Closing the Sale – It’s Highly Overrated!

When I first got into selling, I was told that to be successful I would have to learn how to CLOSE the sale.

Indeed, in that company, there was an elite group called “THE CLOSERS”. A small band of highly experienced, highly regarded sales people, whom I was told, knew the “secrets” of closing the sale. Their powers were mystical and their fame legendary.

I was in awe of them, and occasionally had an opportunity to accompany one of them on a sales call to observe up close the magic they could work.

Mostly this involved asking confronting questions, bamboozling the prospect with clever answers to their objections, and then using silence to apply pressure. I couldn’t believe the audacity of these maneuvers! I remember sitting in silence one day for at least 10 minutes (I was briefed to say nothing on one of these calls), waiting for one prospect to respond to a particularly confronting close.

It was embarrassing… and it worked!

I just couldn’t see myself being that high pressure. I thought to myself, “I’m not going to make it if I have to do that.”

The truth is, high pressure, tricky closing techniques used to work, and to some extent they still do. This is one of the reasons that many sales people and sales managers still believe that the most important phase of the sales process is closing the sale. Frankly I disagree.

Almost every week sales people tell me that if I could show them how to close, then they will immediately become more successful. Some Sales Managers even invite me to speak at their Sales Conferences and tell me that what their sales people need, is to be shown more effective ways of closing the sale.

Mistakenly they believe this will provide the much needed “magic wand” for immediate success.

44 years in sales and training sales people have taught me…

The 5 SECRETS to closing the sale.

Here they are…

1. It’s more important what you do BEFORE you ask for a commitment, than how you ask for a commitment.

If you’ve done a professional job in;

1. Building rapport
2. Developing trust
3. Asking questions and understanding your prospect’s needs
4. Making the right recommendation

… then closing will be easy.

Unfortunately, a great many sales people fail to handle these steps professionally, which is why closing is so hard for them.

2. Knowing WHEN to ask for a commitment is the key to getting a favourable response.

Often when I ask participants in my workshops, “When is the right time to ask for the order?” I get answers like, “Anytime!”, “All the time!”, “Right from the start!” These are clichéd answers from a bygone era of selling.

Frankly the best time to ask for a commitment is when you know that your prospect has already bought what you are selling… in their mind.

How can you tell when they have already bought?

Buying signals – anything your prospect says or does which indicates they have already bought. There are 6 buying signals which I teach sales people to watch out for. If you know what to look for closing becomes easy.

3. Knowing how to use a TRIAL CLOSE to test whether your prospect is HOT or COLD (have bought or not bought yet) is another major key.

I find a lot of sales people don’t know the difference between a trial close and a close. It’s vital to know the difference and NOT use a close before you’ve confirmed that your prospect is ready to make a commitment. If you do, they will feel pressured and the stress level will go up.

Use a Trial Close instead. (Do you know the difference? If not find out!)

4. Knowing HOW to ask for ask for a commitment without pressure and feeling stressed or creating stress for our prospect, makes closing easy and natural.

Once you know it’s time to ask for a commitment you don’t need any clever tricky closing techniques.

A simple question to gain commitment is all that’s needed. I teach sales people 10 simple questions which can be used without creating stress

5. Knowing how to HANDLE OBJECTIONS if they come up and then asking again

The “hidden” ones are the hardest to handle because they are unstated and covered by excuses. Learn how to smoke out these hidden objections.

Have a great week. Make it a great week!

Wayne Berry

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Creating Brighter Sales and Leadership Futures Since 1976