A very successful sales professional I know once told me that nothing happens until a sale is made. Until a book is sold the book stores cannot afford employees, the printing companies cannot print anything, writers do not need to write, paper mills are quiet, trucking companies sit idle, and loggers aren’t needed to harvest any trees. It all starts with the sale.
The oldest profession in the world really is sales. Someone had to sell Eve on the idea of trying that apple! Whether you sell products and services, your ideas, or your self, proven skills and techniques are needed to heighten your opportunity for success. Although there are many facets to the entire sales process closing is often the focal point of those trying to improve, sell more, and make more money.
Closing is not simply a magical moment during the sales process where the sale is made. Closing is something that is constantly in play. Closing starts before you make your initial contact and continues long after the first sale is made. You are always closing. The very best sales professionals know that they must always be aware of their client’s needs, momentum in the sales process, and closing opportunities. You must be prepared to close at any moment, because clients react differently and must be closed when they provide the opportunity and want to close.
I’ve seen far more sales people then I would like to recall get so wrapped in their sales presentation that they went right past a closing opportunity only to eventually lose the sale. It’s not about your needs; it’s about the clients!
So what is closing? I define closing the sale as the transition from discussing client needs and possible solutions that you can offer to actually beginning the process of implementing one of your solutions. Your solution may be in the form of a product, or it may be in the form of a service. Being able to get a client to move on your suggestion is what closing is all about.
Many people look for a specific phrase from their client in order to move forward. Many clients will never say, “I will buy that,” or “Please send me two cases,” or “Here’s a check to cover the cost.” They depend on you to read between the lines, to see their nonverbal cues, and to take initiative to move through this “transition” stage and begin delivering the benefits they will receive when you provide your product or service.
You will need to be confident enough to help the closing “transition” take place. At some point you may say, “Based on the facts you’ve shared with me and the benefits of our XV1000 it looks like we can take complete care of your needs, what is a good time table for delivery?” Here you are assuming the close.
The best way to go into a relationship is to assume that you will be able to solve a client’s problems or needs. Your language is positive and you assume the sale right from the start. The client knows you’re there to solve their needs, and you don’t let them down. You are there to sell, and they are there to buy. They just need your help.
Another way to approach closing is with what I call “The Perfect Close.” Here’s how it goes. At some point during your conversation you simply say, “If this were a perfect world, what would be the best possible solution to your insurance needs (you can insert any product or service area here)?” Let your client speak and don’t interrupt them! They will tell you just what they want and need. Now all you have to do is give it to them. If you can use this information to share your solution to fit, you have a sale. After showing how your solution fits their needs and desires, use the power of the assumptive close discussed above to now move forward. You have just closed the sale!
Closing is an art. It is developed over time. Closing is focusing more on the client, their needs, desires, words, and body language then on you and all of the benefits of your products and services. Most sales professionals are too enamored with what they offer and their company and don’t focus enough on their client. Most clients want to close earlier and you should not deny them that opportunity.
Focus on your client, assume the sale, find out what their “perfect solution” is, and you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz!