How to Win Big Deals Without Sacrificing Your Margins

I’ve been talking to a lot of business owners lately in workshops and networking events and I’ve found that most of them are facing two common problems. Firstly, sales opportunities are few and far between and, when a good opportunity does come along, there’s an army of competitors trying to undercut them. Secondly, if they get the deal, they’re working to very tight margins and there’s hardly any profit in it. So that’s prompted me to write this article... 7 tips on how you can how you can win big deals without sacrificing your margins.

Tip # 1 - Become the trusted advisor.
In order to win big deals, you need to position yourself and your business as the “go to” company within your market space. As a sales person you want to be seen as the consultant or expert that people turn to when they want a problem solved in your area of expertise. As a “Trusted Advisor” you can charge more, because the prospect or the customer is not just buying the product, they’re buying the value that you add to the product. To become a Trusted Advisor you need to think like a marketer and focus on a “Specific Market” and know that market inside out and backwards.

Tip # 2 - Be the first cab off the rank.
The biggest reason why businesses and salespeople face competition (and price competition) is that they get onto the sales opportunity at the same time as everyone else. If you are talking to a prospective customer when they are in “buy mode”, you’ll be competing with every other man and his dog like a flock of seagulls fighting for scraps. When this happens, your success rate and your margins take a dive. To avoid this problem, you need to engage your prospects well before they are ready to buy and stay in regular contact with them so that, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be the first (and possibly only) cab off the rank.

Tip # 3 - Ask great questions.
Legendary Sales Trainer, Jack Daly, has a short course in selling. It’s only four words long... “ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN”. Often the difference that makes the difference is within the question that you ask. The better the questions that you ask, the better the answers you will get, the better answers that you get, the better solution you will give, and the better solution that you give the more value it will be for the client and the more likely that you will win the deal without sacrificing your margins.

Tip # 4 - Get to the emotion.
It has been said that most buying decisions are made on emotion and backed up by logic - an idea supported by advances in neuroscience. It’s been shown that the emotional centre of the brain is much more powerful and influential in buying situations that the part of the brain that is responsible for our conscious decision making. As a Trusted Advisor, you need to understand the emotional drivers behind a prospect's decision. If you can get to the emotion, you’re much more likely to win the deal. So how do you get to the emotion? You ask more probing questions. Once you feel that you’ve hit on the “hot button” or “pain point” ask probing questions like, “Tell me more about that” or “How has that impacted on you and your business?”.

Tip # 5 - Sell the outcome.
Imagine that you are shopping for a new bed and you decide to buy the “Sleepyhead After Dark” (a top of the range king size bed). Are you buying the “Twin Comfort, Senzorzone Ultracore and a 7-zoned support system”, or are you buying a better nights sleep? When making a buying decision, you’re not actually buying the product itself, you’re buying what the product does for you - the outcome. As a sales person, if you focus on selling the outcome, you’ll increase the perceived value of what you are selling and increase your chances of winning the deal at a higher margin.

Tip # 6 - Ask for the order.
This is a simple tip. A lot of people forget to do it. All of your good work can come undone if you fail to ask for the order. Asking for the order is simply requesting that your prospect makes a decision - yes or no - which leads us to tip # 7.

Tip # 7 - Don’t give up at the first no.
When you get a no, it usually means you missed something earlier on in the sales process. You either didn’t build up enough trust, you didn’t ask effective questions, your solution didn’t match their needs, or you didn't sell the outcome. When you get a “no”, see it as a “request for more information”. You can often win back a sale after the prospect has decided otherwise if you handle the objection effectively. If you develop “objection handling scripts” for all of the “common objections” that you face - you’ll be able to handle any “no” a prospect will give you.

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