Sales are undoubtedly a crucial component in an entrepreneur's arsenal, but many startups stumble over the basics when closing a deal. We spoke with sales expert and 'Turnaround King' Grant Cardone for a Google Hangout, where he spoke about the importance of persistence and suggested ways to differentiate your product and close a sale. Here are three important takeaways from the conversation.
1. Don't discount, add value.
When consumers tighten their grips on their wallets, most businesses react by reducing prices. Bad move, Cardone says, as this is a defensive strategy that will hurt your bottom line.
"I have never tried to be the lowest cost provider in anything," he says. Instead, he suggests coming up with a value proposition that separates your product from the pack. For example, in lieu of slashing rents during the economic downturn, Cardone says he capitalized on an opportunity that his competitors missed. "Other buildings around me didn't allow dogs. I added fences to the bottom floors and encouraged them. Great Danes, Rottweilers, whatever." People were willing to pay much higher rents for this amenity, he says.
2. Closing is different from selling.
In the selling stage, you build value around the product and tout its benefits, Cardone explains. But closing is an agreement to do business. You've already accomplished the goal of making them want the product, Cardone says. "Now get them to sign."
The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make, Cardone says, is that when a customer complains about price they go back to convincing them of the benefits of the product.
"When you're done selling," Cardone says, "you don't go back and sell again. You close." Most objections about price are merely complaints, he says. "When a customer says 'that's a lot of money,' that's all they're saying." Be firm and push through to a written commitment.
Don't try to solve a customer's money problems, he says. "Be like Santa. Santa has complete disregard for everybody's budget. He doesn't care if you're broke or bankrupt. He's like, 'we've got to do some Christmas presents--period.'"
3. In sales, there's more than one path to heaven.
Sales isn't just about using one tactic, such as working the phones or sending emails. It could be a combination of methods, Cardone says.
"Use all possible mechanisms to contact people," he says. It might take 100 phone calls, followed by 100 emails and face-to-face visits. "Whatever is necessary, do it," he says. You have to get attention before someone will buy from you, he says.
Ensure that the person you're reaching out to is a decision maker, he adds. It should be someone with the power to say yes or no, who is interested in the product and has the financial means to make a purchase.
"My rule is the harder they are to get to, the easier they are to close," Cardone says. "If they're easy to get in front of, they don't have access to money and checks, and they don't make decisions."