Written by Sean McPheat |
You had a great sales interaction: Both you and the prospect were calm and comfortable. You developed some rapport and the prospect showed some positive buying signals during the meeting.
However, when you presented your proposal it seems as though everything became silent, time began to slow down and tension filled the air as you anxiously waited for the prospect’s decision.
If that’s been your experience, maybe you need to review the sales closing questions you ask to drive the conversation on, professionally and with confidence.
Each will ease the tension and help you maintain the flow of your sales interaction as you begin to ask for the order.
This question is simple and helps the prospect understand that what you have just proposed is, at worst, reasonable. You are not asking, “Do we have a deal?” You are simply asking the buyer if what you have presented thus far seems right in a business sense.
“So, Susan, we are talking about three cases of our classic style blades and we will pick up the shipping cost, and as I mentioned, I am including a full year of maintenance at no charge. So, this gives you an entire year of worry-free operation for only £2,675. Does that make sense for your business?”
From there, simply assume the sale or address whatever issue the prospect feels does not make sense. For them or their business.
This second question is perfect for the customer who loves to negotiate. You know some prospects are going to insist on a lower price or higher value no matter what you first propose. This question considers this without challenging the prospect.
“So, this gives you an entire year of worry-free operation for only £2,675. Is that fair enough, Susan?”
The prospect’s answer will tell you whether you are required to look at ‘fair’ from a different perspective.
With this question, you want to point to the future of your business with the customer. The proposal on the table is but a stepping-stone to a broad and long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
“So, this gives you an entire year of worry-free operation for only £2,675. This will get us started Susan and take care of your immediate needs. Then, after a few months we can begin to look at a plan to outfit your whole plant— is that OK?”
This gives the prospect the chance to make a decision now and look at future prospects for the rest of the business. By highlighting what could be happening in the future, you open up opportunities for further discussions.
And here are 2 BONUS sales closing questions examples:
As you see, this is a statement rather than a question, but it serves the same purpose.
You determine what the benefits would be to the prospect if they agreed to go with your solution and then you introduce this ‘conditional clause’ to make the prospect realise when they would be receiving the benefits (saving money, making more profit, increasing productivity, etc)
“So, Susan, we’ve agreed that you would have worry-free operation for a whole year. If we get this sorted today, we can start saving you money from next week. Does that make business sense to you?”
Again, more of a statement first, but again it gives you the chance to recommend a solution for now and get the agreement of the prospect at the same time.
“Well, Susan, my recommendation is that you start with the three cases that we have been discussing, so you can see your overheads cut by 10% in the first quarter and continue those savings with our free maintenance in the first year. Does that sound good to you, too?’
You’ll notice that, by saying ‘too’ at the end of the question, you are showing that your recommendation already has a subliminal agreement with you, so it’s only natural that their business would benefit also.
How to close a sales deal is one of the most common topics I get asked.
When getting to the close, salespeople often start to feel nervous because they feel they may get a rejection or they are putting the buyer under some pressure.
So they hold back in asking for the order, or project a nervous attitude so the buyer wonders if they are really making the right decision.
Here are some tips that will help you when you get to this important point in the sale so you can then use your sales closing question of choice!
Don’t think of the sales close as a close!
This may sound strange, but if you consider this to be a ‘pressure-cooker’ type of environment, you won’t do it naturally
View the ‘close’ as a natural progression step in the sales process, and not a culmination of the sale.
The buyer is making a decision that could change their business, so it’s only natural they will want confirmation that their concerns have been covered first.
Instead, think of it as building the start of a relationship.
This means you consider asking for the order as a naturally next step in the development of a partnership with this buyer or their company
Have you answered all their questions?
Before moving to the close, consider if you have covered everything that the buyer has wanted.
Are there any more objections?
Are they happy with the pricing and payment structure?
Ensure you’ve covered everything first.
Ask some more Sales Questions to ensure that you’re both in a good place.
Confirm the benefits in the close.
People don’t buy products or services; they buy what your solution will do for them or their business
Confirm with the buyer what the future will look like after they have been using your solution.
It sounds something like ‘So, Mr Buyer, we’ve agreed that by using our new machine, your production costs will go down by x% hence saving you £xxx over the next three years’.
Get the buyer to agree with all of your conclusions about the future changes.
Only then will they be in the frame of mind to make a positive decision
Recognise that buyers buy on value, not on price.
If the value of your solution is greater than the price they have to pay, you are moving in the right direction
But don’t over-promise on the value simply to get the customer to say yes.
If you can’t deliver on that promise, you risk losing their trust and everything that goes with it
If necessary, introduce an air of urgency in the close.
This doesn’t involve tricks like ‘buy now or it will be gone’ or ‘this offer is only open for a few days’.
Those tactics lower your professionalism in the buyer’s eyes.
Instead, show them how much they can save by making a quicker decision, or how their productivity will increase when they make a decision
When closing the sale create options for the buyer to consider.
Options put the control in the buyer’s hands
Each of the options should be beneficial for the buyer so whatever one they choose will be a good reason for progressing to ‘yes’.
Giving options makes the buyer think ‘Which one should I choose?’ rather than ‘Should I say yes or no?’
Explain how each of the options will take their business forward. They can then see which option would be the best one to choose
When they are convinced of the best option, work with them to progress to making a commitment.
That way, the decision they have made is confirmed as the correct one
Describe what will happen next.
Confirm that the results they will get will endorse their decision as the correct one
Make it clear what the next stages are in the process.
Tell the buyer what will happen next so they understand what commitment they are making
Partner with the buyer, so they become your client.
This means identifying how to progress specifically with their business and showing them through your actions that they made the best possible decision to work with you and your company
Closing the sale doesn’t have to be arduous and difficult if you approach it as a natural step in the progress of the sale.
As the saying goes:
‘Don’t try and sell your products….just make it easy for the customer to buy’.
Try the closing statements I’ve covered within this article and see if there are improvements in your confidence and closing rates. If you would like to learn more, simply check out our Essential Selling Skills course or our Online Sales Training programmes.
Originally published: 18 June, 2020
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