November 23, 2013
Sales: What Are Good Closing Techniques?
In sales, you are told by your managers, and selling gurus, to ABC = Always Be Closing. However, more often than not you go through your sales process, discover the customer’s wants and needs, show them the features and benefits, sell to their hot buttons, but when you get to the end of the process or a customer throws out an objection, you don’t go for the close.
Why do you do that? There are a multitude of reasons. You may be having a bad day. You may be afraid to push the customer away by trying to “close” them. You may not be prepared to handle their objection.
Whatever the reason, you have to remember that you are in sales, and nothing ever gets sold without asking the customer to buy. The deal isn’t closed until you write them up and get them to sign. The transaction isn’t processed until it gets rung up, and the customer pays.
Don’t be afraid to close. If you have done a “bang up” sales presentation, you have earned the right to ask the customer to buy.
So, what are some good closing techniques to remember to use when you get to the end of your sales pitch, or are faced with some objections? There are many different techniques and styles out there, but here are a few that are useful. Some have been around for ages while others are new spins on an old close.
FEEL, FELT, FOUND: This one is a classic close for any objection. It allows you to align yourself with the customer, and then show them that they are not alone in big decisions, and then explain how your customers with the same objection have come to the decision to buy. “I understand how you feel, many of my customers have felt the same way as you, what they have found is….”
LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION: This is a good lead up to a close and smoothes over a closing question. Instead of asking the closing question point blank ease into it, “Let me ask you a question . . . what would you have to think about?” More often than not customers will respond better to this. You ask command of their attention by saying, “Let me ask you a question . . .” Pause for a second then when you have their attention, ask your closing question. This is also a good lead-in to the next closing technique.
WOULD YOU DO ME A FAVOR: This is a good follow-up to the previous one. “Let me ask you a question… Would you do me a favor?” Most people are willing to help others out. When you ask this pause, nod your head and wait for them to respond. They usually will say, “Yes,” or “Sure.” Sometimes they will say, “Depends on what it is.” Then follow up with: “Would you give our product a try?” or, “I get paid for every demonstration, would you test it out and tell me what you think?”
IF I COULD, WOULD YOU?: This is probably the best closing phrase out there. However, it is the most used phrase out there. Customers know you are closing them when you use this. But, it works. So, why not use it? “If I could get you to $250 per month, would you buy this right now?” Don’t be afraid to ask the customer to commit. What is the worst they are going to do? Say no. I have also used the phrase, “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask . . .” and then ask them, “If I could, would you . . .” This eases into the question and the customer knows you are just doing your job.
WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?: Many times customers are elusive with you. They play the “shopping” game and keep everything to their chest. They don’t want to tell you what it will take to close them. I always found this stupid. Why not just come out and tell us what you want and I will tell you if I can do it. We want to earn your business. However, it is not always that easy. You have to probe. There are several variations of this question; “What is it going to take for you to do this today?” or, “What is it going to take to end your shopping right now?” or, “What do we have to do right not to earn your business?” or, “What ideally does this have to look like to make this work for you right now?” These are the most direct phrases to ask and get a direct answer from your customer.
IDENTIFY, ISOLATE, REFINE, AND TARGET: Sometimes you have to get more information before you can close the customer. You may have to handle an objection first. One way to do this is to use the I.I.R.T. technique. IDENTIFY with the customer. “I understand . . . most of my customers feel the same way about (having to think about it, talk with my spouse, look around etc.) I felt the same way myself.” ISOLATE the objection. “Other than that, is there anything else keeping you from doing this right now?” REFINE by asking open ended questions to help understand the objection. “What are some of the things you would need to think about.” Or, “What do you think your spouse will say?’’ “What do you hope to find in the other product that you haven’t found in ours?” TARGET with a closing question. “If I could do X, would you buy right now without having to (think about it, talk to your spouse, look at other products, etc.)?”
SHAL WE GIVE IT A TRY?: Here is an easy one. I read this close in the book “The Closers.” This technique comes at the end of a presentation or after you showed your customer the price / figures. “So, shal we give it a try?”
LET’S PROCESS THE ORDER: You have just finished showing the customer you product. Write them up, or ring them up in your system and say, “Let’s process this order, how would you like to pay?” That will tell you right there what you have. You might be surprised. The customer may respond, “I’ll pay with cash.” Or, “Do you take checks/credit?” Sometimes all you have to do is assume the sale.
ROLL THE CLOCK AHEAD: The customer says, “I have to think about it,” Start by empathizing with them, understand their position, it is a big decision. Then say, “Roll the clock ahead to tomorrow. You have thought about it. What do you think your decision might be?” Or they might say, “I have to talk with my wife/husband/significant other.” Empathize like in the other situation and say, “Roll the clock ahead to tomorrow, you have talked with your wife/husband/significant other . . . What do you think she will say about doing this?” If the customer gives any signs of they say they would do it, then say, “Okay then, what is going to change between now and tomorrow? Let’s wrap this up now and you can enjoy your day tomorrow without having to worry about this decision.”
I know you are saying to yourself, “All these techniques are cheesy, or canned, or ‘old school’ and I don’t want to be that way.” Okay, I get it. You are right. Most of these are ‘old school’. The fact is, that when you use these, at the right time, in a calm and non threatening way, they work.
Stop being afraid to close!
-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements
Tim Northburg is an author of several fiction novels as well as multiple sales training and motivational guidebooks. He enjoys bringing his fantastical adventures to life in his fiction books and he thrives on sharing his unique philosophy of success and inspiration with his business and motivational books. He hopes his impact as a writer is thought provoking and fun.Tim Northburg lives in colorful Colorado, with a view of the Rocky Mountains, and enjoys writing non-fiction and fiction books of all kinds.
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