Closing a sale is a critical stage in the sales process where you invite the client to make a decision – one that will decide if the sales department meets its target or not!
Ever been on the point of possibly buying an expensive new car and the salesperson’s over-eagerness has meant you walked away? The key to closing a sale successfully, therefore, is to keep in mind the client’s needs and put them first.
However, that can cause quite a dilemma! How can you do it while ensuring you meet your own sales quotas?
Before we talk about that, let’s discuss
- what closing a sale really is and
- what’s entailed in that process.
Closing a Sale – the FAQs
It’s the final stage of the sales cycle signified by the achievement of the desired outcome where a customer agrees to buy the product or service.
Warning – don’t be misled by a client who agrees with you just to get you off their back at that moment. They’ll revoke the purchase before paying!
When Should You Close a Sale?
Look for signs that show they agree with your solution and are excited about it. You’ll notice these when they
- start asking questions,
- are responsive to your questions,
- make eye contact,
- filter out distraction,
- make the time to hear you out, and
- object or push back – yes, objections are buying signs.
Warning – resist the temptation to skip parts of the sales process to get to this point!
How Do You Close a Sale?
There are several techniques that you can use to close a sale, and we’ll be discussing those in a minute. However, some qualities that have helped other salespersons to close include
- being impassive,
- not being afraid of rejection,
- asking the hard questions (final decision process, payment terms, etc.),
- handling their objections with sincerity and clarity,
- accepting feedback, and
- being empathetic to their clients/customers.
Warning – it’s easy to go too far in this direction and simply stretch out the sales process to no advantage, while hearing all about their last holiday!
What Are the Rules of Closing a Sale?
The general rule of thumb for closing a sale is to recognize opportunities and immediately grab them. Once you see an opportunity to close with a customer, help them take ownership and make a decision. Closing a sale is not something we “do” to someone, but rather something that comes to a natural conclusion with both sides working together for a winning outcome.
Warning – don’t procrastinate but don’t come over as pushy. Remember, clients like to buy, not be “sold to.”
Closing a Sale – Best Practices
There are several past and current methods of closing a sale that are successful. Depending on your business and how your prospect is responding, you may choose to try one or more of the following techniques.
1 Now-or-never close
This is a best practice that introduces a sense of urgency in a prospect. Maybe the rep makes an offer that includes a special benefit if you purchase NOW. For example, the salesperson implies that the product is the last one, or offers a one-day-only discount.
2 The summary close
This best practice involves the sales rep reiterating to the prospect all the benefits (not the features alone, note!) to emphasize the reasons they should buy that product or service from you. They then ask the prospect to close. However, when you summarize, be sure to use the points relevant to that prospect (put the client first!) to help them visualize what they’ll be getting. This is simply validating things you have both agreed would be of value to the client.
3 The assumptive close
For this closing best practice, the rep goes ahead and assumes that the sale is a given. They do this by using specific words and phrases that they hope will cause the prospect to make the related decision. Some questions a rep might ask could be: “How many products would you like to buy?” or “Does this meet your needs?” Many closed deals end in this assumptive way because it’s clear to both parties that the value derived by the client is clearly established through the sales process.
4 The soft close
With this best practice, you slowly introduce a prospect to the benefits and features with a low-impact campaign and questions to raise awareness. The aim is to get to know if they’ll be open for more. One example would be using email campaigns that aim at educating and entertaining customers while giving them options to choose to learn more.
There is a funnel but it’s deliberately intended to move the client more slowly. This can be really useful for high-ticket items.
5 The question close
A sales rep asks a series of probing questions to get the customer’s reaction and evoke desire in the customer – while subtly answering any objections likely to arise. When it comes to the final steps to closing a sale you can do so by asking a question that aims to bring out any concerns you feel may hinder a prospect from making that final decision. Having those questions or objections verbalized and answered is crucial to making the sale.
Tips for Closing a Sale Successfully and More Quickly
Qualify prospects for decision-making and buying authority
Your target customer is not always a decision maker when it comes to purchasing your product. When you’re qualifying a prospect, make you ask the right questions and gather information that will verify whether your prospect has a buying remit.
Demonstrate Your Solution
Your products should have the power to solve your customer pain points. Let them know how your solution solves their problems. Selling is about making your customers realize the personal and tangible benefits – both for themselves and their businesses – of using your product or services.
Create a Sense of Urgency
People act fast when there’s the so-called FOMO factor. Offer your customers something genuinely time-sensitive, especially when it’s something that they want. This may take the form of an end-of-month/quarter/year discount or a value-added throw-in. This may speed up their buying journey. Only do this for the right reasons and when you and the client still derive true mutual value. Discounts and promotions can become a crutch – tread smartly.
In sales, objections are more common than acceptance. Therefore, an effective salesperson makes sure they can answer any objection they might have to face from the prospects.
What Can Go Wrong With Closing a Sale? Avoid These Mistakes!
- When a prospect decides not to close, respect their decision and don’t overly persist with more probing questions. Remember we mentioned putting the client’s needs first? They may become your buyers in the future.
- Don’t waste time with prospects who can’t close because they’re not the decision makers or buyers in their business.
- Avoid speeding up the sales cycle and trying to close too early, rushing through the discovery stage, or undervaluing the prospect’s decision-making process by pushing them to close.
Adopting these best practices and tips and avoiding these errors is also how you square the problem we mentioned up top of putting the customer first while pragmatically ensuring you earn your target-related pay!
We Can Help Your Sales Process Work – Right Through to Closing a Sale.
Closing a sale is a journey. It also involves ethics and pragmatism in equal measure. And even with clear steps, techniques, and strategies, each journey with every customer will be different and demand a personalized closing technique.
At 360 Consulting, we live and breathe sales. If you think your sales closing needs refinement, schedule a free consultation with us today. One of our sales experts will happily help you find a closing process that works!