Closing The Sale

For you as a salesperson, everything you have done up to the point when you are involved in a face-to-face relationship is wasted motion unless you ask for the order.

But remember, asking for the order or closing the sale is not nearly as major an activity as some salespeople think it might be. This is particularly true if you have done the following five things successfully:

  1. You have gained positive rapport and acceptance.
  2. You have been in front of the right person at the right time with the right message.
  3. You have qualified the buyer correctly and presented the right solution to their problem.
  4. You have created sufficient value for your product or service.
  5. You have successfully completed every step of a sale.

But, the bottom line is still this. You have to ask your prospect to buy. You cannot make the buying decision for your prospect. But you can make the decision-making process easier.

Let’s take a look at some proven and tested techniques for making the buying decision easier for you and your prospect. Be sure to ask feedback questions throughout the interview. This simple concept allows you to move toward finalization of the transaction before you actually get there. By moving slowly forward the final step may be a small one.

When it comes to closing the sale, prospects exhibit buying signals. A buying signal is anything that the prospect says or does indicating that he or she is favorably disposed to your proposition. Buying signals can be either verbal or nonverbal. Verbal signals are statements such as:

  • “When can you get this to me?”
  • “What are some of the other colors that you have it in?”
  • “What kind of terms do you have?”
  • “Who handles the freight expense?”

Nonverbal signals are things that the prospect physically does:

  • They may lean forward
  • They may become less formal
  • They may bring someone else in to listen to what you have to say
  • They may pick up your product or service or a piece of literature about it and read it more closely

Prospects may actually start to run a computer or calculator to get a sense of what the numbers are. They may want to say something like this: “Who are some other people who have used your product or services?”

Hopefully you are now ready to ask for the order. Let’s talk about some ways to do that.

  • Ask them to buy right now. When you feel that the time is right simply ask your prospect for the order. Be cautious, though. The way you ask for an order can make it easier or more difficult for the prospect to make a buying decision.
  • Assume the sale. Many excellent salespeople are more comfortable assuming that the prospect has bought and immediately start handling the paperwork while asking the prospect questions about details. When they finish writing up the order they might ask: “Is there anything else we should include before we finalize the agreement?” If not, write the final terms on the agreement then hand the agreement and pen to your new customer.
  • The “either/or” close. This allows your prospect to have more options than yes or no. Here you should ask a question that lets the prospect choose between having it one way or another (i.e., “Do you like it best in the conventional style or would you rather have the newer model?”). One good way to lead into an either/or close is to summarize the benefits and state the price just before you ask the question.

The assumptive or the either/or close puts very little direct pressure on prospects. Neither one is heavy handed, manipulative, high pressure or pushy. The key is the feedback questions you will have been asking up to this point in order to let you know if your presentation has or hasn’t been on target.

How do you deal with people’s fears of making a decision? Often you will find that a prospect is sold on your product or service and feels comfortable with all the conditions of the purchase yet remains hesitant about making a buying decision. In such cases it is vital that you allow the prospect to proceed according to his/her own internal time clock. Never make a “thinking” prospect, for example, feel rushed.

If you are unable to find the major reason behind a prospect’s hesitancy, keep probing until you are able to pin down what the dominant hesitation is all about. Once you uncover a key issue this late in your sales process focus on the issue as precisely as possible. Use straightforward and honest questions like: “If it were not for the balloon note at the end of the lease agreement, would you be ready to go ahead with this?” If the prospect says “yes” end your questioning and negotiate a new set of conditions that are acceptable.