A few sales closing tactics. Taking a new look at old ways.
“Jeffrey, how do you close, Jeffrey, how do you close?” I get asked that question more than any other. (“Jeffrey, why is your hair falling out?” is a close second.)
I keep giving the same answer Don’t close the sale, assume the sale. The assumptive position is the strongest selling strategy in the world. By definition you believe you will make every sale you attempt.
It sounds simple. It is simple but, it’s not easy. In order to utilize the assumptive close, you must be qualified. There are two major prerequisites that make the assumptive close possible:
1. Your personal preparedness. You must display self confidence, have total product knowledge, have a positive mental attitude, exude so much enthusiasm that it’s contagious, have a desire to help that exceeds a desire to earn money, and have a genuine sincerity of purpose. If this is 110% you, you’re only half way to assumption. Read on…
2. Your sales preparedness. There are three strategic areas of sales preparedness, and all must be in place to make assuming the sale possible.
1. The needs of the prospect have been determined, and are put ahead of yours. 2. You are established in the mind of the prospect as a person of character, credibility, and high repute. The prospect has confidence in you. 3. You have built solid rapport with the prospect based on the personal information you’ve gathered, combined with your knowledge of his business.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Assuming the sale is a state of mind, it does not preclude employing the science of selling. Yes, you must, from time to time, use sales techniques, but it’s more a matter of word choice and delivery, than trying to master some close that has a name. “The Benjamin Franklin Close, The Sharp Angle Close, and The Final Question Close” are all old world methods of selling. These tactics will make people mad, or uncomfortable or both. You may even occasionally make a sale but no one will ever refer their friends to go through the same ordeal.
MORE IMPORTANT NOTE: The close of a sale is only one step in the sales cycle. You don’t just close a sale you lead up to a close. You earn the sale based on what you have said and done to guide the prospect to a decision.
MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: The actual close of a sale is a delicate balance between your words and actions, and the prospects thoughts and perceptions. And a sale is always made either you sell them on yes or they sell you on no.
Here are six closing strategies and tactics that you might find effective:
Challenge the prospect to do what’s best for his business. This is kind of a guilt strategy. Look the person in the eye and ask him what he thinks is best for his business. This strategy is great when he’s doing business with an existing vendor or friend, and they are not providing the best product or service.
We are experts at what we do and you can have peace of mind to do what you do best, knowing our part of your job will get done. Tell the prospect that you can help build her business by providing your service and partnering with them. Always let the prospect have a path to doing what they do best, and have peace of mind that your service will supplement that process on their way to success. This strategy is great for selling professional services.
Make a list of objectives for what the prospect wants to accomplish AFTER your product or service is in place. Your objective as a professional is to get the prospect to see the world as though the sale was already made. Forget about convincing them to do it that’s selling, no one want’s to be sold. Show them what their world will be like after the sale that’s buying, everyone loves to buy. This strategy works on every kind of sale.
Get the prospect to be a visionary. “Mr. Johnson, If you did __________ , when do you think would be the best time to start?” Let the prospect tell you what he has in mind, instead of you telling him what’s on yours. This strategy is called the “ifwhen decision process,” and is great for selling equipment.
Make the prospect commit to a future action. The traditional method of accomplishing this is: “If I could…, would you…” but today’s professional can’t say that exactly it sounds to salesy. This strategy must be worded more out of conversation than sales presentation. It must be delivered as a desire to help achieve an objective, not a pressure to make a sale.
Make plans for after the sale has taken place, before the sale is consummated. Even if you don’t have the commitment yet, you can try to schedule an installation time, or a meeting after delivery. “I can schedule the installation for Tuesday, but I wanted to be here personally to be sure that everything is perfect. Will you be able to make it?” This is an indirect way of formalizing the sale, and a classic use of the assumptive process.
Assuming the sale is the hardest process to prepare for but the easiest sale to make once you do.
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Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/3331112.