I am often asked by sales managers and business owners to help their teams with their closing skills. My question to them is always the same… “What do you mean by closing skills?” Their answer tends to be – “You know, how do they use those words at the end of the sale to close it more effectively?”
In response to this, I always hear myself saying, “Sorry, but I can’t teach your team to close more sales by focusing on the words they use at the end, but I can teach them how to get to that point, knowing that they are going to get the sale.”
Deals are not done through clever closing techniques, whether it’s the assumptive or alternative close, but through the earlier stages of the sales process. Creating an environment where the sale is more likely to happen starts at the beginning.
The introductory part of the sales process can make or break your sale before you’ve even started selling and is stage 1 to closing a sale. If you do not make the right impression or build a little bit of trust when you first meet a prospect then they will naturally be defensive with you. This means they are likely to hold back valuable information in an effort to protect themselves from buying from you. As we know, information is everything when avoiding objections and building relationships. You need an open and engaged prospect who is willing to share their circumstances fully.
Qualification – The Art of Understanding Your Customer’s Needs, Wants and Desires
During this part of the sales process, we should be building further trust and a deep understanding of what the prospect wants to buy and, more importantly, why they want to buy it. This is stage 2 to closing a deal. By gaining a FULL understanding of the customers needs and motivations, we are able to position our product or service precisely where they need it to be, in order to purchase.
The benefit of thorough qualification is the full knowledge of not only what you need to present as a solution to the prospects needs, but HOW to present it to make it as attractive as possible. By closely matching the features and benefits of your product or service to the prospects needs and aligning the outcome of purchase with the outcomes they have expressed, then you are building a very logical and compelling case for purchase. This is stage 3 of closing a sale. By the end of this stage, your prospect should have made their purchase decision, subject to the price/value equation, which will have been made much easier by your logical and engaging presentation.
So, you can see from this that the decision to say “yes or no” to your closing question will probably have been made long before you ask it.
Don’t focus on the “Close”. Focus on the sale, the relationship, the building of trust and knowledge and the effective presentation of your solution. Only then will you close more sales.
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