Closing The Sale
How many times in sales have you heard that someone is a really good closer, that they really know how to close a deal and make a sale?
In my experience, the best ‘closers’ are the sales professionals who take the time to know their customers, to understand their needs and to do the groundwork required in the sales process to make a sale that benefits both parties.
Many moons ago, the “trick” to closing a sale was high pressure, sometimes confrontational, questioning to get the answers you want. Customers however have become somewhat wise to these techniques, as well a little more confident in how they deal with sales people. Customers more often now have choice and therefore the pressure to bend to one pushy sales person is no longer necessary, and they know this! Many sales people and sales managers still believe that the most important phase of the sales process is closing the sale, however how you do this is the real key!
Firstly, there is no one magic, fool-proof question or statement that will always close the sale.
There are however a few techniques you can adapt to help you get the sale across the line.
1. What you do BEFORE you ask for a commitment is more important than how you ask for a commitment
If you have done a professional job with building rapport, developing trust, asking questions, understanding your prospect’s needs and making the right recommendation, then closing will be easy.
Unfortunately, a great many sales people fail to handle these steps professionally, which is why closing is so hard for them.
2. Knowing WHEN to ask for a commitment is the key to getting a favourable response
When is the right time to ask for the order? An enthusiastic sales person might respond, “Any time!”, “All the time!”, “Right from the start!” This is no longer the case! The best and most subtle time to ask for a commitment is when you know that your prospect has already bought what you are selling … in their mind. To assess this we need to consider the buying signals (below).
3. How can you tell when your prospect has already bought?
Buying signals – these are anything your prospect says or does which indicates they have already bought. Below are the main buying signals to watch out for:-
a. Questions about price and/or terms
They suddenly interrupt you and ask you for the price or ask you about methods of payment or terms. You have already mentioned the price, but at that stage they had not yet ‘bought mentally’ so they didn’t pay attention, so they ask you again. Or they might ask, “Do you take Visa?” This could be a buying signal, so if you suspect it is, stop and ask them a question that tests the “temperature” of their interest. For example, “Would you prefer to pay by Visa?”
b. Questions about details
They suddenly interrupt you and ask you for more details about what you are offering. For example, “Is it available in green?” Again you may have already mentioned these details, so again ask them a question that tests the ‘temperature’. For example, “So do you feel you would like it in the green?”
c. They suddenly relax
Maybe they have been tense and anxious up until now, then suddenly they become more relaxed. Some will even give a sigh of relief. This sudden release of tension can be seen in their body language as they change the way they are standing or sitting. This shift in physiology can often indicate a shift in psychology or mind set. It may well be a buying signal.
d. They suddenly become friendlier
Maybe the prospect has been quite closed or defensive, then suddenly they become friendlier and open up a little more about themselves personally. Do they start to ask you more personal questions in an attempt to get to know you as a person? Sometimes they will suddenly offer you coffee or tea. This shift in behaviour can often indicate a shift in their mind set and may well be a buying signal.
e. They start figuring
Imagine listening to a sales person and you are pretty sure you want to buy, you suddenly start to think about the money and figuring out the savings or what the price difference is between this and something else you have seen.
If you see this, stop what you are saying, wait for them to finish, ask them what they have figured out and emphasise the value.
f. They suddenly come up with ‘silly’ objections or put offs
Some objections are actually buying signals.
A customer can often enter in to a sales conversation which they intend to slow down, however, they suddenly realise how excited they are and decide they had better put up some resistance or they will end up buying. Don’t be afraid of such tactics. Just handle their objection or question professionally, find out if their concerns are genuine, answer their questions and give them the reassurance they need.
4. Knowing how to use a TRIAL CLOSE to test whether your prospect is HOT or COLD
It is vital NOT to use a close before you have confirmed that your prospect is ready to make a commitment. If you do, they will feel pressured and the stress level will go up. Use a trial close instead.
5. Knowing HOW to ask for a commitment without applying pressure or creating stress for the prospect
You should make closing easy and natural, not uncomfortable. Once you know it’s time to ask for a commitment you don’t need any tricky closing techniques. A simple question to gain commitment is all that is needed.
About Salesmasters International
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