Three Steps to Closing any Sales
Each product and service is different, each situation is different and each customer is different, so each close is going to be different. There are some guidelines however, that will be of assistance in the process of closing. The basic close comprises of three separate steps:
• Watch for buying signals
• Summarise the benefits
• Ask for the business
Let’s look at them one at a time
Step 1 – Buying Signals
“There is a certain tenseness, a certain electricity in the air when they are ready.” Tom Hopkins
I like that quote because it sums up that feeling you get when you know it’s time to close the sale. It is hard to explain but it is there nonetheless. If you are not sure about this there are some other, more tangible, signs you can look for.
You know it is time to close:
- – When they start to ask lots of questions.
- – When they talk about how it would be when they own one.
- – When they grunt agreeably.
- – When they smile or make eye contact.
- – If you are selling to a husband and wife, when they get more affectionate (with each other!)
- – When they want to see the demo again.
- – When they use positive body language signals.
- – Leaning forward in their chair.
- – Unfolding their arms or uncrossing their legs.
- – When they stop thinking positively, (Chin stroking with their head to one side) and bring their head down to look you in the eye.
- – Smiling or nodding.
- – When they say “Will you go over that one more time?”
This is not a complete list of buying signals and you have probably noticed others in your work. Watch for them and you will get better at knowing exactly when to close.
Step 2 – Summarise the Benefits
This depends very much on your product or service but it is good advice to try and remind the customer of all the very good reasons why he wants the product before you ask him for the order. It doesn’t have to take long.
Okay Mr. Customer, just to make sure I’ve got it all correct. You are interested in the X Series with the sunroof to take advantage of our long hot summers, air-conditioning to ensure that you arrive at business meetings cool and calm, MP3 player so that you can play your complete Beatles collection on those long journeys, and in green to match your tie. If you would just like to sign here.
We have agreed that this new range of cleaning materials will be easier for your staff to use saving on training time, provide higher standards of cleanliness which will keep your customers happy and reduce your cleaning costs by at least 25%. Would you like delivery on Thursday or would Friday be better?
When you summarise the benefits it is useful to use the words “We have agreed”. This tells the customer that this is not new stuff but items that you have already reached agreement on. You will also notice in the two examples above that I have not just told the customer about the feature (MP3 player for instance) but also how the customer will benefit from that feature ( “so that you can play your complete Beatles collection on those long journeys.”)
[bctt tweet=”75% of sales people say the Alternative Close works best.” username=”richardmulvey”]
Step 3 – Ask for the Business
There are many different approaches to the final close question but when the top UK sales people were asked which type of closing question was most effective 75% of them said that the alternative close worked best for them.
It seems that customers are happy to listen to the sales person and agree on the minor issues but when it comes to the Big Question they start to get second thoughts. The beauty of the alternative close question is that it focuses on a choice between a couple of minor issues rather than the big issue of whether to buy or not. The customer then makes a minor decision making the big decision irrelevant.
The Alternative Question Close
- – Will you be paying cash now or do you want me to invoice the company?
- – Do you require delivery on Tuesday or would Thursday be better?
- – Would you like it in blue or red?
- – Will you take the diamonds or the sapphires?
- – Would you like the handle on the top or the side?
- – Will you be taking it in the 25 or the 50 Litre drums?
As this is the most successful type of closing question I would recommend that you take some time and list a few alternative close questions that would work in your business. Once you have them written down, practise them.