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The Culmination Of Your Efforts - How To Close The Deal
By Michael Stahl   Printer Friendly Version

You must be "outside" your head and in the interview, not "inside" your head and thinking about getting groceries or what you are going to do next week end.

Know when to take advantage of the close. Many sales people have not learned the right time to close. Once again, watch your prospect closely, listen to what they have to say and feel their sensory output. People are ready to be closed when they:

  • Noticeably start to think more and talk less. This slows the pace of the interview.
  • When they continually give you positive feedback i.e. smiling, nodding yes, saying things like, "Well, Mike I think it sounds good." or "O.K., I appreciate you talking to me." or repeating positive words like, "Great. Super. Excellent. Very Good." (words that you should have already lead them with throughout your presentation.
  • When an alternate of choice or "porcupine" question leads them into a favorable response.
  • When they ask a lot of questions that may even seem repetitive.

You should lead your prospect with body language like smiling and nodding your head yes. It is very effective to nod your head yes and smile after you have asked a reflexive question. People "like" to be lead and will follow you unconsciously by smiling and answering yes.

When you set up a close then be quiet! It helps to lean back in your chair while looking at the prospect. Smile. Sometimes it is even effective to put your hands behind your head.

The Peace of Mind Close - This can be used when the prospect has a warm personality and has really connected with you. You should say: " Wouldn't it be nice to have the piece of mind to make a decision now? Wait for positive response and then reassure them by saying, "Ok then, let's do it." Lead your prospect into the sale by gently reaffirming their buying decision.

The Call to Action Close - This can be used when the prospect says they have to look over their budget privately and think about what they can afford. You should say: "Well sir/ma'am you already know what your budget is and we have already discussed your opportunities at length. Wouldn't you agree that it is important to make the best decision for yourself right now? (Do not pause here for an answer. They will tell you the objection after the next question) What else can I do to help you? (After you have answered the concern then go into, "So that takes care of that, doesn't it? Excellent! I know you will enjoy our product/service and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.

If they still come back to having to think about it, this leads into the next close. It can take five or more closing attempts to get the sale. When a close is not successful, It is important to retain rapport by apologizing to the prospect. I'm sorry Mr. Smith I didn't mean to move so fast. Go back through the benefits qualifying them with reflexive questions. Then say, "O.K., we agree on all of those issues, don't we?" Your prospect is now emotionally involved again and ready for the next close attempt.

The I'll Think it Over Close - Agree that you feel it would be good for them to think things over in private. Then ask them the question, "Just to clarify my thinking, could you explain one more time what it is you're going to thinking over?" Then list off possible objections. Just keep asking the question, "Is it the?" until you discover the true hot button. Make sure that is the only thing keeping them from a decision and then address that issue. When that has been explained, you can go back to the reflexive question; "This is definitely the best decision for you, isn't it?"

The Square Close - This close is dangerous because if you try it on someone who is not a very strong personality, your rapport can be broken and a prospect can feel pressured. For the strong personality you can say, "I can certainly understand your wanting to think about such a major decision, but do you know what? Even if you think about it for four days or four weeks or four months, you won't know anything more about it then. Let's make a decision right now."

The Classic Balance Sheet Close - This also is referred to as the Ben Franklin Close. It involves simply listing the "pros" and "cons" of the prospect's decision on a sheet of paper with a line drawn down the middle. Of course you want to help the prospect list the pros and allow them to come up with the cons on their own. Then add up all the positives and negatives (There of course should be many more positives than negatives) and say, "Well, Mr. Smith, the answer here is pretty clear, isn't it?"

The Assumptive Close - This can work well if you make absolutely sure that you have answered all pertinent questions they might have. You can say, "Excellent. Assuming I have answered all of your questions, Is there any other reason we cannot do business today?" Note: You should already have made sure to answer all of their questions before attempting this close. Then they really cannot avoid making a decision unless there is a hidden objection. If there are any hidden issues, this technique will help to uncover them and lead you to the sale.

The Puppy Dog Close or Sale on Approval Close - This is extremely powerful if you can afford to use it. It is based on the belief that when a customer has your product, or starts enjoying your service, they'll decide that they cannot live without it. You just let the customer take your product home and start using it. Tell them they can take it for the weekend without paying for it. Then say that if, on Monday morning they have decided that they do not want it any more, they can return it and not owe you a penny. There is no risk to the customer at all and any qualified prospect will like this idea. If you really have an excellent product or service, this concept works very well.

Group Sales Presentations can be very successful if you follow the rules of developing rapport with your audience. Remember, people are buying relationships more than anything else. However, in a pleasant setting, group sales presentations can be successful with:

  • A practiced delivery with lots of personal stories and anecdotes to get the audience involved with what is being said. Entertainment value tends to personalize the presentation more.
  • Use generous amounts of visual aids including flip charts, handouts and illustrations.
  • Customize your presentation to the audience. Once again, this gets back to the personal touch that is so important in the relationship based sales of the 21st century.

Marketing and sales go hand-in-hand to build a strong, successful business. If you are serious about the continued growth and prosperity of your business, you should be in a state of constant learning. Never think that you "know-it-all" because not only are the questions changing; the answers to existing questions are changing! So remember the words of Don Herold, "The brighter you are, the more you have to learn."


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