CLOSING THE SALE can be tough.
Here is a familiar scenario. You’ve had the enquiry and followed it up. Now you are in a meeting with the prospect across the table, presenting your product or service and thinking about how you will close the sale.
Let’s consider a very useful selling technique when wanting to close the sale.
Closing the sale with a new prospect can be one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the sales process. Asking for the order is a part of the sales process or sales stage we hate the most – and by the way, it’s also the part the prospect hates the most.
As we go through our sales presentation and get closer to asking for the order, we get anxious. And so can the prospect – they also know what’s coming!
Our role in this process is to structure our sales presentation so that we go through the sale close, as smoothly as possible.
￼Up to this point, our sales presentation has been like driving our car along a relatively straight and level road. But just like the ‘close’, there is an awkward humpback bridge in the distance, that we have to navigate. And it’s coming up fast…
As we talk together, we both feel the pressure – and get more anxious as we get closer to that humpback bridge…
Our job, is to get us both over that humpback bridge – to close the order, as smoothly as possible.
So, where should closing the sale come in our sales presentation? At the end as we approach the humpback bridge? No, not necessarily.
Top tip to closing the sale
I have taught this simple technique to many salespeople over the years and their success is testament to how well it can work.
If you need to increase your sales closing skills and performance, then pay attention, because this is a technique that works so well that many professional salespeople I’ve worked with use it as their primary order closing technique.
And it’s this. Close the sale a little bit at a time, as you go through your sales presentation. Not in one awkward question (the humpback bridge).
As you will see, there is no need to create a major event by asking for the order at the end of the presentation. In fact, this technique generated relatively little stress for the salesperson and customer.
Don’t be average
All average sales people – tend to fly by the seat of their pants when closing.
They approach the close with their heart pounding, perhaps breaking out in a sweat, with fingers crossed, saying pretty much whatever comes to mind – and hoping the prospect says ‘Yes’!
So how can you close the sale a little bit at a time – and avoid that awkward humpback bridge ahead?
Well, we know that telling is not selling (at least, I hope you do). We’ve all come across the salesperson who wants to tell us everything about their product or service and how quickly we become overwhelmed.
Selling is about asking questions and identifying needs.
An excellent questioning technique, that helps us close the sale a little bit at a time, can be referred to as trial closing. The principle is to:
• Give some information. Then ask a question…
• Demonstrate a benefit. Then ask a question…
In this example, the prospect and salesperson are discussing delivery time.
The prospect mentions that he needs a three-week delivery time in order to hit a deadline and asks what the best delivery time might be?
Give a piece of information: Our standard delivery time is four weeks…
Then ask a question: But IF we could guarantee to deliver to you in three weeks, so you can hit your deadline – can we go ahead with the order?
Depending on how the prospect answered the question, the salesperson may have closed the order, but for now, we’ll assume not. However the prospect responded, the salesperson has taken a small but important step towards eventually closing the order.
Another trial close question might be:
The prospect asks what colours are available.
Give a piece of information: The salesperson replies – red or green…
Then ask a question: But if you ever that decided you wanted to buy this [product], would you prefer it in red or green?
Whatever the prospect answers, the salesperson is another small but important step closer to closing the order.
If the salesperson can ‘collect’ enough trial close ‘Yes’s’ from the prospect during the sales presentation, they can significantly reduce the need to ask for the order in a way that creates stress. In fact, with enough trial close ‘yes’s’ in the bag, the order can likely be closed with the simplest of questions. You will in effect, have smoothed out or eliminated that hump back bridge, whilst having closed the sale.
By the way, in the assumptive close, the sale is closed simply by collecting sufficient ‘yes’s’ to trial close questions during the sales presentation, where the assumption is made that the prospect wants to go ahead in a way that does not require a stress-inducing closing question.
In a future post, I will explain more about the psychology of selling and techniques for closing sales and teach various objection handling and sales order closing techniques.
If you or your sales team need help closing more sales to increase revenues, then please contact me here