When it comes to sales, it's important to know the difference between small vs. large sales. In his book Spin Selling, Neil Rackham makes the distinction that larger sales are inherently more complex, sometimes involve more input, and affect more aspects of a business. Smaller sales tend to require less time and can usually be completed by listing benefits of the product or service.
Larger sales, however, require you to do a lot more work. Rackham uses years of studies and evidence to prove that the following questions and analysis are integral to closing large sales.
You must understand your potential customer's situation. This really should go without saying, but it's surprising how many people assume they understand a company's or person's situation before speaking with them. While it's good to do your research and form an idea of what challenges your customer might be facing, you need to approach every sale with a mind open to learning and being surprised.
It's important to uncover true problems the customer may have. Again, it's easy to assume you already know the problem, especially if you are a creative professional. We tend to be quick to judge, immediately identifying poor design, photography, or a website as the foundation for problems. However, you may be surprised at what you learn a customer is struggling with every day. Make sure you learn what those points of pain are.
It's great to learn about problems your potential customer may have, but if you can't see the implications of those problems - and therefore help your customer see them - then you may risk losing the sale. This is because: 1) you might start listing solutions your customer doesn't know he needs yet; and 2) you may end up missing the most influential factors that motivates him to buy. In other words, avoid preemptively moving to the next section, the need-payoff, before you've fully uncovered a clients problems and their implications. If you start talking about how many versions of a new logo you'll give him to choose from during the re-branding process, but he was actually most interested in your methods of market research and couldn't care less about multiple logo options, you've missed a huge a opportunity to capitalize on his points of pain. He will feel like you don't really understand what he needs because, well, you don't.
You can't keep your potential customer too depressed though. Just thinking about all the problems and their serious ramifications can be overwhelming. Remember also to help your potential customer see the payoffs from choosing your product/service and solutions to his needs. Help him envision what life will look like after choosing you to solve his problems. How does the business run now? How much money does he save? What is workplace culture like? How much better does his team work together? Can he rest easy knowing his main problem is taken care of? End the conversation on a high note, and watch as you dramatically decrease objections to your pricing.