Business Productivity Close

business productivity

Business productivity is a great topic to include in your sales presentations. Who doesn’t want their staff members to  be more productive? With some products such as software, increasing productivity is a given–after the learning curve has been completed with training. However, with other products, it may not be so obvious that they’ll positively impact the productivity level of the company.

When you’re marketing products or services to businesses, the decision-maker’s main concern is always going to be the bottom line and whether your product or service makes or saves them money. If your product does not clearly and specifically make or save businesses money, the business-productivity close can help decision-makers view your product from a different perspective — that of having greater job satisfaction among their employees. I developed the business productivity close for products such as company-provided health insurance, retirement programs, and other benefits. It’s also a good one to use with office equipment, fleet vehicles–anything the staff members will use in the course of their jobs.

Here’s a sample of what you might say: Ms. Decision-maker, what I am offering is not just an outstanding product and great service. When you own/implement ________, you’ll also see a boost in employee morale. Haven’t you noticed that anything new increases job interest and excitement in your employees? Excitement increases morale. And, increased morale improves productivity. So, I guess what I’m asking you to consider is, what is an increase in productivity worth to you? 

What happens when you say those words is that the decision-maker starts envisioning their employees with more smiles on their faces, a little lift in their steps, and a general raise in the level of the entire company’s energy for getting things accomplished. Work on including a reference to business productivity in your sales presentations. You’ll be glad you did.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Automotive: The Profile of a Top Sales Person

If you’re not already the top sales person in your company, you may have some pre-conceived notions about what that person is like. When you hear the phrase, “Closing the Sale,” what comes to mind? Aggressive? Intimidating?  Persuasive? I feel “Closing the Sale” is helping people make decisions that are good for them.  The key words here are “good for them.” If you plan to be in the automotive business any length of time, you’d better get a handle on that point or your career will dead-end quicker than you can say, “lickety-split.”

We have a tendency to think that everybody closes sales in the same manner. This is not so. In fact, many salespeople who close sales are not even sure how they do it. Some earn tremendous incomes and can’t really pinpoint why they are so successful. I’ve visited with top salespeople in many fields and I’ve asked them, “Tell me how you close the sale?” They’ve replied, “Well, I just do,” or “It just happens.” That’s not true, but they’ve never sat down and analyzed what it is they do that has made them so successful.

I’m going to outline some tactics and strategies that have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to work for everyone when you adapt them to your personality, when you adapt them to the way you speak, and to your style of delivery.

The profile of great closing sales people

The very first thing is they have committed themselves to become students of techniques. What does that mean? It means they commit to selling and make it a part of their lives so that every day they are students. They constantly search for new techniques by attending seminars, reading books, listening to audio programs and then striving to incorporate at least one new technique or concept they have learned into each selling situation.

Another part of closing sales is that you must have the ability to get people to like you and trust you. If they like you and trust you, they won’t fight the sales process. However, if they don’t like you and trust you, not only will the strategies not work, they’ll backfire and your clients will feel you are getting pushy. Radiate empathy, but also have the ability to call for a decision and close the sale.

Top salespeople have confidence. Have you ever lacked confidence? Have you ever been wary of meeting new people? Sure! Everyone has. We overcome this by learning certain phrases, learning to ask the right questions and by doing this we can build our confidence–just by using the words and making them our own.

Do you know what the greatest closing tool of all is? It’s one word and that word is Enthusiasm–enthusiasm for what you do. I don’t mean the type of enthusiasm that is outward, bubbly, ranting and raving–but the enthusiasm that you have inside that people feel you have for your industry, your product and your career.

To build your enthusiasm, commit to living by the four P’s.

  • The first one is Preplan. Preplan every presentation.  Before you meet your clients, preplan. Before you demonstrate a vehicle, preplan. Before you handle an ad call, preplan. All professionals preplan–they don’t wing it! They don’t just get in front of a qualified decision-maker and start talking.  They know exactly where they are going and have their strategies and techniques planned out in advance.
  • The second P is Practice. What were all of us taught? Practice makes perfect. I’d like to change that to Perfect practice makes Perfect. There are many people who practice what doesn’t work.  They watch an incompetent salesperson, not recognizing the incompetence, and they start doing the same thing. The key is to find a professional who has done what you want to do, set your goal to practice what he or she does and then perfect it.
  • You must always work to Perfect what you do. If ever you feel you know it all, you are in trouble.  The more you know, the more you need to know. It’s just like your income. As you sell more vehicles and therefore, increase your income and expand your clientele, you’re going to need to increase your knowledge level. Remember, there is always a better way of saying it–and a better way of doing it. Don’t allow yourself to plateau.
  • The fourth P is Performance. You are putting on a performance with every client contact. This doesn’t mean you are phony. It means you are saying the right words the right way to get the end result that is in the best interest of your clients. So, when you talk on the phone, when you meet people in the showroom, when you go on a test drive, it’s a performance. Everything you say and do is part of your performance.

Become a student of selling, study the four P’s I have listed above. Watch what the top people in your dealership are doing, and search for new techniques and you’ll start closing more sales!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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.

How to Sell to Couples

In consumer sales, you will often have the opportunity to sell to couples the opportunity of owning your product or service. In many cases, they will close each other on the sale. That’s my favorite time! When one or the other spouse is favorable to the decision, don’t jump right in to close. Wait to see how they work through the decision.

There will, however, more likely be  times when they’ll both sit on the fence. When that happens, I suggest trying The Best Things in Life Close. What you do when using this close is to compare this buying decision to other decisions they have made and have been happy with. It’s especially helpful when they’ve admitted they want the product, but they’re just struggling with saying “yes.”

Here’s what I recommend you say: “Isn’t it true that the only time you have ever really benefited from anything in your life has been when you said ‘yes’ instead of ‘no?’ You said ‘yes’ to your marriage (optional — and I can see how happy you are). You said ‘yes’ to your job, your home, your car — all the things that I’m sure you truly enjoy. You see, when you say ‘yes’ to me, it’s not really me you are saying ‘yes’ to, but all of the benefits that we offer. Those are the things you really want for your family, aren’t they?”

Of course, you would not use the optional phrase of “and I can see how happy you are” if the air is charged with disagreement. However, if they do come across as a happy couple…a united front, give it a try. These words have been proven to change the mood of the sale quickly and help buyers say ‘yes.’

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.

After buyers say no

There can be an awkward moment when buyers say no after you’ve asked your closing question. The sales process has been sailing along smoothly with you asking good questions and the buyers giving good answers. Based on their answers, you’ve guided them to just the right product for their needs. Their no feels like you’ve just run into a stop sign that was planted in the middle of the road.

Several things may have just happened: [Read more…]

The Money or Nothing Sales Close

Credit CardOf all the sales closing questions I teach, the “Money or Nothing” sales close works well with long term purchases. By that I mean, that they will enjoy the benefits of the purchase for a long time. These would be for things such as homes, furniture, special vacations, education, vehicles, and so on.

The point of the close is to increase the value of gaining the benefits beyond the perceived value onto the money the buyer would exchange for those benefits. As with all selling and closing strategies, sincerity is critical. You must first truly believe, based on your conversations with the buyer, that your product is good for them. You also must have received some positive feedback from them. They may just be hesitant to make the commitment.

Here is an example of how to help them perceive the value of the benefits as greater than their money:

Carol, from what you’ve told me, you are excited about the benefits you will gain from this product. (Do a brief benefit summary here to build their emotions toward the purchase.) Nearly everything we purchase seems to depreciate in value, doesn’t it? Because of that, we all have to consider the same point when making purchasing decisions. The primary consideration is: Do we want to retain our money, and potentially watch it depreciate in value or do we want to invest some of it now for things we  would enjoy long term?

When you’ve done everything else right leading up to this point: establishing rapport, qualifying, presenting and addressing specific concerns, and determine that you have a good solution for their needs, it becomes your obligation to ask for the business (aka close the sale) in order for them to gain those benefits.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Learn more ways to ask for the business than clients know how to refuse >>

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…]

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.