Vince Lombardi once said: “Winning isn’t the most important thing; it’s the only thing.” The same thing can be said about the sales close. Closing should be so automatic at the end of a sales presentation that the transition will occur as a normal and logical course of events. When done well, the close is an integral part of the presentation.
Here are some techniques that will promote a positive decision by the customer:
The Approach Close actually starts at the beginning of your meeting with the prospect when his sales resistance is likely to be at its highest. You offer a deal by saying, “Mr. Prospect, I won’t try to sell you anything right now. But I ask that you look and listen to what I have to say about why others have bought this product and then honestly decide whether or not it applies to your business. Will you do that?”
Most people will naturally be curious and say, “OK, why not?” At the end of the presentation, remind your prospect that he promised to tell you whether or not it applies to his business. He’s then obliged to give you an objection or a reason that provides you with a perfect opening to continue selling.
The Demonstration Close is another close you set up at the beginning of your meeting. Ask a seemingly hypothetical question, such as, “If I could provide you with a marketing incentive program that would increase sales 25 percent, would it be worth an investment of $5,000 to get it?” The question immediately changes the subject from whether he will even listen to your presentation, instead, to a question of what it would be worth to the prospect for you to make good on your claim.
The Invitation Close is one of the most effective closing techniques, and one of the simplest. As you get to the end of the presentation, without hesitation, issue the invitation: “Why don’t you give it a try?” This straightforward appeal works because it’s disarming. It’s received as if it were an invitation to a trial run, rather than to a final decision.
This close is based on the fundamental rule that you should never end a presentation without extending an invitation to make the buying decision at that moment. You can also use variations on the request such as, “Where would you like to take delivery?” or “Would you like to start on this right away?”
Because most successful salespeople regard objections as just another form of selling opportunity, we want to focus on the critical role that dealing with objections plays in achieving a successful close to your sale. Every objection answered properly is a step closer to a buying decision.
Here are some other essential tips to handling objections: 1. Always let the prospect have her say. Don’t interrupt. 2. Whenever appropriate, ask for elaboration on the matter, and repeat the objection or question before responding to resolve it. 3. Always compliment the prospect for raising the objection. People like to feel their concerns are important. 4. Be pleasant, agreeable and receptive to objections without argument. After giving a response, ask “Does that answer your question?” or “Did I cover all the details on that?”
When you respond to objections and other forms of resistance to achieve a successful close, it’s not about pressure, fast talk or dodging the issues. It is about treating the prospect fairly and respectfully. It’s about being fully prepared with knowledge about your product or service and your prospect’s needs.
Robert Stuberg is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant and best-selling author of many books and audio programs, including Sell and Grow Rich, The 12 Life Secrets and Creating Your Ultimate Destiny.