In 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s smarmy sales lead Blake utters the iconic line, “Coffee is for closers.” Closing is at the heart of gigs and sales. Even though it is the bedrock of your revenue, it’s often the most overlooked. The following steps and insights will help you improve your closing game.
1. Respond quickly
According to the RAIN Group, 71% of buyers want to hear from you early in the process. Taking too long to respond to your leads gives your competition time to connect and evaluate bids and work for a better deal. The early bird gets the worm, and experience tells us all that talent + productivity = money.
Harvard Business Review released a study that revealed, “Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead…as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later.” Set a goal to respond to all leads within 5 minutes.
2. Follow up on every lead
Sales is a numbers game. Following up on every lead ensures that you’re staying in the hunt for those leads that can make your year. Remember, you don’t need to book every lead, just the leads that bring you the revenue you need. However, you’ll never get those bookings without connecting to every potential lead that comes across.
Make a commitment to respond to every lead, even the window shoppers and bargain hunters. You may not hear back from them all, but don’t be discouraged. You did your job, and if you stay diligent, those leads will start to convert.
Our Director of Customer Experience, Megan, frames it this way:
“If you owned a brick-and-mortar store, you would say hello to each person that entered because you never know who is going to buy something.”
For some, it may seem overwhelming to answer every lead that comes through. That’s where such features on the GigSalad platform like saved messages and quotes work in your favor. You can create responses and quote packages beforehand, and then appropriately share them as you reply to each quote.
For helpful tips and resources on how to respond to leads check out these other GigSalad blog posts:
Nailing the First Impression
Becoming a Better Writer for Your Business
Four Steps to Getting the Price Right for Your Business
Four Keys to Effective Communication
How to Write Captivating Gig Descriptions that Secure Sales
3. Stay positive
Sales, as a concept, is problem-solving and wish fulfillment. Each lead is your opportunity to help someone solve a problem, answer a question, or make a wish come true. Want a face painter for your child’s birthday? I’m your man! Do you need a sassy bartender for your bachelorette party? I can do that!
Focusing on the client’s needs and expectations results not only in closing this deal, but creating future clients that will book you over and over again. Your client is not the professional you are, so make the commitment to be their friend in the business.
Staying positive and closing more sales means focusing on:
- Answering questions: HubSpot contributor Adam Wiggins gives these tips about closing. Check out his full blog post here.
- Use Question Closes such as, “Does that price work for you?” or “Are we ready to confirm your booking?”
- Try Assumption Closes like, “I’ve got the right solution for you. Does my bid get you what you need?”
- Clarifying expectations: At the heart of any business is problem-solving. You represent the potential solution to your client’s need or problem. You can keep the interaction positive and optimistic by clarifying exactly what you can and will do to meet their needs and solve their problems.
- Providing solutions: Adam Heitzman, Co-founder of HigherVisibility, wrote this blog for Inc.com on closing tips. In it, he encourages you to:
- Identify the decision-maker.
- Be real.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Overcome objections.
- Know your competition.
- Watch what you say.
- Having no fear: Our Sales Agent, Kristin, puts it this way, “Putting yourself out there to possibly be rejected can be scary. Shake off that fear and know that if they decline your price, you can always negotiate. Being good at sales takes a thick skin and comes with practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets.”
4. Focus on the bottom line
Your clients have a budget and they know what they can spend. Don’t overwhelm them with too many options or details upfront. Provide a bottom-line cost and then start the conversation about budget options then. As Adam Wiggins pointed out:
Don’t lower the price for the same services, but explain which services would be removed for a lower price. This keeps the integrity of your service and gives them options to choose what they want.
5. Be flexible (but not breakable)
Similar to the advice on focusing on the bottom line, be willing to seek out options to lower the overall cost without breaking your profits. Provide solutions and customized experiences that communicate your willingness to meet their needs. Sales need not be a war with winners and losers, but instead, a dance with partners where everybody has a great time.
Just like the talent you’ve developed over time that you’re ready to make money doing, getting gigs and closing bookings are skills that can be learned and talents that can be strengthened. Commit to trying a few of these tips on your next booking interaction and keep developing them until your confidence in business matches your skill in entertaining and performing!