Closing the Sale1 Nov, 2001 By: Terrill Klett imageSource
Closing the Sale
used to have a golden rule that basically stated, “Close, close, close, close,
close, and close.” Close at least six times with each prospect if you want to
be a top performer. Indeed the ABC’s of closing were “Always Be
Closing—close early and close often.” However, yesterday’s ABC’s will
get you the DEF’s (Definitely Eliminated From the chance to secure the deal).
prospects are much more educated about products and selling techniques and
won’t allow the pressure tactics of yester-year to persuade their decision
making process. Since the selling style of office products has changed to the
“solutions provider” concept, the six-time close is no longer appropriate or
appreciated. If your “sales presentation” necessitates more than a few
moderately hard closes, you are falling way short on the job because your
message is not getting across.
are two main reasons to close. First, the prospect agrees that they have a need
(problem) and you can provide them the solution. Second, the prospect doesn’t
necessarily have a problem, but you have the better mousetrap--a more valuable
alternative. Sales of digital products are invigorating because of the fact that
machines replaced aren’t necessarily worn out; they simply are not capable of
performing like the old models. They can provide so much more in the way of
productivity, quality, and value that they appeal to the “gotta have it”
Tactics Vs. Methodology
the prospect should see you as a partner, not the hunter that is moving in for
the kill—“closing” in on them. Believe it or not, the potential customer
expects to be closed, because there is no mystery in knowing that a salesperson
wants their business. It is a matter of methodology—establish that trust and
confidence before closing, as customers will stop you from closing if they are
not sold yet.
is commonly misunderstood as a tool used only for the end of a sale. In reality,
only a fraction of your closing is done at the end. Not only is closing a
component at the end of your sale, but during all phases of the sales cycle.
When phoning a prospect, closing is done to secure an appointment. During the
appointment, closing is used to schedule a demonstration. Upon completion of the
demonstration, you find yourself closing for the proposal, or the sale itself.
It is important to realize that you need to determine the prospect’s “hot
button,” or what the key is to closing each particular customer. Are they
interested more in a good price, security, productivity, or some other buying
is not providing your customer with a magical “catch-all” line, that when
cleverly spoken, will lead to the sale’s finality. Closing is a process that
requires skill and confidence.
Points To Ponder When Refining Your Closing Skills:
Improve upon your product, computer, and industry knowledge
Constantly seek agreement
Seek commitment throughout
Stay positive and enthusiastic
Practice your closing statements—they work
certain that when closing, you are direct and to the point. Don’t make
implications, or sugarcoat what you want to accomplish. Speak clearly with a
strong emphasis on the point you are trying to get across. A statement such as,
“Are you ready to make a positive decision for your company with my
state-of-the-art digital system?” is clear and precise.
at all cost to be sitting and not standing because it is more comfortable for
the prospect (and besides…it’s easier to slide over the paperwork). The
following lists of closes are effective for the digital revolution. Some have
withstood the essence of time, while others are making their debut. While the
name of the close is irrelevant, the execution is vital. Remember, though, the
most important element of closing is that you have earned the right to do so.
don’t have to be one witty line)
Can you see where this digital solution would save you money?
Are you interested in saving money?
Do you agree that now is the best time to start saving money?
Give a summary list of the Features, Advantages, and Benefits that prove
you have the better mousetrap. Finish off with a spreadsheet that accounts for
the prospect’s huge savings.
Free Demonstration (Puppy Dog):
Bring out a system so they “fall in love” with it, only this time let
them know the value of the demonstration. Normally, the delivery, set-up,
pick-up, along with free service, and copies can run up to hundreds, if not
thousands, of dollars.
(Reference letter or e-mail):
Yesterday’s reference letter may just be today’s e-mail. Make sure
you have a few on hand (laminated would help keep them from becoming tattered).
References from those in the same industry as your prospect are especially
This has been a very popular close for a long time—it gives the
prospect a choice, and when they choose one, the deal is closed. “Do you want
the digital system delivered at the end of this week or the beginning of next
week”, or “Would you like the saddle stitch finisher included or the
standard one?” are two examples.
In phrasing your questioning, pose them in such a manner that
necessitates the prospect to answer “yes” to the majority (if not all) of
them. Then relay the response, “from all the yeses I’m receiving, it seems
that this piece of equipment will fit beautifully into your company; let’s
fill out the paperwork.”
If your dealership, manufacturer, or even competitor offers product via
the Internet, make sure you are familiar with the price, terms, and conditions.
Get on the Internet or have it printed out and show the prospect your value is
better. You’ll enjoy stating:
“I thought the Internet was supposed to eliminate the salesperson and
offer a better deal…”
Provide the buyer with yet another reason to purchase your product. Time
deadline incentives are effective, but only if the deadline is truly imposed. In
addition, these must be put in writing (accessory inclusion, rebate, interest
free, trade-in or gift). These deadlines must be firm, because your credibility
is ruined if you make contact after its expiration, only to offer it once again.
The pro and con list—it provides the customer with a list of advantages
and disadvantages. Probably the oldest close used today.
Basically start with an, “If I…then will you?” Or, “If I can show
you this product and it meets all of your needs, will you fill out the
State directly and firmly:
“Are you ready to be closed?”
“Let’s fill out the paperwork and if the demonstration proves that
this model will meet your needs completely, we will just leave the unit,” or
“Let’s fill out the paperwork and I’ll take the offer back to management
and fight for it’s approval.”
Because you have satisfied every need of application and have sensed the
customer’s approval, you assume that the deal is complete. “Let’s look at
a date for the installation.” You may be surprised at how such a simple line
can break the tension and seal the deal.
times, closing involves more than one person. If this is the case, it is most
strategic to do so one at a time. After each contact has approved the purchase,
use them as a reference with the next. When approval has been met with everyone
involved, reassure him or her that their decision was a wise investment. If they
wanted to hear a plain “thank you”, they would have gone to the mall. A more
powerful statement such as, “You made a great decision with your investment,
and I’ll make sure that everything runs smoothly after the equipment is
installed next week,” is reassuring and welcome. Don’t look at closing as
the close of your relationship with the customer; treat it as a marriage. Look
at each close as a fresh new start in a relationship and work hard to maintain
is an art that, when used properly, can be effective throughout all phases of
the sales cycle. It is a great measuring stick when determining how the sale is
progressing. Throughout each phase, it provides an assessment of where the
appointment is going, whether or not the customer is approving of the product
you have to offer, and how it fits into their company’s requirements. Once
approval is gained, it provides a dialogue that facilitates the signing of the
final paperwork. This paperwork signing leads to yet another valuable
relationship that can provide you with additional opportunities (as well as
references) in the future!