10 Tips to Increase Your Close Rates
Jan 14, 2019
It takes a lot of effort to get to the point where you as a consultant are meeting with a buyer to discuss the potential of a strategic partnership. The true payoff for all of your hard work is when you and your future client are able to come to shared agreement on the work involved and your equitable compensation for the value you create.
It is for this reason, mastering your ability to close the deal is critical. The purpose of this article is to give you some tips on how to increase your close rates and your per contract fees while building trust and credibility.
Here are 10 things you can do to increase your close rates:
Improve your ability to frame client’s requests as business performance gaps
To deliver your full value as a consultant, you have to know how to take charge of the initial client conversations and transition the discussion from one about delivery of a specific methodology to resolving a business performance gap. Your ability to draw out of a client the REAL reasons for their requests and how it will solve the true business performance issues that are concerning your client has the most direct correlation to your close rates and per contract fees. Clarifying business performance gaps establishes NEED.
Ensure you have established the business case for the work and a strategic partnership with you.
Help your client create a rational argument for change AND the value of working with you. Don’t just discuss what is not working - quantifying the impact! Show how silos, turnover and declining customer service scores are impacting profitability. Ask specifically the value or outcome they hope to gain by virtue of working with a consultant like you. It is not likely that there is money is some magic budget for an organizational initiative. It will have to be funded and this business case is the key. Creating the business case establishes URGENCY.
Take the time to understand the hot buttons of each member on the senior team and key influencers. What are the issues that they are concerned about as individuals? Work with your buyer to connect the dots between the change they see is needed and each senior leader’s area of concern and develop a strategy to get the entire team on board. Building stakeholder alignment enhances TRUST.
Improve your ability to manifest your expertise as value-laden options.
Your options are the ways in which you can partner with your clients that enhances their capacity to execute on their desired change. Options change the conversation from “if” you are going to work together to ‘how” and provide different ways for a client to access your expertise. Meaningful options demonstrate VALUE.
Go Slow to Go Fast.
Partnership set-up takes place distinct phases: Rushing to get a signature on the dotted line is not a formula for long-term success because critical elements of the relationship building and shared agreement around goals and approaches can be missed. Take the time to ensure that there is alignment all along the Attending to the client relationship and genuine shared understanding creates BUY-IN.
Pitch in Person.
NEVER send a proposal without giving your client the opportunity to understand the potential value that is available to him/her and without giving them a chance to respond. Communicating why doing something over nothing is in your client’s best interest, what you think they should do and why partnering with you enhances results establishes CREDIBILITY.
Anticipate and Manage Objections.
Anticipate the reactions that your buyer might have (as well as others who buy-in matters) especially those individuals whom the CEO most relies upon and respects. Anticipate objections and plan for resistance and strategize how you will respond. Giving good faith responses to questions and responding to your client’s needs in the moment creates CONNECTION and a solid ground for a future
Allow for Due Process.
Give your client time to process what you are suggesting. You don’t want superficial compliance. You want to bring your client along to see the situation the way you do. Giving your client’s space to process your suggestions creates the conditions for SPONSORSHIP.
Close the Sale.
Create urgency for change. Pose questions such as, “If not this approach, then what?” and “If not now, then when?” Giving a clear call to action creates COMMITMENT.
Don’t worry about the Battle, Win the War.
A strategic partnership that is supposed to happen will happen. If you do not get the contract you seek today, tomorrow’s another day. In the meantime, ask for help on how you can better frame up the case for change AND a referral to another client that could benefit from your Keeping the end game of your consulting success in mind fosters RESILIENCE.