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Common Questions and Answers
When you’re new to sales, closing is one of the most difficult parts of the process. It’s the moment when you have to ask your prospect for a final answer — yes, or no? It’s very tempting at first to simply let the moment slide, or blurt out something about letting the prospect think about it and dash out the door. But the truth is that no matter how much they want to buy, few prospects will close themselves. If you don’t ask them to make a decision, they usually won’t.
Closing doesn’t have to be scary or confrontational. In fact, if you’ve done a good job during the first stages of the sales cycle, closing can be as simple as saying, “Sign here on the dotted line.” But if you haven’t managed to get wholehearted agreement from your prospect by the end of the presentation, you may need to give them a little nudge in order to secure the sale. Here are a few simple techniques you can use to bring your sales process to a successful conclusion.
The Assumptive Close
Assumptive closes are more a general closing strategy than a specific approach. The idea is to make a statement that assumes the prospect is going to buy from you. If he’s fairly sure he wants to buy but tempted to hedge off and “think it over,” an assumptive close can be just the nudge he needs to settle things now. Assumptive closes often come in the form of a question because if you can get your prospect to decide some minor detail about the purchase, it solidifies the idea that there will BE a purchase. Some sample assumptive closes would be:
– How many units do you need to get started?
-Would you prefer large or extra-large?
-This model comes in either black or titanium. I think the titanium would go better with your furniture, don’t you?
-If you order at least 100 units today I can give you a volume discount. Shall I put you down for 100 or will you need more?
The Custom-Fit Close
By the end of your sales presentation you’ve hopefully learned quite a lot about the prospect. You should be aware of at least one or two benefits that are really important to her. In the custom-fit close, you deploy that information in a way that clinches the sale. Basically you frame the decision in your own terms, those terms being the very things that the prospect has said she badly wants. For example, you might start out by saying:
“Ms. Prospect, as I understand it you’re looking for a checking account that will protect your money and keep it safe, and also won’t cost you anything. Is that correct?”
Once the prospect has agreed, you then say:
“Then our Super Checking account is perfect for you. It’s FDIC insured, so your money is protected by the federal government itself, and what’s more, there are no monthly fees on the account. If you have $50 to put into the account today, I can set the account up for you right now.”
The Limited-Time-Offer Close
This close will be familiar to anyone who listens to the radio, as radio ads often use this approach. The ad will mention a particularly low price “only for the next 50 callers who order this product.” Or they’ll offer a free gift with purchase, but only if you order within 24 hours. A time-limit close is a great motivator for prospects who like the product in principle but have a hard time making a commitment. If you don’t have a special discount or gift that you can offer “just until the end of the month,” you can still use this close by saying something like the following:
“Ms. Prospect, the model you’re interested in is one of our most popular products. In fact, we have a hard time keeping it in stock. Now I happen to know that we have a few units available now, but I can’t promise you they’ll still be there next week. Let’s get this order in the books now so that I can guarantee you’ll get the model you want.”
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.