Why do so many business owners resort to adding more services or worse, performing random acts of discounting, when they could simply make a few adjustments to how they sell?
Too often, the isolated business owner fears that the only way to make the sale is to become a bully or alter their style altogether. This makes them avoid the game of selling. Which only makes matters worse.
If you’re having spotty success closing the sale, you probably need to change the HOW – not the WHAT or the WHO – when it comes to your sales conversations. Many of my clients have made the simple tweaks laid out in this article – and suddenly raise their close rate up to 75%!
These simple tweaks are the difference between closing the sale and going home empty handed.
Let me give you a real-life example that I witnessed recently…
I was in line at Green Life – Asheville’s coolest organic grocery store.
The guy in front of me had a few small items. His total came to $14.38.
As he pulled out his debit card, the cashier asked, “Would you like to round up to $15 and donate the rest of that money to this month’s charity?” She shared the name of the local organization where the money would go.
He said yes.
This local charity idea has been going on for years. Each month the grocery store picks a cause and asks for donations at the check-out line.
Until this particular day, however, the question posed at check out had always been:
“Would you like to donate anything to our local charity this month?”
The new strategy intrigued me.
So when it was my turn to check out, I asked the cashier how this new question was working for her. She leaned over to me and said, “Omigod, last month we raised like $978 more than our usual amount!”
Regardless of how you feel about raising money like this – the lesson here is important to you as a business:
Your sales success is directly correlated to your CALL TO ACTION.
A Call to Action (CTA) is how you tell your customer what you want them to do NEXT. People respond to definite calls to action. They respond to CLARITY.
Let’s look at the cashier’s two different CTA’s more closely so you can apply this to your business.
CTA #1 – “Would you like to donate something to this month’s charity?”
What happens in your brain when you get asked this question?
Well, first, the question requires that you do it or not to do it. That’s a pretty big choice.
But then, you have a second decision as well, right? You also have to decide what amount you want to give.
That’s a lot of decisions for your average brain, especially when you have a long line of people behind you!
I mean, is a dollar is too little? Would that make you stingy?
Or should it be more like $5? Or does that make you a total pushover who just gives money because you can be guilted into pretty much any cause that’s out there?
And wait just a minute! Didn’t you say yes the last time you were here? (Hey, when was that anyway?)
Too many decisions and your mind will just give in and say, “Screw it. No.”
Brain Science for Selling
Making decisions relies heavily on a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex.
Your brain goes through many complex steps to analyze and solve a problem If there are too many steps, your brain runs out of processing power. That’s when it shuts down. It stops processing the decision because it’s easier to say no.
This means that, when given too many choices, people will default to not taking action. It’s easier to do nothing than it is to do all that work.
CTA #2 – Your total is $14.38. Would you like to round up to $15 and give your change to our local charity this month?”
The cashier did the math for you. She didn’t make you wonder whether or not you should feel guilty for only giving 62 cents. She did the work, offered you the parameters and let you simply say yes or no.
No wrestling with emotions. No doing math problems or feeling the pressure of the line of people behind you. The relief provided in this option is probably accountable for the better results for the charitable cause.
So, based on this one simple sales conversation shift, let’s create a call-to-action or CTA that will get you more sales – and more business!
Solo Business Owner’s Call-to-Action Makeover:
1 – Give clear parameters.
Let’s look at one of the most common things solo business owners like to say to a prospect who says that they need that service or should look into hiring them some time.
“Hey, just give me a call. You know where to find me.”
This is not a Call to Action. This is avoidance of clarity.
It says, “Hey, I’m here. Whenever.”
“That’s nice,” thinks your prospect.
And they don’t take action because, frankly, it’s just easier not to. You didn’t do the work for them.
Giving clear parameters looks like this:
“You’re interested in working with me? Awesome! Why don’t we hop on the phone on Friday at noon?”
See the difference? Giving parameters means you set up the structure for them. You are taking the extra work of thinking too hard away from their already over-worked brain.
2 – Give your prospect choices, but make them simple and obvious.
It’s good to offer options to a client – but be sure to keep it simple. Limit your packages to two or three. And don’t get bogged down in explaining all the details.
3 – Make use of hypotheticals.
We all cringe at the ol’ “What’s it gonna take for me to get you to drive this car home today?” approach to selling. That’s because no one likes to be sold.
But we do like to buy. Buying is fun. It can be playful.
Give your prospects the chance to “play with” the idea of buying.
Example: “If you were to choose one of these packages, which one feels the best to you?”
Using hypotheticals serves two purposes:
1 – It dials down the pressure.
2 – It lets your prospect visualize ideal outcomes.
Hypotheticals are less direct than “Are you ready to buy?” (Ask this too soon and you might get a No that ends any chance of continuing the conversation.)
One of my clients is a realtor and uses this question: “If you were going to change anything about this house, what would it be?” The “if” has allows her buyers to visualize the possibilities. Same goes for your services.
“If we were to work together, what would an ideal outcome be for you?”
“If we were to meet up one year from now, what would have to have happened in your life to say that working with me was the best choice you ever made?”
4 – Create a script in advance.
Here at Uplelvel Academy, we give our clients a five-page sales script broken down into understandable segments that they use and sometimes say word-for-word.
It may seem like a script would make you sound robotic. However, in a selling situation, which can be highly charged for some people, it will help you to relax and follow along if you have written down a natural-sounding script in advance. It will help you eliminate those rambling rabbit holes and excess chatter. (Which confuses your prospect.)
Practice makes perfect. If you’re not used to selling, you can try out some different phrases to see what feels right for you. Rehearse what you’ve written out loud and see if it feels natural. Make edits until you have a genuine and compelling script that you can deliver effortlessly.
5 – Assume the Yes.
Next time a Girl Scout comes to your door, make note of what she says…
“Do you want to buy some cookies?”
Or, “How many boxes can I put you down for?”
And watch how you respond.
Any Girl Scout who wants big cookie sales knows that when she asks “how many,” your first answer is a number. Your brain skips the Yes/No option entirely and goes straight to how many Thin Mints you can fit in your pantry (and maybe how long each box would last).
Where do you continually get tripped up when you try to close the sale? Did you get any big aha’s from these strategies?