A series of essays about sales, startups, & general banter by Nick Persico

Earning The Right To Close

If you're in sales, these objections should sound familiar:

  • We've decided to go another direction.
  • We don't have the budget.
  • We don't have enough time to use this.
  • I really want to buy, but I couldn't get it approved.
  • We can't swing it right now.

The above objections are crushing to salespeople because of the amount of effort it takes just to get to that point. The demos, follow ups, and beautifully managed objections were all for nothing. What happened? Why did this closing call turn into you marking the deal lost in your CRM?

It's because you didn't earn the right to close.

Are they really qualified?

People that are new to sales waste a lot of time on bad deals because they don't properly qualify their prospects. The qualifying part of your sales process should be what you monitor the most.

As a rule, I like to optimize a strict qualifying criteria so that at least 75% of my pipeline winds up closing.

Here is a basic qualifying criteria for any SaaS product I sell:

  • They've seen a live demo or used the product and understands how it works.
  • They have articulated how they intend to use the product and I agree with it.
  • We've discussed pricing for them, and they've confirmed that it's in the budget.
  • We both agree on the next steps and a timeline for closing.

Identify & talk to everyone involved.

A common time killer for salespeople is selling the wrong person. You may find yourself selling the decision maker, but they may not be the person that will use the product. It's on you to identify and reach out to that person.

Talk to as many people at the organization as possible. This will increase the likelihood that the customer stays with you for the long haul. Each person's point of view will also help you understand how they make decisions as a team.

Does your product involve a change in behavior?

Startups and their products are usually being built by people who want to change the way things are done. Therefore, your not selling just a product. You're selling a change in behavior. Your product is just a way to reduce the friction sorrounding the change.

Ask yourself and the prospect: How will using this product change their day-to-day business? What behavior and processes will be affected? Are they ready, willing, and excited to make the change?

Do their work for them.

Always put your prospect in a position to experience your product with as little friction as possible. Show them a demo that's relevant to them. If you offer a free trial or demo, onboard them like you would a paying customer.

When two parties are working towards an agreement, they'll each go through due dilligence to evaluate the risks and benefits.

As a salesperson, you have to do that for both parties.

You've earned the right to close once you're holding the deal up.

Be the person holding the deal up if you're not confident that the customer will be successful using your product. Your hesitation should give them even more confidence in their decision to become your customer. You're looking out for them.

Earning the right to close is a mentality that all great salespeople have. It's one of the reasons why great salespeople rarely hear the objections at the top of this post.

Profile of Nick Persico

Nick Persico

Head of Growth at Close.io. Previous: Co-Founder of Smart Host (StartupBus 2014, Techstars Austin S14), VP of Ops at Krossover, and sales at Sysco. Baltimore Orioles and Ravens fan. GIF enthusiast.