What is a close?
To many it’s “Getting the Sale”.
True, but this is a very narrow definition of a close.
When we think of Discover Selling© our purpose for any close is: “Achieving the Objective for the Engagement”.
This could be;
◊ Prospect agreeing to accept additional information from you.
◊ Prospect agreeing to get more information for you.
◊ Setting a meeting with the Brand Manager or Marketing Director.
◊ Visiting their retail stores and providing insight and observation.
◊ Submitting ideas and letting the prospect prioritize which most closely fit with their marketing and brand positioning.
The list is endless. It all depends on where you are in the sales cycle and what action is needed to move you to the final agreement to hire.
This approach is a must when you have Procurement and or a Search Consultant moderating the sale.
Think therefore of getting the sale as a combination of 1,425 little closes.
How much persistence should you use?
It depends on what you’re selling and to whom.
A “One Shot” sale such as is often thought of with the automotive or insurance business, heavy persistence is frequently used to whittle down the prospects resistance. This too is why the subject of “Selling” gets a bad rap!
A specialty or service salesperson can use above average persistence, but prudently and over time. Advertising falls into this category as does CPG, Retail and Media sales.
Since you will build your business on sound relationships over a period of time, with repeat orders as a consistent source of revenue, it isn’t wise to initially be over-persistent.
This does not mean that after the first or second “NO” one should give up. It means that the client or prospect is then placed in a lower sales conversion priority but nonetheless continually courted and serviced.
Accept Defeat Gracefully.
The Unqualified Prospect
There is the exception of a prospect being clearly “unqualified” as a potential client.
Sell smart, not hard!
In a service business, spinning one’s wheels on an unqualified prospect is a detriment to effective time management and use of selling time. There is always another day that might be won if you lose this one gracefully.
Remember there are times one will lose the battle but win the war, especially if this same client ends up at a different company a year from now and remembers your graceful exit.
However, in order to execute this “walk away” strategy, one cannot only have 5 prospects on the list. The more scarce your prospects are the more likely you will stay the course and persist away unsuccessfully.
The key is to create a list that has so many prospects on it that if you walk away from 50% of them, you’d never know the difference, nor would you care.
It’s like dating, if you only have one person to call, you’ll keep calling until you get the person on the phone or not. If you had 10, you’d more likely just move on to the next.
Decisions can be changed – they are not always irrevocable and buyers admire the salesperson that can accept a “NO” – provided the reason for the NO is reasonable.
In a service relationship, it is often better to maintain good relationships rather than risk the chance of “closing” an account and losing business altogether.
Buyer’s remorse is your worst post- sale nemesis and is often the result of an overzealous salesperson forcing a close knowing that they cannot deliver.
Once you get the close
After getting agreement, don’t keep the buyer talking about unimportant and unrelated trivialities. He or she is a busy person. Minimize this end of sales talk. More discussion oftentimes leads to further questions.
You may perhaps reassure the buyer that he or she has made a wise decision.
The reverse sometimes applies and a salesperson can’t get away from a talkative buyer.
Here is a magic phrase which can save you hours. As you stand up and hold out your hand, say:“Mr. Jones, you must have a lot on your plate – I’ll leave you to it. Thank you for your business and assistance”.
That gives you an inoffensive exit. Remember, so far, there has not been a single death as a result of a salesperson asking for the order, but many have been impoverished by not asking.
Therefore, ALWAYS ask for the order unless it is obvious that the buyer is not ready to buy.
5 Types of Closes
Here is a starter kit of 5 easy to remember closes you can apply to any engagement with a prospect or client.
QuestionAre you interested in having us draw up a proposal for your review?
AssumptiveI take it you will need us to provide an analytics resource to conduct optimization modeling over the next 18 months?
AlternativeWhich month would be best for us to start the initial research with customers and the competition – June or July?
SuggestiveMay I suggest we move ahead by proposing the exact steps we’d take to address the issues mentioned?
We will ensure that:
- All your interactive and brand communications are in sync with each other,
- Meetings with each of the directors will happen by May 21st,
- All plans will be approved by both you and brand management.
The Last Word
In almost all service sales meetings and presentations that do not end well, the salesperson States rather than Asks for the sale, often using it as a means to summarize why their company deserves the business over all others.
If the prospect does not know that you are their choice by then, your chances of getting it are remote at best.
Therefore, if the prospect looks ready, Ask and then Assess.