I thought it was about time I wrote a blog on ‘closing’ the sale. It always amuses me how much advice there is out there about the ‘techniques’ you can use to close the sale. I personally don’t even like to call it a ‘close’ – it feels so final. Let’s call it ‘how to start a business relationship’. Yes that’s better.
Just for fun let’s look at the ‘closes’ that are out there if you wanted to ask google how you should do business…these are just a few, and for the fun of it I’ve put my interpretation next to them all !
The hard close – nothing to lose because your customer doesn’t want to buy
The puppy dog close – you have nowhere else to go but to beg
The relationship close – you are hoping that they like you because that’s all you’ve got
The urgency close – you think you should bully them into buying – that will work !
The backwards close – you missed some stuff so you’re going back to the beginning and trying again
Yes, they really do have these names and you are being taught to close this way, and yes, I despair !
Whilst I write with an air of sarcasm, I genuinely believe that there is actually only one way to secure the business that has any substance to it, and this can only be used if you have taken your customer on the sales journey, or ‘road trip’. This is the also known as the ‘assumptive close’, or if I had to call it a close I would call it the ‘human close’
Why? Because this way is the most natural, confident method you have if it is done correctly. Why wouldn’t you feel your customer will want to do business if you have done all the other things right.
If you take one thing away from this blog it is this, you cannot expect to do business with someone if you haven’t done the right things from the very beginning of this relationship. The key thing is you have to know WHY your customer is going to buy. If you really know this then the rest is easy.
You will find many of my vlogs and blogs which will help you with the elements needed on your sales ‘road trip’.
So here are the big things to remember when securing business. There are just a few and this is not complicated.
1. Take your customer on a journey
You have to start at the beginning and fully understand why your customer is going to buy. This involves making sure they have the Money, Authority and Need, asking them questions that give you the answers as to what exactly their challenge is, and understanding their motivation to buy. Remember if you know the questions to ask, when to ask them, why you are asking them, and how you ask them you are winning already.
2. Clarify as you go
You may have heard of the saying – always closing; well this really means remembering to clarify all the way through the conversation. It means you are always checking with the customer that they are with you on that journey and that you understood correctly what they have told you. You will hear me talk about closed questions – they can be answered with yes and no, and are predominantly used for confirmation. When you are building rapport and trust these questions come into play. If your customer is confirming throughout the whole process, then not only do they see that you understand their needs, it is also much easier to make an action plan to do business at the end of your conversation. When any doubts creep in you will be aware of them as you go, not at the end. Less objections to handle.
3. Be confident
If you are not confident how can your prospective customer be? Don’t hesitate, don’t pussy foot, do not make it sound like you are nervous about doing business. Your confidence comes from the relationship you have built already. You know why they have a challenge, you know why they want to buy, you know that your solution will solve their problem, you know they have the money, the authority and the need…so ask them for the business.
4. Make it human
You can find anything you want on google these days and I promise that you can find every way possible to close if you search for it. What google won’t give you is the unique person that YOU are. The language you will use, the way that you ask for something is your own way and is in context with the meeting you have just had. Google doesn’t know how you are feeling that day, google doesn’t know what your customer has said and how they are feeling. I’m guessing you can see where I’m going with this.
Be you – ask for the business in your language, in your way. This is the reason why someone will buy, because not only do you have the solution they need, but you have built rapport. If you suddenly asked for the business in a scripted, bizarre way, they will know that it sounds fake, and it could finish everything you have worked hard to build. Trust that you will find a way that is very unique to you and this is the way you should ask for the business. Speaking of which…
5. Ask for the business
I know, I saved the obvious one until last! But, guess what? many sales people walk away from a meeting and don’t ask for the business. More than you think. Why would they do that? Well there are a couple of reasons – they haven’t taken the person on the journey with them is the first reason, and so they are not quite sure if they are going to buy. This leads to a lack of confidence which means that they start to feel the ‘escape syndrome’ come on. They need to cut and run, they can’t stay in the meeting or on the call any longer as they feel out of control, and so to ask for the order at this point is very tough. Actually if you have missed something – go back and explore it with the customer, and if you really feel that they are not going to buy and you can’t go back for whatever reason – ask anyway and at least you will have closure and you will know the reasons why. It is great development for you as a salesperson. Learn from every meeting, because they won’t all run smoothly.
I hope these few suggestions have helped and given you something to think about. I’ll leave you with one last thought. When you are with your friends, your partner, your children, and you want something from any of them, what do you do…? You ask for what you want in your very own unique way. Time to transfer those life skills into the business environment – they are completely aligned.
Happy selling !