Did you know that most salespeople could easily double their revenue if they dared to close? We all recognise this situation: We’ve had a great conversation with a potential customer and we say goodbye at the end. Without a concrete result, we don’t have a deal. Often the conversation ends with a polite “Let me think about this, I’ll let you know”, “I will call you next week”, “Thanks for all this information, I’ll get back to you”.
We want to come to a better result than “Thanks for all this information, I’ll get back to you”
First of all, it is important to understand that a sales conversation has the following stages:
- The preliminaries;
- The investigation stage
- The convincing stage;
- The commitment stage.
Each stage has a specific goal.
In the commitment stage, we want to conclude the sales conversation with a positive outcome. Of course, the best possible outcome would be to close the deal. Depending on which stage of the sales cycle you’re in, a positive result might also be:
- A follow-up meeting (possibly with someone else who influences or decides)
- Making a quotation or calculation
- Sending samples or starting a trial period etc.
It’s important that you stay in the lead during this commitment stage. That’s why it is important to wait for the right moment (better even, work towards the right moment), and then use a closing technique to conclude the conversation with a positive result.
There are various ways to conclude the conversation. The following 7 ways are very effective to come to a deal:
Technique 1. Ask for the deal or follow-up meeting directly
It is so easy and yet so difficult for many people: simply ask for the deal.
- “Do we have a deal?”
- “Shall we schedule a follow-up meeting?”
The benefit is that you will immediately get a confirmation that you have a deal. The answer to your question could also be “No”. So use this technique only if you are quite sure that your prospect is ready to buy. Of course, you seal the deal with a firm handshake and a compliment with a genuine smile.
Technique 2. Use a hypothesis with a direct close
- “Suppose that we agree on the delivery time, do we then have a deal?”
- “Assuming we have the large version on stock, do you then want it?”
This is a less intrusive way to close because there is still an exit for the customer. Use this technique if you are not really sure that the customer is ready to order, but everything seems to be fine.
Technique 3. Use the ‘what’s holding you’ close“
- “Is there anything that needs to be clarified, or can we continue to the next stage?”
- “Is there anything else that prevents us from doing business together?”
This technique allows you to get confirmed that there is still only one problem to solve. It is a great way to work towards the deal.
Technique 4. Multiple choice close
This is a great way to close because, although you give your client a choice, it is “yes” or “yes”.
- “Would you prefer to start next month or, even better, shall we start right away?”
- “Do you prefer the basic version or the top model?”
Always put your preferred option at the end, people tend to pick that one.
Technique 5. Hypothetical multiple choice close
Combine the technique 3 and 4 to create a new technique which is a very smooth one.
- “Suppose that we deliver on time, would you then prefer the black finished or the metal look?”
- “Assuming that we could start next week, would you rather begin with the front or the backside?
Technique 6. Implied close
When you use this technique, you assume that the deal has been closed already. You talk about aspects that are only relevant after the decision-making moment.
- “What date would suit you best for the installation?”
- “Shall we take a look at the planning to see what would be the best moment to start?”
Technique 7. Use time pressure
- “Well, if you want to get them in time, we will have to come to an agreement today!”.
- “This offer is only valid today because tomorrow our new price list will be issued.”
Of course, this technique can come across as intrusive, so use it with care and only if you need it.
Most salespeople hate the closing moment. They beat around the bush and by doing so, lose money! Some customers need a little bit of encouragement and you are proud of your products and services, aren’t you? So set aside your fear and just give it a try… Pay attention to buying signals and use the moment!
A special occasion arises when your customer sends buying signals.
When a customer sends a buying signal, they show that they have made the decision in their heads, but haven’t yet expressed it. They talk or act as if the deal is a fact. Examples are: “Can you ship next week?”, or “Are there any additional costs involved?”. As soon as your customer shows buying or acceptance signals during the right stage, you should start to close right away!
Are you ready to give it a try and let me know which closing technique(s) would be appropriate in the following situation? Please watch the following training video from our “closing the deal” portfolio and post a comment to let me know what you think is/are the best closing techniques in this situation:
By Paul J. Smulders