Closing the sale – like putting the finishing touches on a masterpiece work of art – is the apex of moments in the progression towards the sales transaction.
However, like any commodity or good or service, many misconceptions exist about just what must transpire before that sale is “closed.”
In essence, “closing a sale” is showing – rather than telling – a customer enough evidence to convince them that you have the cure for whatever needs and weaknesses exist in their current way of doing things. When their fear of changing is outweighed by their fear of standing pat because of your dialogue and they make the decision to purchase, the sale has been closed.
Referring to it as closing gives the connotation that a physical action on the seller’s part is what iced the deal. While the burden of proof is certainly on the salesperson, who must operate like a prosecuting attorney assigned to quickly ascertain information through specific and targeted questions, the decision whether or not to buy is always the customer’s.
The salespeople that forget that – the pushy ones, the unethical ones and the unsuccessful ones – tend to think they can force a customer to buy, but forceful closes only lead to buyer’s remorse, product churn and dissatisfaction.
Closing a sale is a delicate and intricate process; like putting together a puzzle or baking a cake, all essential ingredients must exist, the proper nurturing must be done and any skipped steps lead to an unfinished, half-baked product.
The foundation for the sale is set when the salesperson states their business and quickly moves into finding out about the situation at hand. The reason asking questions is so critical to the overall process is because utilizing the customer’s own words to weave the perfect picture together is the greatest way to achieve a successful sales masterpiece.
The questions serve to determine a customer’s situation: the strengths and areas of opportunity for improvement that lie in their current strategy. You, as the salesperson, are conducting a needs analysis to determine (1) that your product or service is a fit, (2) how precisely you will match your service to their needs in their eyes and (3) what specifically to recommend to your potential client.
The presentation that follows must commence right away and is the point of no return – no stopping, no asking “does this sound good?”, no drivel; from this point forward, you are presenting and concluding with a closing question. “Where would you like the invoice sent?” “Once you sign the paperwork, I go to work for you; would you like to use my pen?”
Your pitch must be a personalized recommendation based on the customer’s whole picture, addressing the key items you learned in the fact-finding and ending with a question because it forces an answer.
Closing the sale also involves being able to diffuse and deflect (and often anticipate) customer objections. A customer objection means only that they need more information; they do not yet believe that your product or service is something that will yield a positive result, a profit or live up to its potential. It means your job is not yet finished.
Finally, the thing to remember about closing the sale (a.k.a. making their fear of standing pat outweigh their fear of change) is that it is NOT about spouting several random benefits of your service in the hopes they cave. You asked the questions in the beginning for a reason. You unearthed their needs and used them in your pitch for a reason. Often, you have to find five fresh ways to drive home that specific point – WHY they need to change, WHAT issues exist with their current strategy and HOW you and your product will fix a problem they may not even see.
In the end, closing sales is fun, it’s sexy and it is exciting, but the best feeling of all is knowing that you made a difference for that customer, for your company and for yourself, all in one shot.
Carson V. Heady has written a sales book unlike any other, entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be. It is a how-to sell/career advice book inside a novel about the fictional author who practices what he preaches.
If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.carsonvheady.com/