Closing. The make or break moment in sales. The final verdict that determines whether or not your efforts will amount to anything at all.
It’s natural to feel apprehensive about it at first. However, were it not for that feeling of danger, there wouldn’t be so satisfying a thrill upon successfully closing a sale — a feeling salespeople rely upon for motivation to continually strive for more.
Because sales professionals are expected to generate the best possible win rates for their effort, a large number of closing sales techniques have been developed over the years. You are likely familiar with some of the ones I’ve listed below, and perhaps unacquainted with others.
Traditional closing sales techniques usually employ some psychological sleight of hand designed to give that final nudge (or shove). Let’s have a quick look at a couple of them.
Now or Never
This is where salespeople make an offer that includes a supposedly “special” benefit that prompts immediate purchase. For example:
- “This is the last one at this price.”
- “We’ve got a 20% discount just for customers who sign up today.”
- “If you commit to buy now, I can fast track you to the front of the implementation queue.”
The Summary Close
Salespeople who use this closing technique reiterate the items the customer is hopefully purchasing (stressing the value and benefits) in an effort to get the prospect to sign. For example:
“So we have the Centrifab washing machine with brushless motor, the 10-year comprehensive guarantee, and our free delivery and installation service. When would be a good time to deliver?”
These canned closing techniques probably seem a little old fashioned. Perhaps they strike you as a little too “salesy,” particularly in light of the more nuanced sales methodology I’ve been discussing in my blog posts.
In particular, I’ve said before that the idea of closing itself needs to be broadened such that it encompasses any and all incremental agreements you secure — not just the moment of final purchase.
In a sales engagement, reps should endeavor to:
- Discover the customer’s needs
- Effectively communicate how specific products or services offer an affordable and satisfactory solution to those needs
If these two requirements are properly achieved, then there should be no barrier to closure. The closing question can be asked directly at that point.
To achieve these two foundational goals, it’s imperative that reps ask prospects probing questions. Effective salespeople focus on closing a sale as soon as a conversation with a prospect begins. Through a series of questions, they develop desire in the client and eliminate every objection to purchase.
One can even close the sale in the form of a question, which allows the rep to address outstanding objections while gaining a commitment at the same time.
For example: “In your opinion, does what I am offering solve your problem?”
The question allows you to discover whether the prospect is sold on your product while keeping the door open for further selling. If the answer is ‘no’ it remains their opinion (not yet the truth), thereby allowing you to continue to sell. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then signing on the dotted line is the next step.
Here’s another question close: “Is there any reason why we can’t proceed with the shipment?”
This question asks either for closure or more information as to why the customer isn’t quite convinced. It’s win-win.
How about you? Do you approach closing by relying on set, traditional methods, or do you take a more organic approach? Please share your best closing techniques in the comments.