It is flattering to imagine that you can sell in such a way that the customer ends up asking you for the business, rather than you needing to ask them. But people rarely bite immediately on hearing a pitch – you have to ask.
With the introduction of all the ‘new’ ways of selling especially in a hybrid environment some of the basic building blocks are being overlooked – leaving salespeople confused and ineffective.
A potential client recently told us how her people had become very skilled at networking within client accounts. They were ‘covering the bases’ and ‘mapping’ their accounts effectively. But they were not gaining commitment and she was concerned.
Closing Still Counts – 3 Ways to Close the Sale
There’s nothing magical about closing – it’s just about taking things forward. To help you increase your confidence and effectiveness at this crucial moment in the sales process, here are three simple approaches to closing that we cover in our latest sales training courses.
Keep in mind that it’s not important how exactly you ask for the business – so long as you do.
1. The next steps close
One of the simplest techniques is to talk about ‘next steps’. When you believe the customer is ready to buy, begin discussing implementation details:
- ‘What dates do you have in mind for this project?’
- ‘Who shall I coordinate with in your office?’
- ‘Who should our technical people speak to regarding installation of the new software?’
- ‘Who would you like to send on the September course?’
Once the customer joins you in discussing these details, the sale is effectively closed.
2. The direct close
This is a straightforward request for the business. It is uncomplicated and reflects the salesperson’s confidence in the solution. As always, it must only be used when you know you have a satisfactory match.
- ‘So there you are . . .Would you like to go ahead?’
This is an excellent close. There is no mystique – it’s clear, to the point, and everyone knows what the expected outcome is.
Virtual sales calls via Zoom/Teams are more and more the norm. A great close for these is to ask: ‘How would you like to go forward?’ It’s soft, easy to say and always sounds appropriate – perfect for today’s consultative-partner selling approach.
Here are some other examples of direct closes. Pick the ones you feel comfortable with and adapt them to your own business environment:
- ‘Shall I put you down for 10 units?’
- ‘Can I have your OK to start delivery next week?’
- ‘Can we install it for you right away?’
- ‘Can we call it a deal?’
- ‘How about it, can we go ahead right away?’
- ‘Will you give us your approval to go ahead?’
- ‘Can we have your order?’
3. The alternative close
This is a popular form of closing question for simple sales. We give the customer a choice between two alternatives: perhaps a choice of delivery date, of financial arrangements, product quantity or colour. The choice should be of a minor nature and both alternatives should be attractive to the customer. Her answer reflects her personal preference, and when she answers she has effectively committed herself to an order.
Here are some examples:
- ‘Would you like delivery this month or next?’
- ‘Would you prefer to invest in this outright or make use of our leasing arrangements?’
- ‘The laptop comes in two sizes 14 inch and 16 inch. They are both popular, which one would you prefer?’
- ‘Do you want to handle this by credit card or bank transfer?’
Tip: use the power of silence when closing the sale
After you ask for the business, keep quiet and wait for the other person to respond. Don’t be unnerved by a brief silence: it is natural for people to hesitate just before they buy, and a little tension-inducing silence at a critical moment can spur your customer to reply.
Obviously, if the silence extends for longer than ten seconds or so, you should probably be the one to speak: “I know this is a significant commitment. How about we go over the proposal again to make sure all of your requirements are covered?”
What’s your favourite close?
So there you have it: three ways to close the sale. What’s your favourite? Are there any others you find effective that we’ve missed? We would be delighted to hear from you! – Get in touch.
Read more about LDL sales training courses.
Watch this sales training video to learn how to use the tried-and-tested LACPAAC® selling model to close a sale which is stalled post-proposal.