Ah, the close. In it’s essence, the close is where the rubber meets the road. It’s the point in your sales pitch where you attempt to commit the customer to making a sale. Some people say it’s one of the most important elements of any sales presentation.
Very few people get sales without even asking. It’s a rare thing. It just doesn’t happen. In order to get business, you have to be a closer, and a damn good one at that. You have to know what to say and how to close even before the conversation begins. The entire pitch is going to be directed towards the close. Think of it as a good movie – the close is comparable to the climax, where the audience is most involved and most excited in the film. Without a climax, the film feels like a waste of time. Same with the close.
So, how exactly do you close? If you are starting out a new career in sales and have not mastered this yet, read on. Even if you have a successful career in sales and are a great closer, it always helps to have a refresher course.
What is the Exact Purpose of the Close?
The overall purpose of the close is to commit the customer to doing the action that you want them to do -whether it’s buying a good, buying a service, or completing a task. It’s not an easy thing to do, but those who can master the close are the salespeople who are always on top of the performance charts and who are making the most money.
When do I Close?
The exact timing of the close can be somewhat of a moving target. It depends on your presentation style and what you are selling. Ideally, after you are done explaining the features and benefits of the product/service, you should describe why the product/service is perfect for that individual customer. After that should come the first close.
I say “first close” because unless the customer says yes right away, you will have to overcome some objections, then close again.
What are some Basic Closing Techniques?
Alright, so we have the purpose and timing of the close laid out. Now, we need to identify some basic closing techniques (BCTs – yes, we invented an acronym!).
There are different closing methods to use that are proven to psychologically commit the customer to a purchase. When the time comes, you can’t just blurt out “So, y’all wanna buy it?!”. Ideally, you should be using at least one proven closing method. Without further ado, here are some of the most popular ones that have proven to be successful.
The assumptive close is a method where, you guessed it, you assume the sale. You assume that the customer will say yes and proceed as such.
Here is an example:
“Mr. Smith, this looks like it would meet your needs perfectly while saving you the money that you wanted. I can go ahead and place that order today and have it shipped to you by the weekend.”
I only use this one when I have great rapport with the customer and everything has gone extremely smooth during the whole presentation. If I feel that they are genuinely interested and that they really believe that it will work for them, I’ll use this. The drawback here is that it’s easy to say “no” to, so that’s why you should only use this if you feel it’s a done deal already.
The choice close is where you present the customer with two alternatives and make them choose one. Ideally, you should limit the choices to two with a maximum of three. Any more choices and the customer will get overwhelmed and shut down. I always limit mine to two choices and will present a third choice if the previous two don’t fit the customer’s needs.
“Mr. Smith, I want to give you exactly what you are looking for. Based on what you told me, I only have product A and product B that fits your needs specifically while keeping you at budget. Which one works best for you?”
Psychologically, you are telling the customer that you only have two products to meet their needs and making them choose one. If you present a choice, they are less likely to say “no”, because you did not present that as a choice. It’s a little psychology judo method, but it works.
Conversational Questions Close
This method is rarely used because it basically invites the customer to place an objection. Unless you are great at handling objections, I would stay away from this one. However, if done properly, it can work wonders.
“So, Mr. Smith, is there any reason why we can’t go ahead and place this order for you?”
Another psychological trick – most people are primed to say “no” to a sale. By wording it like this, a “no” actually means a “yes”. Again, this invites people to present objections, so this should only be done if you know those objections ahead of time and how exactly to handle them.
What Should I Stay Away From?
There are some methods that I would try to stay away from. These usually result in weak sales that kick on you, result in a firm “no”, or just confuse the customer.
This is where you present a lot of different options to a customer. Basically, it’s the choice close done incorrectly.
“Mr Smith, product A and product B would work well, but also, product C and F seem to make people happy, while product Z ultimately saves money…”
You might think that you are giving enough options so they can find something for them, but in reality, it’s confusing and too much for a customer to take in at once.
This is where you basically get a customer to buy on the stipulation that they can cancel or back-out if they want. This just comes off as desperate. If you have to do this, the customer is not really sold and will usually return the product.
“Mr. Smith, If I were you, I’d buy this. Bear in mind that you can cancel the order within 10 days, so why don’t you just sign here and sleep on it?”
Inviting people to cancel and just praying that they don’t is never a good idea.
Other Tips and Tricks
Here are some little things to remember while closing:
- Come from a position of authority, not desperation.
- Project confidence in your tone of voice and body language.
- Try to employ the Fear of Missing Out element.
- Try to insert urgency in the close so they don’t decide to “think about it”
- After you present you closing statement/question, SHUT UP AND WAIT FOR A RESPONSE!
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