It never fails. You’ve invested a huge amount of time with a potential customer, giving them the spiel, going all out to impress and win hearts and minds. You even work with them in order to come up with an arrangement that’s mutually favorable. You can’t miss, you can’t lose. All bases are covered, all concerns addressed. You’re in the zone. You send out the contracts for the signature, the last thing needed in order to get the ball rolling.

Alas, that is a ball that does no rolling, because you’re waiting forever for that signature. The would-be customer stalls, hesitates, comes up with excuses, and sometimes doesn’t even take your calls or respond to your texting or emails.

All that work, time and energy that could have been used on another potential client with just as much if not a greater chance of success, all of it gone to waste. Are there ways that you can improve that closing ratio and get the customer to pull the trigger? As a matter of fact, there are …

Nail Down An Absolute Date, And Find Out Why

Don’t let a potential customer skate by with an answer like “Soon”, or “Sometime in the next few weeks”. No, you need a date, an actual, honest-to-goodness month, day, and date set up for things like deliveries, installation, or the start of services. A client who says “In the near future” isn’t giving you a good answer; one who says “Thursday, July 23rd” is playing ball.

As for the why, it’s important to ascertain the reasons behind the chosen date. Maybe it’s for budgetary reasons, or their old service contract is running out. If you can find out the reason and it’s a very compelling one, you can hedge your bets that the deal will go through.

For instance, a couple who own two cars but is looking to replace one of them aren’t as likely a lock as a couple who have just one car and it’s ready to fall apart. The latter are much more motivated to actually follow through with a sale.

Allow Some Wiggle Room

Hey, stuff happens. Sometimes it’s at your end, sometimes it’s at the customer’s end. Maybe they need the goods or services earlier, or need to push it back a bit. Set the amount of flexibility ahead of time, so that there will be no nasty surprises for either party.

There Will be Consequences

That sounds a lot more dramatic than intended, but just roll with it. The consequences you’re trying to ascertain here are those the customer will suffer if they don’t give the deal a green light. Take our car-buying couple referenced earlier, the one who that only has one car and it’s on the verge of collapse. If their car is on its last legs, then not getting one ASAP is going to put them at risk of dealing with breakdowns and expensive repair work.

By finding out the consequences, then you as the sales person can gauge the likelihood of the deal going through without incident. If the customer’s supervisor is breathing down their neck demanding a solution to be implemented by tomorrow, then you can pretty much count on things going your way.

Come Up With A Process And Use It

Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “When I find something that works, I stick with it!”. There is much wisdom in those words. Selling something to a customer is not a one-shot thing, but rather a process. Specifically, that process is a series of steps that you take with each customer, from initial contact to the final signing on the dotted line, then into the future with follow-up.

Create a process based on what’s worked for you and your sales team, write it out, then make sure it becomes standard operational procedure. This idea is echoed in the article “Popping The Question- Ensuring A Good Close Ratio”, which says “When you are trying to close a sale that is not transactional in nature, it’s important to sell your process, not your product or service.”

Know What You’re Selling

You think this would be obvious, but you’d be surprised. Not only should you be familiar with the goods and services that you’re offering, you should also become familiar with all of the reasons why someone would NOT want to make a deal, and then come up with counter-arguments. Anticipate resistance, and find workarounds.

These are but some idea on how to get that closing ratio up. There’s more advice out there to be found and acted on, such as “Storytelling Techniques To Increase Your Sales”, which shows how an emotional connection can tip the scales in your favor. Good luck!