How to Optimise Your Sales Closing (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part one to this article, or you need a refresher then here’s the link to it:

https://sales-icon.com/2018/09/26/how-to-optimise-your-sales-closing-part-1/

 

To summarise, in part 1 of this article I talked about the importance of evaluating where our time is best invested in our pipeline. In that we shouldn’t merely take a blanket approach to focus solely on the large opportunities. Instead we should ‘play the percentages’ and evaluate which opportunities have a good chance of closing in relation to their value.

 

In this article I’m going to expand on this concept by adding some meat to the bones. I’m going to introduce to you the closing calculator which is a technique sales icons use to categorise their pipeline.

blur cash close up dollars

So first why is categorising key?

 

Well it’s threefold, it helps us to uncover

  1. Where to invest time and focus on
  2. Areas to increase an individual opportunities likelihood of closing
  3. How to forecast and plan appropriately

 

So to begin with I’m going to look at what most sales people do for categorising their pipeline. If a sales person has a pipeline such as the following:

 

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

 

They will often categorise this with a percentage chance of closing, such as:

 

Description Customer Close date Value % Chance Close
X Customer 1 June £5,000 10%
Y Customer 2 June £20,000 70%
Z Customer 3 June £100,000 40%

 

But where do people get this percentage chance of closing from? I can tell you for the most part it’s simply a guess. This presents a problem, a guess is merely a gut feeling, we’re throwing the dice in our estimation. But that’s the tip of the iceberg, the biggest problem I have with estimating your chances is that it doesn’t help you close the deal, that’s why I developed the closing calculator.

 

The closing calculator is a tool to

  1. Categorise your opportunities
  2. Understand areas where you can strengthen an opportunities chance of closing

 

How does it work?

 

Well the closing calculator is merely a set of questions. You ask yourself these questions for every opportunity and score the answer accordingly. When you have answered all of the questions you then must total your score and turn it into a percentage. This percentage will determine which class the opportunity falls into. Sounds complex at the moment but it will all become clear when I run you through a real-life example.

 

To demonstrate this simply let’s say I have four questions, I take an individual opportunity and ask these four questions and score them appropriately as follows.

Question Worth Score
Question 1 Yes = 10, no = 0 10
Question 2 Yes = 1, no= 0 0
Question 3 Score out of 5 3
Question 4 Score out of 4 3
Total Max = 20 16

With this I would also have a classing systems such as

Tier 1 = 75-100%

Tier 2 = 50-74%

Tier 3 = 25-49%

Tier 4 = 0-24%

 

In this very simple outline we scored 16 out of 20, this would equate to 80% therefore this opportunity would class as a tier 1 opportunity. So that’s the rough guide of how it works, the difficult part is developing your questions, giving them a weighting, and gauging which questions are vital to give an accurate judgement.

 

Example

For a real-life example I’m going to use one of the Technology providers I worked with previously. This is a rough depiction of what their closing calculator looked like.

 

Question

Scoring

Is the prospect a spending customer?  

Yes = 5 No = 0

 

Were we referred to the prospect and they got in touch with us?  

Yes = 5 No= 0

 

Have they had an assessment or trial of the solution?  

Yes = 10 No = 0

 

 

Has budget been approved?

 

Yes = 1 No = 0
 

Does your prospect have the authority to make the decision?

 

Yes = 1 No = 0
 

Is there a clear need for your solution?

 

Yes = 1 No = 0
 

Have they been to visit us at our head office?

 

Yes = 5 No= 0
 

Have we presented our proposal face to face with the decision maker?

 

Yes = 4 No = 0
 

How many competitors are there competing for this opportunity?

 

One = 4 Two-three = 2 Over three = 0
 

Do we know which competitors we are competing against and their relationship with the prospects?

 

Yes = 1 No = 0
 

Have we provided a technical webinar for some of the solution?

 

Yes = 4 No = 0
 

How happy is the prospect with their incumbent?

 

Score between 0 and 5, 0 being very happy and 5 being very unhappy
 

What do you feel is the likelihood of winning?

 

Score between 0 and 10, 0 being no chance and 10 being certain it will close

Their classing system was the same as before:

Tier 1 = 75-100%

Tier 2 = 50-74%

Tier 3 = 25-49%

Tier 4 = 0-24%

 

This is merely an extract from my book Sales icon: Selling in the Shadows if you need a deeper dive then you’ll need to buy the book. But you get the point of the closing calculator and where it can be valuable. It’s a system which is bespoke to your organisation, a set of predefined questions which help you categorise an opportunity and work out it’s likelihood of closing.

 

And the best thing of all? The scoring gives you an indication of where the opportunities falls down! You can witness first hand why an opportunity maybe at only 50% chance of success and notice that you could push maybe a webinar with them? Or maybe a head office visit? That’s the best bit to the closing calculator and the reason why it’s such a treasured tool!

 

The Outcome

If you start to use your closing calculator effectively you’ll increase your sales, period! That’s because you’ll be evaluating effectively which opportunities are worthy of your valuable time. Moreover you’ll now be able to identify which activities will help an individual opportunities chance of closing.

 

So if you want to optimise your sales closing then try this technique. If you have any trouble with developing your closing calculator then drop me a direct message on LinkedIn and I’ll help wherever I can.

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