How to Optimise Your Sales Closing (Part 1)

In this article I’m going to talk about how to optimise you sales closing with an easy to apply technique. It will help you close more deals by focusing on those opportunities which are worthy of your time!


First let’s start with some research. ‘State of inbound’ conducted a poll with over 6,200 respondents, part of their study focused on sales people, where they asked the question:

 What are your top priorities in your sales role?


Their findings are depicted in the below chart:

Sales icon - top sales priorities

You’ll notice that closing more deals comes out as the top priority among sales people, which is collectively often what I hear.


So how do we ensure that we close more deals?


Well our advice at Sales Icon Coaching is to

Play the Percentages


Imagine for a second that you’re a gambler, and I give you two options, you can either take:

  • Option 1
    • Return = double your money
    • Chance of success = 50%


  • Option 2
    • Return = double your money
    • Chance of success = 20%

I can hazard a guess that everyone out there would take option 1, why wouldn’t you?! You have a higher chance of success but with no downside.


How about if I added another option to the scenario as follows:

  • Option 3
    • Return = triple your money
    • Chance of success = 20%

Then what option would you take? Here you might way up whether option 3 is worth the risk.


You get my point here though, in such circumstances of being a gambler you’d way up the up side (the return) to the chance of success. In sales, closing your pipeline is exactly the same concept.


Our pipeline is a set of options, our bet is with our time. We can make multiple bets (multiple investments of time) but to ensure the greatest chance of success we need to play the percentages, we must invest our time in those opportunities which

  • Have a higher chance of success
  • Or those worth taking a risk on for a risk reward basis – i.e. those that represent a significant return


So now let’s reflect on your sales pipeline. What does yours look like at this moment in time? By any chance does it resemble something like this:


Description Customer Close date Value
X Customer 1 June £5,000
Y Customer 2 June £20,000
Z Customer 3 June £100,000


I’ve used an example of three opportunities, but what if your pipeline is filled of 20 opportunities this month or 100 opportunities? How do you ensure that you play the percentages just like a gambler? The truth is that it’s a minefield!


This is where many people make the mistake which I highlighted in one of my previous articles as below:


Often a sales person will only look at the return, they focus merely on the value of an opportunity in their pipeline and on that basis invest their time there in the belief that the sale(s) of higher value is more worth it. So in this example they would focus their time on customer 3, irrespective of it’s likelihood of closing. That’s the mistake, many sales people look at value only!


This is a risky strategy, it’s definitely not playing the percentages.


So instead what we should do is look at two things:

  • The percent chance of an opportunity closing
  • The value of each opportunity


With this information we can then gauge where best to place our bets i.e. where our time is most effectively worth investment.


In part two of this article I’ll introduce to you a technique called the closing calculator, which is a technique to effectively categorise your pipeline, in a bid to invest your time intelligently.


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