Closing a deal is a lot like scoring touchdowns.

With the right players, plays & execution you’ll score more than your opponent, but not every possession turns into a score and not every opportunity closes. The key is to have a plan, a process & execute.

I would like to introduce you to “Red Zone Selling” RZS. I have used this selling process to successfully close enterprise deals for many years. RZS breaks down your opportunity stages into different Zones with the goal of moving deals into the “Red Zone”. Think of your pipeline as a football field broken into three distinct Zones, Yellow, Green and Red.

Before we go any further I have a quick a fun fact. How many kickoffs were returned for touchdowns in the 2016 NFL season? If you guessed 7 you were correct. Only 7 out of 1035 kickoffs were returned for touchdowns which is less than 1%. Not a very good average and most likely explains why a majority are taken as touchbacks. Now imagine if your closing percentage was less than 1%. I can guarantee you wouldn’t be in sales for very long.
Now back to RZS.

The Zones – Qualify, Sell & Close

Like a good offense you will have to work to get into scoring position. You typically start somewhere deep in your own territory and work your way up the field. Methodically attacking the defense until you’re in striking distance. If you have a plan to follow and a process to execute, then you can get into the Red Zone. Each Zone combines different stages of the sales cycle with the goal of driving the deal into the Red Zone.

Once in the Red Zone you’re expect to score! The probability is high for these deals and for good reason. This is no time for letting off the throttle and losing focus, just the opposite. Don’t get conservative or too cute. Continue to push until… the ink is dry.

Moving the deal through the Zone

Each Zone has its own set of activities, milestones and exit criteria. Each stage leads you down the path to success if followed correctly with the goal to win the winnable opportunities. Because you followed a process which mapped to your stages, your reward is a significant increase in close probability as the deal moves along from stage to stage and zone to zone. Remember a punt is better than a turnover. Don’t force a deal to get done or it could turn into a fumble. This is the reason we follow a process, to identify winnable opportunities and move it along but remember not all opportunities are winnable so punts are inevitable.

Close Ratio by Zone

Let’s look at the Zones by close ratio’s. As you can see and would assume your close ratio will increase substantially from zone to zone. As you enter the next Zone you’re increasing your probability to close the deal. Moving forward I would suggest in addition to measuring your close ratio from SQL to close, start measuring from each Zone. This way you can identify your closing ratio by Zone. Then work on increasing your probability by Zone by changing your activities or plays.

Now get into the Zone and start focusing on moving your deals methodically down the field, Yellow, Green then Red. Try it and I’ll guarantee you’ll score more often.

Keys to being a Red Zone Closer:

  • Qualify before accepting
  • Scope before selling
  • Solve Problems, don’t push product
  • Create a win win proposal
  • Stay laser focused in Red Zone
  • Don’t stop until time has expired

There are very few hail Mary’s unless you’re Aaron Rogers. Don’t rely on gifts from others, have a plan, a process and execute and you’ll score more than your opponents.