The concept of closing is a regular discussion with our B2B and B2C sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto. While all Salespeople, Sales Managers and Business Owners want to close sales and move revenues higher, the use of closing techniques can actually backfire in many sales situations. Here’s why.
The typical sales scenario has a Salesperson asking a decision maker a few surface level questions to get a basic understanding of his or her needs. The moment a need arises, the Salesperson draws attention to a specific product or service that was designed for that purpose and out it comes – a sales closing technique.
A Few Common Sales Closing Techniques
Do you feel that the product meets your needs?
If this was a good decision, you would want it to make it today, wouldn’t you?
Lots of customers have inquired about that product, and we have a very limited stock. Would you like to put a deposit on it?
Of course you can think about it, but I can’t guarantee that it will be available tomorrow.
It’s on sale today and we seldom are given any advance notice of new pricing.
What would it take to get a yes answer today?
Closing Techniques Often Fail
Closing techniques are used to get you to make an immediate sales commitment. I would love to tell you that the sales industry no longer uses hard-sell closing techniques but that simply would not be true. Buyers often shudder when hearing a closing technique and immediately do their best to leave the situation. One of two things may occur:
- The buyer attempts to distance themselves from the relationship. They no longer want to share information with the Salesperson because of lack of trust. Any rapport and confidence that had been built is now gone. The decision maker is made to feel that any answers provided will simply be used to attempt to close the sale.
- The customer may actually physically leave the setting. For a sale to occur, the buyer needs to buy YOU first. The closing technique has backfired and now the decision maker has no desire to even consider the product, regardless of suitability and price. This usually results in another Salesperson making a quick sale if there’s a sense of urgency to want to make a purchase. In this case, the buyer has chosen to give someone else the business because of such a bad impression.
The True Facts on Sales Closing Techniques
- In 30 years of working with Salespeople, I have yet to meet one who liked closing. Most Salespeople do it because of company philosophy, a Sales Manager’s direction or previous experience.
- Pressuring people to make a decision has never been the basis of creating strong relationships.
- Strong, trusted relationships have always been the #1 reason that decision makers make a purchase, repeat a buy, and make referrals to family and friends.
- A strong sense of urgency to buy from the customer coupled with the fear of loss always results in a sale. Here’s the formula: Strong sense of urgency to take action + the fear of buying the wrong product = A Sale!
The Alternative to Sales Closing Techniques
Stop focusing on your need to make a sale and put the customer first – ALWAYS. Problem solving comes before solution selling. The best way to find the decision maker’s needs is by asking great questions. People love to talk about themselves if they trust that you have their best interests at heart. Go beyond surface level needs and ask the questions that get buyers to open up and talk about their close-to-the-heart needs.
Build a relationship with them and fight the urge to immediately suggest solutions. It takes time for buyers to erase the image of their last bad experience with a Salesperson. Dig deep to find out about their world from their perspective.
The Turning Point
If you’ve done a great job of asking great questions and actively listening, there will be a turning point in your relationship with a new potential buyer. It’s the moment they ask you questions. This is your sign that they are engaged in the process. You passed the first test and now the decision maker is in the consideration phase of evaluating your product or service.
Use this sales technique and you will eventually find yourself building up a sense of sales intuition. It’s almost like a sixth sense of knowing when a customer shows a strong sense of being interested based on their level of engagement. Experienced sales veterans have an uncanny ability to use sales intuition to know when to ask high trust questions. They also know how to identify the buying signals of customers because their questions are usually time, delivery or payment based.
Customer Buying Signals
When could we expect delivery or when could I start?
What payment options do you have?
How many items like this do you have in stock?
How negotiable is the price?
When your buyer is asking these types of questions, they are giving you a clear signal that they are close to making a purchasing decision. Instead of using a premature closing technique, allow customers to evaluate you and your product and build a trusted relationship first. They may very well close themselves.
One last thought
Once you’ve done all this, there does come a time that you may have to ask for the sale. Look the customer in the eye, smile and ask them how they feel about the product or service. You’ve now earned the right to ask for the business.
Building strong relationships and making more sales is the basis of our upcoming online sales training program – The Sales Skills Incubator. It will be released in September. If you’d like more information on it, subscribe to THE PROSALESGUY BLOG. Our readers will be given a sample of it with an introductory launch price. If you’d like to know more about it, please send us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY