Closing the sale is easy if you follow your sales process and gain commitments along the way.
Sales managers are always asking me for help teaching their salespeople closing techniques. Essentially, they are looking for an easy button. The problem is, I don’t know any “closing techniques” that make closing easy. There are no magic words that will suddenly make a hesitant buyer change their mind.
Closing shouldn’t be hard. It should be a natural step in the sales process.
Closing the deal only becomes hard when the prospect is not ready to buy.
Sounds simple enough.
So, why do sales that were supposed to close, stall or never close?
Why do salespeople think prospects are ready to buy when they are not?
How do the salespeople get all the way to the end of the sales cycle with a prospect and not know whether or not the deal will close?
It is because the salesperson has moved forward in the sales cycle and the prospect has not.
The salesperson may be thinking:
“I’ve done everything I can, given you all the information I have, answered all of your questions and provided for all of your requests. It all makes sense to me so why won’t you buy now?”
The prospect may be thinking:
“I am not ready to buy so I don’t know why you expect me to.”
“You have overwhelmed me with information that I now have to explain to the others involved in the purchase and they are all too busy.”
“This was a priority for others in my company so I rushed to get everything they needed and now it is on the back burner and I don’t know what to tell you.”
“Although I understand your product’s bells and whistles I still don’t really know if your product is the best solution for my needs.”
“Our priorities have changed and I don’t have time to call you back or I feel bad so I don’t want to call and tell you our decision.”
You Can’t Close the Sale When You Are Not In Alignment With Your Prospect
Salespeople are very good at making commitments and giving information to their prospects. They know everything about the product or service they sell and are enthusiastic to share that knowledge. They feel their solution is the best and of course, the prospect should choose it. The reality is that the prospect may not.
Closing the Sale Begins and Ends With Your Prospect’s Commitments
To improve your closing ratio, get good at getting commitments and information from your prospect. This is easy when your prospect views you as a problem solver.
“So this is my closing technique: Go back to the beginning of the sale and do it right.”
Typically, salespeople don’t think about getting the prospect to commit until the end. However, to close the sale, you need to gain commitments from your prospect at each step of the sales cycle.
For example: In your first meeting with a prospect, aks questions to understand their situation. Then share only the information that shows how your product fits – just enough information to create interest. Then ask for a commitment for a discovery meeting or demo.
Getting Commitments to Close the Sale Starts With Good Qualifying Questions
One of my clients who sells audiovisual equipment to the hospitality and retail industry was working with a small restaurant chain. They had been talking to the general manager who said he had the decision making authority. They got him all the information he needed and gave him a quote but couldn’t get him to commit to a demonstration which was necessary to close the deal.
This took 3 sales calls and some phone calls and email over a 2 month period. It felt like the sale was moving forward because he asked for a quote and gave every indication that he would buy from them. After he received the quote the salesperson called to review it and the general manager told him he would get back to him.
After a week the salesperson tried to follow up and left a message. The general manager didn’t return the call. The salesperson emailed, no reply. Two weeks went by, still no reply. The salesperson was sure this deal was going to close as soon as the quote was received.
When the salesperson described this to me I asked a few questions and then encouraged him to do a little research and then call the general manager with the new information in mind. It turns out that the owner had delegated the decision to the general manager and then decided that he needed to be more involved.
This stalled the process and was probably a little embarrassing for the general manager. I helped the salesperson figure out how to make it easy for the general manager to bring the owner up to speed and look like a genius, but it took some time.
This could have been avoided if the salesperson had gotten a commitment early on to meet the owner even though he originally was not involved in the decision.
This is why closing the sale begins with asking good qualifying questions up front:
What is your budget?
Who else besides yourself will be involved in making the decision?
What is the best way to include everyone involved in the decision-making process?
What is your timeline for implementation?
What is your timeline for making a decision?
How will our solution meet your needs?
What other solutions have you considered?
When should I get back to you to learn about your decision?
If the prospect won’t answer the questions or make any commitments it is a signal that the sale is not moving forward.
5 Tips for Closing the Sale
Develop a relationship with all the people involved in the decision.
Ask good questions and listen so you can gather information to understand their needs.
Only present relevant information linked to their problems
Ask for your prospect for firm commitments at each step of the sales process
If you can’t get a commitment this is a signal that the sale is not moving forward and you need to do something different.
Closing the sale is easy when you get a series of commitments along the way rather than waiting until the end to “ask for the sale.”
For as long as salespeople have been asking buyers to make commitments, buyers have been throwing out objections. And, for as long as buyers have been saying no, salespeople have yearned for the secrets to getting past those NOs. The Objections Book Club Guide will give you and your team the tools to become rejection proof and get to YES. DOWNLOAD FREE
About the author
Alice developed her expertise in sales while at Miller Heiman, Inc before striking out…