Closing the Deal
Posted by Trevor on 19 April 2012 | 1 Comment
Closing the deal or finalizing the sale is a difficult skill. It can also be a fearful part of the sales process because there is always the chance for rejection. To negate this fear, you need to focus less on the sale and more on the conversation.
I have met with many people who have approached me to invest in their company. They have great ideas and a fantastic business plan, but they don’t ask me to commit to anything. They just walk away. It’s disappointing, because if they are afraid to ask me, I assume they are afraid to ask customers for their business, and I will not invest.
Time and time again when I’ve lead sales training sessions, I meet sales people who are afraid to ask for the business. They know the product or service they’re selling, they have a great pitch, but they never ask anything of the customer; they are scared of hearing the word “no.” Instead of teaching salespeople to simply ask, “Will you buy?” I encourage them to use an action close: anything that allows you to reconnect with the person you’re talking to in the future. It sounds simple but hardly anybody ever does it.
Very few people will buy something the first time they meet somebody. People need to first buy into the salesperson before they will buy the product. This process takes time; it might take three or five or seven meetings before the customer is ready to close the sale. The salesperson’s job is to keep the customer engaged in this process, and that is where the action close comes in. For example, the end of a first meeting might sound something like this: “Let me be sure that you understand everything I’ve been saying. I’d like to have you speak to one of our customers who purchase this product. They have a similar business as you, and I can have that customer call you on Friday.” It is much more likely that your customer will commit to this action than it is that they will commit to a buy. It also keeps you in contact and moves the conversation forward. If you leave a customer’s office without a future action plan, you will never get back in.
Another key point of the action close is to never ask a question that will result in a “no” answer. The goal in a sales conversation is to get your customer to open up and engage with you. You can’t get a conversation going when you ask questions like: “Can I help you?” As soon as the customer says “no” the sale is finished. I see this all the time at exhibitions and in clothing stores. The better way to approach the customer would be to ask, “What piece of clothing are you looking for?” or “what occasion are you shopping for?” This should get the customer talking and start the process that will lead to the sale.
The action close fosters conversations, and it is conversations that result in sales.