action Plan is co-built with the buyer. The resulting written MAP is shared with the customer, to ensure clarity and agreement.
If we co-build the process and verify it with the customer, it ensures the agreement is mutual and real. It ensures both parties have skin in the game.
Why the Sales Forecast is Not Accurate
The traditional method for measuring the quality of opportunities in the sales funnel is to ask salespeople to put information about each deal into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
In contrast, The MAP builds customer validation into the sales process. Subjectivity is removed by verifying the conversation, in writing, with the customer.
You can record the MAP in your CRM.
How a MAP Helps the Buying and Selling Organizations
- A MAP provides a basis for resource allocation in long sales cycles.
If it costs you $100,000.00 to pursue an opportunity, you can decide not to invest in the opportunity until you have a MAP.
The buyer needs to make a similar investment decision.
- Since a MAP is written for complex opportunities, it answers the question, how to close a sale, by reminding the seller and the buyer where they are in a long sales cycle.
- If the sales team and buying team consist of multiple people, the document keeps all the players, on both teams, informed.
- If players change on either side, the MAP brings new players up-to-speed.
- For the sales lead, the MAP is a leadership tool. The answer to how to close a sale is to enable your cross-functional team with information and direction.
- For sales managers, a MAP enables meaningful coaching because it is a recap of the key elements of qualification.
- For salespeople the MAP is a level of self-imposed discipline and quality assurance. Since the MAP requires you to address all the key elements of qualification, you cannot write it unless you have answers to all the hard questions. The answer to how to close a sale is to make sure you did not skip a key step.
Do You Have a MAP?
You’ll know that you’ve developed a MAP with a client when you can check all of these boxes:
☐ Is the MAP co-built?
☐ Are clear steps to the ultimate yes or no defined?
☐ Did the customer confirm a written MAP?
Click to Download MAP Template
When you use a MAP, closing sales is no longer about pressure. It is about co-building a truly mutual series of steps that lead to a conclusion in a timeframe with which both parties are comfortable.
“The greatest enemy of communication is the illusion of it.”
– Pierre Martineau