Many salespeople think a one-call close is the Holy Grail of sales, and it’s easy to see why. A one-call close is a sale where the customer commits over the phone, the first time you speak with them. They provide a quick hit of adrenaline, require minimal work on the rep’s part, and put money in pockets.
But while quick deals may seem like sunshine and rainbows, they’re not always all they’re cracked up to be. Top 2% salespeople need to be aware of how to approach customers who connect and are ready to buy.
One-Call Closes: The Good
It’s the age of “smarketing” — Sales-Marketing alignment. The two teams work together and the old rules don’t apply anymore.
Salespeople used to be responsible for 90% of the sales process. It was a long, hard slog — we would nurture interested leads until they were ready for a connect call, then bring them through the entire sales process singlehanded.
Today, we’re lucky to have our Marketing team lighten the load. Marketing does the heavy lifting of generating interest and educating prospects. With lead intelligence, you can assess a prospect’s engagement, level of interest, and demographic information before you ever call them.
This means salespeople can spend their time working Marketing-qualified leads, instead of sourcing random strangers who may have absolutely no interest in speaking with them.
These changing trends led to the rise of a phenomena we see a lot — the one-call close. Salespeople and marketers are equally excited by one-call closes.
Salespeople are hyped because one-call closes are an easy, efficient way to overachieve their quotas. They do 15% of the work and get paid the same amount as when they run the entire process from discovery to close. It’s also a great feeling to know somebody wants your product and is excited about getting started.
Marketers love one-call closes because they’re a direct validation of their work. By measuring their campaigns, they can see what’s working and what’s not, and fine-tune their strategy to get buyers 90% of the way to a close before salespeople ever speak with them. Senior management can draw a direct line from marketing efforts to these one-call closes.
One-Call Closes: The Bad
It’s easy for salespeople to delude themselves into thinking it’s their sales prowess that got a deal from start to finish, when in fact it’s all about their marketing team. But the real problem with one-call closes is that they’re such an adrenaline rush that many reps forget they still have an obligation to do a minimum amount of discovery.
Many buyers are impetuous, and make impulse purchasing decisions. It’s especially possible that buyers haven’t thought the decision through and will churn in a few months if your product is lightweight or not prohibitively expensive.
If you’re still getting paid, why should you care?
Remember that your responsibility isn’t just to bring in customers. It’s to bring in good customers. If a sales team constantly signs customers who churn within a few months of purchase, the business won’t survive — that level of instability is simply unsustainable.
You have to find out whether your prospect is the real deal or moving too quickly. Below are the five questions I ask to separate serious buyers from impulsive ones:
- How much do you know about our product?
- Do you have questions on the requirements for success with our product?
- Do you have the resources and bandwidth to implement and practice for the duration of the contract?
- What payment terms do you require?
- Is there anything else I’ve missed?
As long as you’re asking your prospects the right questions and Marketing is studying and measuring their retention, it’s very advantageous for salespeople to encourage one-call closes. Just make sure your prospects are in it for the long haul.