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Common Questions and Answers
If you have qualified, spoken to, met and pitched to a lead, you have to be confident a deal can be done. Not every attempted sale can be closed, but missing out on genuine opportunities is unforgivable. Your competition is only a flurry of key presses away and if you pass up on chances to press home your offer, you may not get another.
As already mentioned, effective closing comes down to the identification of buying signals, making appropriate approaches and timing them correctly. While each stage of the sales journey will require a micro close, such as a nod from a decision maker or a proposal request, it is following your pitch that closing becomes increasingly important.
Defining a Close
You need to gain approval at the cold call and meeting stages before you are even officially invited to sell. These small closes occur throughout the sales journey, but the post-pitch period is the optimum place for a sale to be closed for good. There are occasions when a pitch is so good it closes the sale by itself, but it is more likely to result in further discussion. An understanding of this dynamic and what to look for within it can be a decisive factor.
One thing to consider is the inherent differences between closing a B2B or B2C sale. Most B2C scenarios are resolved fairly quickly and more emotional decision that are often approached with misplaced closing techniques. Expecting this speed and using these same techniques in a B2B environment simply won’t cut it. Selling to a business is much more prolonged and complicated.
Close more often by befriending silence, seeing your prospect’s signals and avoiding overselling.
A deal between two businesses is about much more than a simple sale or acquisition. As each member of a business is part of a larger whole, usually with higher authorities to report to, you will often have to prove your worth on more than one occasion. A main motivating factor is often the potential for an ongoing relationship, a fruitful partnership that can result in more than a signed purchase order. Due to the significance of any agreement, negotiations are also a common occurrence. Being flexible but knowing your value is crucial to closing the majority of deals.
It’s no secret – watching and listening to your prospect should be natural. So should identifying subtle shifts in language or posture. Every change could be a sign that suggests their readiness to buy. This is not about forcing an issue or playing games, but knowing when a prospect is ready to become a partner or if they have doubts and knowing how to react in both situations.
The signals most commonly communicated by a person can be classed as verbal or non-verbal. Verbal or spoken signs include the obvious, such as any question that displays interest, but asking an increased amount of questions or repeatedly hitting on the same topic are also signifiers. Asking in the first place is a sure sign of interest, but revisiting the same point implies they want reassurance. Reassured people make purchases. Non-verbal signals include body language and posture, facial expressions, maintaining eye contact and holding or playing with any of the supporting materials.
Act quickly after getting a verbal agreement. No sale is closed until it is confirmed.
These subconscious signs may be performed and determined by your prospect, but they can be planned for and triggered. Exploring existing problems and potential benefits can provoke the full range of the above responses. Trial closes are another useful approach to take. By sounding out a prospect’s interest by asking something similar to “How do you feel about that?” you can either draw a close or at least more information out them. Silence can also be your friend, as how a prospect reacts when met with a pause can be revealing. Do their signals suggest they’re ready to buy?
Whether you close a sale is not down to a clever turn of phrase or dated technique, it’s about your entire offering. Your behaviours throughout the course of identifying a prospect, learning about their processes and deficiencies, constructing a proposal and delivering a pitch will all impact on your likelihood of closing, but there is also a definite, specific skill set.
The closing of deals is at the centre of selling. Prospects rarely offer their signature in a way that doesn’t require any enticement, reassurance or negotiation. These needs make up another layer of a sales professional’s responsibilities and those that handle them effectively are often rewarded with signed contracts.
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