THE ART OF CLOSING THE DEAL!!!
In a world currently driven by a ‘deal-making” President, the actual foundation of closing a deal is created by listening…not twitter!!! Your closing ratio might be 1:3 or 1:30, it really doesn’t matter as long as you assume you will close every prospect at every encounter. If you assume you won’t…then guess what…you won’t!!! Closing every encounter is, of course, an unrealistic expectation…but not an unrealistic approach. To most of us in a buying situation, the process is more important than the outcome. How many times have you experienced in the process of buying something…be it toothpaste, a phone, a car, a house, that as soon as a you became dissatisfied with the process, there was no outcome…in fact, you didn’t buy and worse still you told everyone you know how bad was the experience!!! I think it happens more often than not.
I believe we are creating a relationship with our buyer with probing questions, overcoming their objections, and finally LISTENING for the close! Buyers are giving you signals about their primary motivation to buy all the time:
How soon can I move in? How much does this upgrade cost? How much is my deposit? Where else and what has your company built? What’s the story on a warranty? And on and on and on!!!
If the customer isn’t asking questions then you should be!!! What’s important to them, how dissatisfied are they with their current situation, what do they like best/least about your offering…if they seem so disinterested…why did they even show up to see you in this isolated trailer in an empty field on a lonely Tuesday afternoon in 30 degrees Celsius weather!!! The process should always be fun, engaging and all about them…not you!!!
The Master Salesperson Jeffrey Gitomer, in his fabulous book, The Sales Bible, says the key to answering a customers questions is to never answer with the words ‘Yes or No’…strike them from your vocabulary…or at least as a singular answer to a question. I can enter most new home projects today and watch exceptional presentations by wonderfully co-operative and genuinely warm and friendly salespeople…but they are ‘INFORMATION GIVERS, NOT GETTERS!!! Gitomer says to broaden your answer beyond the simple YES or NO and finish it with a question:
Do you have this model home available? Yes”, “Does it come in an all brick elevation? Yes”, “Can you deliver by March 2020? No”, “What lots does it fit on? There are two, lot 21 and lot 34”
These answers are of course all wrong. Every question needs confirmation but needs to be followed up with another question that gets at your buyers primary motivation to purchase:
“Do you have this model available? Absolutely, it’s one of our best sellers, is this the one you have decided on, when were you thinking of moving in? Does it come in an all brick elevation? In fact it comes in several elevations with differing material choices, is the all brick the one you prefer? Let’s review them all and decide which one is right for you and your family.”
The magic to a ‘perfect process‘ according to Gitomer comes in two parts:
- Recognise that a buying signal is part of your sales discipline. Plan in advance your response to key objections…and practice, adjust, practice.
- Being able to construct a response question requires creativity and practice. Delivering the response in a smooth, soft and natural manner is the mark of a Master salesperson.
Finally, the other key to your success is to ask for the order and then learn to SHUT UP!!! As salespeople we love to talk. We love the sound of our own voice. We have so much to tell you, we can’t wait to impress you with how smart we are!!! But we get in the way of a deal if we don’t SHUT UP!!! The first major deal I closed, all on my own, was in a dirty noisy construction trailer, in the middle of an empty field. I made an excellent presentation, the Builder responded mostly positively and I Listened intently. I then asked for the order and SHUT UP! And so did he !! My father had said “the first one to speak loses!!!” We sat there, staring at one another, neither saying a word for what seemed an eternity. Both knowing that whomever spoke first would lose the advantage. He finally smiled, after at least two minutes of deadly silence, and said…’we must have read the same book!!! “ after a great laugh we shook hands on a deal!!!
Never be afraid to ask for the order…not once but several times. Do it always with an alternative suggestion…you never want to create an answer of ‘NO’ to your closing question….’do you want me to start Friday or Monday? ‘ I assume we have a general agreement here on the principals, I will respond with the details and schedule to attend your first sales meeting, did you say Tuesday or Wednesday was better? OK?
Enjoy the chase for a deal, it is the most exhilarating part of the selling process. Have fun, make it appear that you are part of a long-term commitment and become the assistant, the problem solver, the Intel consultant…not the salesperson. Most importantly, get out of your comfort zone…the tension is special and the results are spectacular…GO FOR THE CLOSE!!!