How to Be Ready When It’s Time to Close

The actual closing of the sale is by far the most important step in the selling process. That’s why it’s critical that you know how to be ready when it’s time to close. Without that final commitment, you haven’t sold anything, have you? When you’re a pro, closing should be the most natural part of the process. Everything else you do leads to that point.

I teach lots of techniques for prospecting, meeting people, qualifying, presenting, demonstrating, and addressing concerns—and they’re all important. But, unless you can close, you’re like a football team that ca4.1.1n’t sustain a drive long enough to score.

The biggest complaint I hear from most salespeople is that they don’t know when to start closing. Those people just don’t understand the simple fact that a true Champion salesperson is closing all the time. He or she is constantly trying test closes and will go into the final closing sequence anytime they sniff the sweet smell of success (such as when they hear the client start talking as if they already own the product or when the client relaxes his or her body language or even when they begin asking more questions).

The problem with too many salespeople is they get so wrapped up in the steps in their selling sequence that if the prospect wants to go ahead with the purchase before they’re finished presenting, they lose their momentum and go tripping awkwardly into the close, which can cause tension and make the buyer hesitate or decide to re-think their decision.Believe it or not, there are buyers out there who will get sold fast. If you keep talking instead of closing, you’ll run the risk of un-selling them just as fast. So, during every step of the selling cycle, you must keep one eye on the prospect at all times watching for cues as to their readiness to go ahead.

Okay. They’re ready. Where are your closing materials?

To become a top professional in selling, you must always have your closing materials with you. You must be ready to close anywhere and at any time. I’m sure you’ve heard of sales being closed at lunch, on the golf course, or at the health club. I even have a student who closed a sale in a barn while the farmer was milking cows.

The salespeople who closed those sales and kept them closed were ready, willing, and able when the client was. They were able to change gears and move to their paperwork smoothly. The salespeople who lost those sales didn’t have their closing materials, or tried to manipulate the ideal closing setting and the client cooled off by the time they were ready to take the order.

Why make things so hard on yourself? A supply of closing materials should take up permanent residence in your briefcase, club locker, car trunk, home and office desk. Keep these forms handy everywhere you go.

Careful thought must be given to the how and when you’ll produce your closing materials. Many prospects will tighten up and try to change gears if they see you pulling out forms or reaching for your tablet. Don’t risk upsetting the emotional balance that’s tipped in your favor. Keep a clean, crisp form under a few pages of your presentation binder, notebook, or time planner at all times. It will be easily accessible and not require a lot of motion on your part to get it out. Nothing should distract your attention from the client’s every word or movement when you can see that they’re ready to close.

If at all possible, get into the habit of writing brief notes during every presentation. Your prospect will get used to seeing you writing and not be put off when you begin writing on the actual agreement.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Negotiation as Part of Selling

Some salespeople believe that selling is pretty much a black and white proposition. They qualify and present their solutions. If the buyers don’t say “yes,” they assume there’s no sale. They don’t even consider or prepare for negotiation as part of selling.

NegotiationNegotiation is a huge part of the sales process. Negotiation points should be included in your preparation for every sales presentation. Lack of agreement on the terms of a sale kills more sales than having a solution that’s not good enough. The key is to come up with negotiation points that will win you business, and be acceptable to your company.

Many companies provide their sales teams with negotiable points and specific parameters for each of those points. If your company provides that, excellent! Hopefully, you understand all the points and are using them effectively in closing sales.

If your company does not provide negotiable points, it might be wise to draft up a list of possibilities and present them to appropriate people there. Doing so may increase your flexibility in closing more sales.

Here are some examples of points that might be negotiable:

  • Are there fees for added options that might be dismissed if buyers “invest” in-full, up front?
  • Are there various levels of service available such as in-person phone support versus online support-only? Perhaps your buyers could start with something that’s more economical and work their way up to the ideal service you presented to them.
  • Are there discounts for cash? Credit? Financing?
  • Would a deposit today allow a buyer to get your product at today’s investment six months from now?
  • Can you adjust the length or level of warranties?
  • Does your company offer guaranteed delivery by a specific date when investments are made today.
  • What about an automatic extended warranty when deluxe models are purchased
  • Are shipping fees negotiation for purchases made before the end of the current month?
  • Could you offer an extra month of service when the agreement is made today?

It is advantageous to make a long list of points you might use to negotiate because you never know when one of those points will come in handy. The great news is that from your long list of negotiation points, you will discover that two or three of them are most important to your company, and you in closing bigger or better accounts.

To learn more about how to negotiate in the sales environment, read When Buyers Say No, by Tom Hopkins and Ben Katt, releasing April 1. Note: We match Amazon “investments” for books.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. and Tigran LLC.

Overcome Buyers’ Remorse

Fear in Real EstateIf you plan on making a career out of selling, you will need to understand and learn how to overcome buyers’ remorse. It’s as natural a part of selling as nearly any other objection or concern.

In some cases, it’s helpful to bring up the potential for an after-the-sale concern early in your presentation. Then, as you give your presentation, you can disable that concern. You may think that’s a risky way of selling, but for some people and some products it’s quite effective.

What causes buyers’ remorse?

  1. Fear that the money spent on your product or service is gone (the fear of loss is stronger than the happiness of gaining the benefits of ownership).
  2. Receiving negative feedback from others when telling of the new purchase such as from friends or relatives.
  3. Logically analyzing the decision — when we all know that purchases are ultimately emotional decisions.

It’s your job to make the new product more valuable to the buyer than keeping the money they invest in it. Actually, that’s your primary job in this wonderful world of selling.

When buyers aren’t confident enough in their decision to stand up to the criticism of others, you may have to re-sell them on the product and the fact that they have different needs and desires than others. As much as people say they want to be individuals, we are all deeply influenced by the opinions of others and want to fit in–somewhere.

When logic is the culprit in the development of buyers’ remorse, you will need to work on strengthening their emotional commitment to the benefits of your product or service–what they get from it; how it makes them feel; how it makes their lives better, easier or safer.

Here are some words to help you understand how you might address a potential case of buyers’ remorse:

You: I can tell that you are excited about your decision to  own this new 72″ TV. It seems that you’re both excited and somewhat relieved to have finally made the decision to receive hours of enjoyment from it.

Them: Oh, yeah. I’m especially looking forward to having friends over to watch the playoffs.

You: That’s great! (pause) You know, from time to time I’ve known people just like you who were so positive about the decision they made until they shared it with a friend or relative. The well-meaning friends or relatives, not understanding all the facts and maybe even being a little envious, responded negatively to the decision. I hope that won’t happen to you and that you’ll be prepared for people who might be jealous of you. Obviously, you’ve done your homework about this and are confident in your decision.

This little bit of preparation and reinforcement about the decision can go a long way to keeping the sale closed and any second-guessing to a minimum.

Note – If there really is a valid potential reason for your buyer to change his or her mind, such as a roommate or spouse who might be very unhappy with the new purchase (even though they assured you during qualification that there was no one else to consult about the decision), you want to learn about it before they take delivery of the product. That way you might be able to help the buyer come up with a reasonable alternative and still make a sale.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Low Profile Selling

35312closed saleWhat do salespeople really do when they close sales?

When I wrote the book Low Profile Selling, I wanted to get away from the term “closing” because it’s considered by some as too hard-sell. So, I decided to use the word “consummate” instead. In the dictionary, the word “consummate” means “perfect ending.” I like the sound of that and the image it brings to mind. It’s the perfect ending. Everyone is happy. The new client is happy with the benefits they’ll receive. You’re happy because you now have a new client. Your manager will be happy because you moved product. Everyone is happy. [Read more…]

Close Sales with Leading Questions

Close Sales with Leading QuestionsWhat are Leading Questions

Leading questions are questions that help you steer the conversation to the information that helps you determine if your product is right for your client — these questions guide and convince. Most sales people are tempted to tell their buyers what to believe instead of asking questions that allow the buyers to come up with their own beliefs about the product. The difference is subtle but important.

Here are some examples:

By asking questions rather than spewing facts, figures and details about your products you will engage buyers rather than pushing them away. Gently lead and guide buyers toward your way of thinking by making statements regarding your product or service, then tying them down with tie-down questions such as “isn’t it?” “don’t you agree>” and “wouldn’t you?”

  • The particular shade of blue in this fabric highlights the other colors you’ve chosen, doesn’t it?
  • The latest safety features are vital when considering putting your teen driver behind the wheel on his own, aren’t they?
  • Having a solid financial plan is a wise move when you have a young family to take care of, don’t you agree?

Think about the answers you need to determine if your buyer is qualified to own your product and then craft the questions that will lead the discussion in that direction. No one likes to be asked questions that they don’t know the answers to. Make your buyers feel important and intelligent for speaking with you and you will turn more of them into satisfied clients.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

Wordpress HTMAS audio

Closing the Sale Doesn’t Have to Create Conflict by Weldon Long

Zig Ziglar once wrote that if you can’t close, you are just a brilliant conversationalist. I would add to that if you can’t close, you are just an unpaid consultant.

Closing does not have to include conflict, stress or beating your prospect into submission. If you have extended yourself emotionally and professionally to your prospect and laid all the appropriate groundwork in the early stages of the sales process, closing will be a natural part of the conversation.

It’s just like the dynamic of a man and a woman dating, which we discussed in a previous chapter. If you rush things at the beginning you’ll scare off your date. But if you take your time, show genuine interest and focus on building the relationship there will come a time when there is an expectation of a commitment.

If you have made the investment to serve your prospect, there will come a time when there is an expectation that you will ask for a commitment – you will close the deal. That does not mean the answer will always be yes, it just means there will come a point when it seems natural to bring the conversation to a conclusion – one way or the other. And remember, yes is best but no is a perfectly acceptable answer.

In the old days of selling, it was about the “ABC’s” – Always Be Closing (Think Glengarry Glen Ross. How can we forget “coffee is for…CLOSERS!”). The basic strategy was to spend 10% of your time acting like you were interested in your prospect, and then 90% of your time closing, closing, closing.

I prefer to do just the opposite. I recommend investing 90% of your time and energy into serving and you’ll find yourself spending only 10% of your time and energy closing.

This does not mean you can ask for the order one time and give up.

Remember human nature dictates that when given the choice of spending money today or spending it next Tuesday, we will choose next Tuesday. It is critical to know that even if your prospect likes you; even if your prospect loves your company; even if your prospect wants and needs your product and service; even if your prospect thinks the price is fair and that your offer has tremendous value, he would still prefer to postpone spending his money. It’s in our DNA.

So even though closing is less conflicted if you have done your job up front, you will still need to ask for the order several times.

Listen, most of us have learned everything we need to know about closing from our children. When children want something from you it is, indeed, a lesson in persistence and closing to behold. It’s a thing of beauty when you can step back and analyze it without wanting to strangle your child. They are relentless. They are focused. And they are often successful.

It’s not that you don’t want your child to have Lucky Charms. It’s not that you don’t love your children. And it’s not that you can’t afford Lucky Charms. It is simply a matter of not wanting someone else telling you how and when to spend your money.

So it goes with your prospect. They can love you and your company, want and need your product and service, have the money to afford it and believe it’s a great value, yet they will have a tendency to say “no” just because it’s there money and they will spend it how and when they darn well please.

So, you may have to ask a few times before your prospect says “yes”. If you ask several times and they say “no”, that’s okay too. The only answer that will destroy your income and sales career is “I don’t know. Call me on Tuesday.” No is a perfectly acceptable answer. Tuesday never comes.

What to Say When You Hear “I want to think it over”

If you’ve been in sales for more than five minutes, you’ve heard this from a buyer: “I’ll think about it” or “I want to think it over.” It’s almost as natural to them as saying, “No, thanks. Just looking” when asked “May I help you?” Why do they say it so often? Because with average salespeople it works. It stops them dead in their tracks.

But, I know that you don’t want to be average. You have set your sights on being a champion salesperson. Your aim is to serve more clients than the average salesperson. So, you learn and prepare yourself to overcome the most common objections.

So, let me give you the answer you’ve been waiting for. Whenever you hear a buyer say, “I want to think it over,” “We’ll sleep on it,” or “We’ll get back to you,” it’s very likely that they like what you’re offering and are feeling compelled to own it. These stalls are just their way of slowing down that buying momentum because they’re a little afraid to part with their hard-earned money. [Read more…]

The “I can get it cheaper” Close

Even if you’re brand new to selling, you will have likely hear this one from clients. Nearly all of them say it. Some may use differenet forms such as wanting to shop around or look for a better bargain but it means the same thing. It’s nothing more than a little sign of fear on the part of the buyer.

Their fear is twofold. One fear is that they’re making a bad decision. The other is that they will part with too much of their money for what they’re gaining in benefits. Either way, they’re telling you that they do want your product. Your job is to calm those emotional fears and help them to rationalize the decision. [Read more…]

The Similar Situation Sales Close

sales clsoeThe Similar Situation Sales Close

Relating a story of someone else who was in a similar situation as the future client is always effective because the client will identify with that person. Tell the future client about someone who procrastinated and wished he/she hadn’t or conversely, someone who didn’t procrastinate and received tremendous benefit from making an immediate buying decision.

Phraseology: “You know, about a month ago, I had a client facing a decision similar to the one you’re considering today. He went ahead with our comprehensive medical plan and had a need to use it just last week. The situation was unfortunate; however, his burden would have been doubled had he not gone ahead with the insurance.”

To read all of my closes, get a copy of Sales Closing for Dummies. To listen to them delivered and learn how to write your own, listen to my audio titled, Academy of Master Closing — available in both CD and MP3.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

The Oblique Comparison Close

When your potential clients say something just costs too much, it’s often just a stall. However, it’s a good sign because it means they’re feeling motivated to own your product or service. (They didn’t say, “it’s not right for us” or “we don’t want it.”) They now need your help to justify or rationalize going ahead.

Your first move is to use the Reduction to the Ridiculous close (in the June issue) to get them thinking about the smallest amount of money that’s holding them back. If the fact that the amount is kind of ridiculous doesn’t overcome their concern, your next step is to us the Oblique Comparison Close. It is simply a strategy where you compare that small daily or hourly amount to something they might consider doing or giving up that costs the same amount in order to gain the benefits of your product.

The phraseology might sound something like this, “John and Mary, you seem to really want this new living room suite. With the investment being only $2.25 per day more than you had originally hoped, what do you think you could do to come up with that extra amount? Think about how you spend your money on a daily basis. What might you be willing to give up in order to have these beautiful pieces in your living room?”

Chances are good that if you’re talking with a couple, one of them will pick on another’s bad coffee habit or waste of gasoline running oddball errands instead of grouping them together. Or, they may just decide to cut back on their consumption of soda or sweets. It doesn’t matter how they do it, what matters is that they are the ones talking themselves into owning the furniture at this point. Your work is done…all except the paperwork.

To read all of my closes, get a copy of Sales Closing for Dummies. To listen to them delivered and learn how to write your own, listen to my audio titled, Academy of Master Closing — available in both CD and MP3.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).