“In a typical sales encounter, 80% of prospects will say, “No” to your sales offer. During tough economic times, this can be as high as 90% or even 95%” according to a well-known global sales guru for strategic sales methodology training, including key closing strategies. This theory is widely accurate, as all of us who have been in sales for any length of time can attest to.
However, there are techniques that salespeople can adopt that will enable them to close a higher percentage of sales regardless of the economy.
CLOSE THE SALE TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
First, remember that closing starts at the very beginning of the sale. Good closers make good salespeople, and that requires pre-qualifying the customer’s needs. In pre-qualifying the customers needs, the salesperson knows what the customer is looking for, and will know how to sell to that individual.
Of course, you have not yet closed the customer. This is just the beginning. There are 5 steps to the sales process: Introduction, Building Rapport, Education, Validation, and (final) Close. The pre-qualifying should happen during the Building Rapport stage of the process.
Second, as you are Building Rapport and heading toward the Education portion of the sales cycle, use a “Test Close”. The objective is to do a litmus test to see if you still have the customer’s undivided interest in how your products can help meet their needs. A few questions one might ask at this point are:
- “Based on what I’ve told you so far, is there anything that concerns you that you would like me to address so we can move on from here?”
- “How does what I have told you compare to your current situation? Do you believe that we have a solution that would positively impact your company?”
- “What are the three things you are looking for that will drive you to change the way things you are doing now?”
Third, as you are in the Education phase of the sale, you are in a unique position in which you are no longer asking as many “need-identification” questions, and are instead educating your client as to how your product or service will provide value to their organization. The questions you should be asking during the Education phase are 100% closing questions, such as:
- “Can you see how our products/services can drive value to your organization?”
- “What are your thoughts about what we have discussed so far? Do you have questions I can answer for you?” (When the customer has questions, that is a sign that they are still interested)
- “What are the key deciding factors for you in changing product/service lines?”
- “What concerns, if any, do you have after I have shown you how our products/services can help you?
The answers to these questions will help you move to the Validation part of the sales cycle. Validation of the customer’s comfort level in making a switch to your company’s products and services is one of the most critical elements of the sale. This portion of the sale gives you the opportunity to ask “What Else Closes”, which may include:
- “What else do you need to know to help you make a final decision?”
- “What else?”
- “What else?”
Keep asking “What else?” until the customer says “I can’t think of anything else right now.” This is your opportunity to address their concerns or questions one by one. The “What Else Close” helps you narrow down “what else” might be on the customer’s mind that they have not yet discussed with you. This close is quite effective in listing out each of the customer’s concerns, and then addressing them from the beginning to confirm in the customer’s mind that they are making the right buying decision in choosing your products.
Finally, the Close. This should be simply getting the contract signed and sent back to you. If you have done all of your homework up front, from “pre-qualifying” to “what else”, then the final close is a matter of receiving the contract that will drive your revenue and help your customer meet their final needs.