I must have heard that three times this week –– from a client, a prospect, and a long-time friend.
There are many reasons business owners who are in a selling mode and even professional salespeople are insecure about closing. They don’t want to experience personal rejection. They’re concerned their price is too high. They need the deal badly and are afraid to ask.
Unlike the climax in a movie, closing the sale isn’t a grand singular event that occurs at a certain time in the sales presentation. It’s not something that you do when you get to the perfect spot in your pitch. At least that’s my opinion.
Closing the sale is something that happens throughout the entire sales presentation. In my book “How to Close More Business in Less Time,” I outline the steps in a typical sales process.
I work backward from the box on the chart labeled “closing the sale” by asking, “What could I do earlier in the sales process (or presentation) to assure a favorable outcome (hearing the work ‘YES’)?”
My motto is “Close as you go!” I’m looking for little buy-ins –– for mini-closes. For example, when you’re gathering information about a prospect’s business and challenges, that’s a time to close. “It sounds like that’s an expensive problem for your company. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to go away on its own.” When your prospect agrees, you have closed that issue.
When you’re educating your prospect about the products or services you offer and how valuable they are, that’s also a time for a mini-close. “Which of the five features would be most valuable to your organization?” He tells you his top three. “From the time you say yes, it takes us only 20 days to….”
The key is to start closing earlier in your sales process and presentation and to continue closing throughout the sales presentation. These mini-closes aren’t “Sign here” closes. But they are an opportunity to obtain a mental buy-in from the prospect.
So now, when you’ve reached the point in the sales process where push comes to shove and it’s time to ask for the sale, you review the little mini-closes along the way. You summarize your case and confidently ask for the sale with less fear and trembling because you have eliminated the grand singular event.