A coaching client of mine recently asked, “I have three ripe prospects in my sales funnel right now. What is your sales process from proposal to closing? Do you perform an in-person presentation? What does the follow-up look like? In short, how do I increase my close rate?”

These are common questions many janitorial contractors have. Is there anything more frustrating than thinking you have a new client, only to find out you lost the bid? Let me offer what I think are four keys to a successful close. These are real practices we have used to grow our company to over $18 million in revenue.

Tip #1 — Team Sell

While we want to create a bang-up proposal to wow the prospect, the sale really happens long before the proposal is delivered. For example, customers buy from people they trust and view as credible. This trust adds credibility, however, it is built over time as the prospect interacts with your team.

Throughout the sales process, from initial contact to proposal delivery, the prospect should interface with at least two or three members of your team. This will build their confidence that you have a robust and credible team and will deliver the service they are looking for.

Tip #2 — In-Person Presentations

I hate emailed proposals. They are impersonal and give the prospect too much emotional freedom. Presenting your janitorial proposal in-person allows you to interact with the prospect, ask questions, read body language, deal with objections, etc. If you can ensure an in-person proposal, your chances of winning the business increase, all other things being equal.

Tip #3 — Ask The Hard Questions

I have one particular question that I love asking a customer at the end of a sales presentation: Is there anything keeping us from gaining your business? I ask this question and then sit back, shut up and let the customer talk. This is my opportunity to put them on the spot and find out if there are any objections looming that I wasn’t aware of. If you do find any legitimate objections, you can either deal with them on the spot, or use the information to help with an effective follow-up campaign.

Tip #4 — Pressure With Purpose, But Don’t Annoy

Finally, you need to have a solid follow-up plan. There is a fine line to walk between persistence and pestering, but you must find the balance. With each follow-up call or email, make sure you have a purpose. Perhaps there is a specific question you want to ask, a document you want to send or an answer you want to give.

For instance, let’s say the prospect was worried about your lack of experience with a facility of their type. In your follow-up plan, send them a referral letter from a similar customer and reiterate your ability to serve them.

If you implement these four simple tips, you will improve your chances of landing that next big customer.

Jordan Tong is a BSC consultant and founder of Elite Business Coaching, in addition to being a third-generation owner of Frantz Building Services based in Owensboro, Kentucky. For more information on his coaching services, visit www.elitebusinesscoaching.net.