FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JULY 2007
Everybody wants to close the sale. You want to close the sale. Your manager wants you to close the sale. Your manager’s boss wants you to close the sale. Your CEO wants you to close the sale. Your accounting department wants you to close the sale. I want you to close the sale.
Everybody wants you to close the sale – except the customer. They don’t want to be closed, and they hate salespeople that try to close. Customers want to buy. You know my mantra: People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.
Historically in the sales progression, the close comes at the end of the sales cycle. BUT, what you have done at the beginning of the sales cycle will most likely determine what will happen at the end of the sales cycle.
You can’t say to the customer at the end of a 6-week courtship, “I know I haven’t been really good at presenting a compelling message, and I know I haven’t proven my value against the competition, and I know our price is higher, so do you want to buy?” No! They’re not going to buy; they’re going to laugh at you. They’re going to throw you out on your elliptical.
What you have done before the close will determine the outcome of the closing process.
The words “close the sale” have been around for a hundred years. I think it’s time to change them. I think that if you view the close as a logical and emotional progression of the selling process, you might then understand that what has lead up to the close will determine your fate. It’s more of a “conclusion of part one” of the relationship building process.
Most salespeople blame the prospect when they can’t close a sale. Or when the prospect won’t order your product or buy your service TODAY.
It’s not their fault, Sparky. It’s yours. You have to start with your own outlook, and your own self-confidence. You have to visualize the sale taking place before you walk into the room, and you have to be prepared to make it once you enter.
TRY THIS: Change your mindset. Don’t close the sale. Assume the sale. A good ending must be decisive, set-up, and inevitable. YOU have to be engaging, believable, passionate, and offer a compelling message. You have to be prepared with testimonials from other customers, and you have to prove that your future customer will have a positive outcome for their business. And you assume the sale is yours.
The assumptive position is the strongest selling strategy in the world. By definition, you believe you will make every sale you attempt. It sounds simple. It is simple. But it’s not easy. In order to utilize the assumptive close, you must be qualified.
There are two major prerequisites that make the assumptive close possible:
1. Your personal preparedness. In your company, people assume that everything revolves around your product or service. But that’s not true. You have to find a balance between product preparedness and mental preparedness. You must display self-confidence, have total product knowledge, have a positive mental attitude, exude so much enthusiasm that it’s contagious, and have a desire to help that exceeds a desire to earn money.
2. Your sales preparedness. That means that the needs of your prospect have been determined. The buying motives of the prospect are known to you. You’re established as a person of value in the mind of the prospect. The prospect has confidence in you. You’ve removed any objections, barriers, or perceived risks they may have. And you’ve built solid rapport. Your job is to know everything you can about your prospect’s business — their market, their needs, their customers, and their people. Know their buying motives, how they profit, and how they produce.
Now you’re ready to “close” the sale. Better stated, you’re ready to create the logical and emotional progression of the selling process to a happy ending.
The actual close of a sale is the delicate balance between your words and actions, and the prospect’s thoughts and perceptions. And a sale is always made — either you sell them on yes, or they sell you on no.
Is there one best way to close a sale? No, there are a zillion ways to close the sale. All you have to do is find the one that works best for you.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on sales and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JULY 2007