Closing is a word thrown around in the sales world very often. And depending on what type of business you’re in, it can even mean different things at different stages of a deal. It could refer to a certain part of the business (say, the closing date for a contract), or to the way you finish up a phone call with a client or prospect.
What does closing really mean in sales? “Closing” means moving forward towards the next step in the process, up to the final moments with the client (and even beyond).
So, in a bit of a cliche way of saying things: closing isn’t the destination; it’s more of a journey. Or a series of small destinations on the way to your final stop – a completed deal.
Before we start, it’s so important to note that closing is not putting pressure on a prospect or customer. Any savvy buyer can see right through pressure techniques and will walk away, and rightfully so. Closing is about making the next step clear, putting the easiest route to it in front of your prospect, and overcoming hurdles along the way as they come up.
So put that coffee down, and let’s get started!
In this article:
This sounds so simple, but it’s something that many salespeople and those in business often forget. You should always be closing. What does this mean?
Always closing means that each interaction as it relates to the sale has a clear goal that you are trying to reach. This means coming into each conversation or opportunity to talk with a clear goal in mind of what the next step is. When you call your mother, you often don’t really have any topic in mind. The conversation meanders and naturally flows (most often nowhere important, which is perfect for conversation with family). But when you’re speaking with a prospect, time is valuable and working towards a point is the only way to get where you need to be.
So, to Always Be Closing:
Perhaps most importantly:
This is simple. You should not be closing when a lead is dead. If a client, customer or prospect gives you a firm “no”, it’s time to walk away (politely). In sales, NO is a great thing to hear. It means you can move on to the Next One. Don’t waste the time of your prospect or yourself beating a dead horse. Move on!
Rarely will a customer come to you with all their questions answered, fears assuaged, without a care or snag holding them back from proceeding. Often we need to overcome objections. “The price is too high. The product is missing X. I need to talk to my boss (wife). Did I mention the price is too high?!”
Vaulting hurdles is what you are here to do as a salesperson! Explaining the features, clarifying the value-adds, and working out the kinks. This is where the fun begins. Sure, it isn’t always wining and dining. In fact – this is where most eager young salespeople drop out of the race. Closing 1/10 leads would be a dream, depending on your business.
Even if your sales process goes from start to finish on one single phone call, you still will have a series of objections and pressure points to overcome. Some examples might be:
This list is most definitely not exhaustive, as any seasoned salesperson can tell you.
Overcome each piece of the deal at a time. Send your client calendar reminders, and remind yourself to follow up with them before these deadlines. Take it one step at a time with your prospect. If they can’t handle something early on in the deal (say, how the service works or what the product can do for them), they are far less likely to respond to later challenges (price, issues). Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither shall your sale be.
This is something very important in business, that is impossible to teach. It often can only come with time – lots of time – with clients and with the product or service you’re selling. You must be comfortable with any discussion you have with a prospect, if only to make them feel more comfortable.
People can smell bullshit. Prospects are wary. Especially when you are cold calling them to sell them something! Unfortunately, poorly trained & equipped salespeople have done one-too-many bad deals to shed a positive light on this important business process. We’ve all seen some boiler room in a movie where they try to dupe a grandmother into making a purchase of something she plain does not need. News stories abound of faulty products hocked by ambitious yes-men.
Be relaxed. Be courteous. You should be a gentleman (or gentlewoman). Disarm them with honesty, integrity and knowledge. Surprise them with your passion and be real with them! Most clients and customers will find this a refreshing take compared to what they typically experience in a sales process.
Disarm them with honesty, integrity and knowledge.
Take your time with them and be transparent! It will only pay out in spades for you down the road. They will feel better and more secure in their purchase. They will return to you for more service or sales, and will certainly recommend and refer you to all of their friends, family and business associates. Making one client happy is about more than just one sale; it’s about cultivating a relationship for the future, too.
To restate what I said at the start of this article – Closing in sales is the journey – not the destination! You could even call it a manner of handling your client. Think of it as working with them through the process – never against them. Your prospect isn’t someone you’re attempting to overwhelm or subdue with some type of secret sales weapon. They are a real person who just has some (hopefully reasonable) things to overcome in what can sometimes be a complex process.
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