Make That Sale – Closing the Sale
Some sales professionals believe that an effective presentation should lead the buyer straight to the point at which they buy without needing to go through the process of closing the sale. This may happen but it is more usual to close the process because as good as the presentation is there will be still some doubts and uncertainties in the buyers mind.
The plain truth is that if the buyer does put off buying until another day it is very likely that they will be buying from the competition.
Closing the sale calls for strong confidence and pushing for the close can create a strong feeling of rejection if this does not result in purchase! Not closing does not mean more sales but it lessens blatant feelings of rejection. You therefore need to get rid of the fear of closing and accept that some buyers will respond negatively BUT others will sign and purchase because of your closing style (and presentation of course!).
A major consideration is timing – the general rule is to close the sale when the buyer is clearly interested (hopefully excited) about your offer. Look for clear buying signals but remember that the level of interest/excitement/commitment will vary as the pitch proceeds and look like a series of peaks and troughs as the message works through their mind. Keep your focus on the key benefits of your offer and beware those statements that are less positive and which may raise doubts and concerns!
Close at the peak of this flow of interest! It may be hard to identify which peak to use to close and this will come with experience and repeated pitches – be clear in your own mind that both need and problem-identification have been covered and then close.
Some buyers will want to sign and let you close even during the presentation; “Yes, great, just what I want” are golden words which do happen. When this does not happen, and you want to close, perhaps trying the following suggestions might be of use;
- Simply ask for the order – “Shall I reserve you one?”
- Summarise and then ask for the order.
- The concession close; keep one concession in reserve to use as the final push for the order “If you order now I can give you an extra 2.5% discount”.
- The alternative close; this assumes that the buyer is willing to purchase but hovers around some detail in the product e.g. colour or delivery date. “Would you like the red or green one?” or “Shall I set up delivery for Monday or Friday for you?” neatly prods the buyer into the final decision.
- The objection close; using an objection as a stimulus to buy. An example could be “If I can convince you that this model is the most economical in the market will you buy?” A good use of published statistical date should then seal the contract.
In some circumstances it will be inappropriate to close the deal as you may be part-way through a long buying process and the time to close is not now. In these circumstances effective sales people attempt to achieve an “action agreement” where the sales-person agrees to do something prior to the next meeting. This allows further dialogue and is a measure of the level of interest by the buyer and means that closure is still possible, even if it is a little way in the future.
When you have successfully closed you MUST remember two things; however good it feels save the excitement for later as you must remain professional and dignified. Looking euphoric makes the buyer feel that they have been exploited and will sour any long-term strategy to sell more volume or different products. Secondly leave as quickly as is courteous to do so as the longer you stay the more likely it is that the buyer may change their mind.
Enjoy lots of successful closings!
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