Most businesses do not have the luxury of an unending stream of customers eager to make a purchase. They need to work hard to find prospects and then work even harder to close the sale. Without performing these two duties, a business will fail. Such failure is likely to come quicker for an online business because it has no physical presence to rely upon for drawing customers.
In sales, prospecting comes before selling and involves locating qualified leads that might purchase the products or services a business sells. Though prospecting is not the most exciting component of selling, it is necessary. Without prospects, sales cannot reach the level required for business profitability. Prospecting is the beginning stage of relationship development that potentially leads to a sale.
The act of prospecting has received a bad reputation, mainly due to public misunderstanding regarding its nature and purpose. Even sales representatives can develop a jaded view of this task, viewing it as simply cold calling. This is inaccurate because qualifying sales leads, not closing a sale in a single call, is the goal. Prospecting is a chance for the business owner to introduce himself and the company. Not every person will initially want to develop a relationship with the business. However, with a bit of persistence, it is usually possible to get a foot into the door.
Good prospectors seek opportunities to develop connections with prospective customers. Those that are not so good are relentless and annoying, imposing themselves on a potential customer and being disrespectful. A customer is not dumb and can tell the difference. He or she is most likely to select the persistent, yet professional, prospector when deciding to purchase.
To be a successful closer, an online business owner must be prepared for objections. These can be everything from lacking funds to needing to check with a spouse before making a decision. Some prospects even attempt to deflect closing by rapid-firing questions designed to knock a businessperson off-balance. Knowing how to handle these situations diplomatically without relinquishing control is the key to successful closing.
When closing, certain techniques are used to gain agreement regarding the sale. By taking the appropriate actions, a salesperson can persuade a customer to make a commitment to purchase. Techniques featured in programs that focus on closing include offering a limited number of choices, allowing customers time to think, and ensuring that the product or service is affordable.