The Principles of Effective Closing
You can acquire the ability to close sales and, through practice, you can perfect it.
By Paul J. Meyer
There are no mysterious secrets to closing a sale. There are methods that must be learned, principles that must be applied and techniques that must be used. Anyone can acquire the ability to close sales and, through practice, anyone can perfect that ability.
There are two basic principles that form the foundation of effective closing. First, the sale cannot be closed until the prospect is ready to buy. Second, the art of closing is not the art of getting people to make decisions. Instead, it is the art of making decisions with which people will agree.
The first of these principles points out the extreme importance of the sales presentation and closing. It is impossible to understand closing as a separate and isolated part of the sales process. The close is the natural and logical end result of an effective sales presentation.
There are three basic steps of a sales presentation:
1. Breaking preoccupation
Sales cannot be closed unless the prospect accepts the sales story, and he’s not able to accept it if he’s not listening. In the vast majority of cases, the prospect will give the appearance of listening, but will still have on his mind what he was thinking about when you began to talk to him. The sales presentation must open with some pre-planned preoccupation-breaking techniques. This can be done by handing him something or making a startling statement, but it is best done by asking the prospect a question.
A question gets the prospect’s attention, stimulates his involvement, and calls for a response. When he responds, he is participating in the sales interview and, as a result, is much more likely to have his total attention on it. Whenever two people are talking, the person asking the questions is in control. This is important because you can establish control, and control is one of the most crucial elements of closing. The earlier in the interview you establish control, the more sure you are to have it at the close.
2. Determining buying motive
The secret of effective and highly efficient selling is accurately determining the buying motive so that all of your sales points can be related to the reasons why this particular individual will be interested in your product or service. The predominant buying motive concept is the key to making easy sales.
It is much more practical to locate desire that already exists and satisfy that desire with your product or service. People buy what they want. If they want something and can afford it, and you show them that your product or service will satisfy that already existing desire, the sale is made.
3. Recognizing buying signals
Buying signals often take the form of statements or questions by the prospect. "Do you offer quantity discounts?" would be an example of a buying signal. Another would be, "Can you guarantee delivery by the first of the month?" An expert closer knows that when the prospect gives a buying signal, the time to close has arrived.
Whether or not you have finished your sales presentation is not important. The only important thing is that the prospect has indicated he is ready to buy, and that means that you should close the sale. Always keep in mind that it is your responsibility to close the sale. You must make the decision, and you must lead the prospect to agree with it and accept it.
When you have reached this step, there are several keys in closing sales effectively. First, select the closing techniques that are appropriate to your business. Write out the best words to use with each technique and memorize these so you can give them readily and with confidence.
Next, determine the best close to use if your prospect gives you a buying signal early on. Finally, work out the closing strategy that you will use in the point of your presentation where you normally plan to close. Prepare, and even practice, in advance.
Remember, even the best salespeople are not born knowing the best way to close a sale every time. Every sales professional must take it upon themselves to hone their sales presentation techniques. And when you put these strategies into place, you will be well on your way to becoming a better closer and a more effective salesperson overall.
Paul J. Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author, but it is his success as a salesman and entrepreneur that has made him a millionaire many times over. To learn more about closing sales, visit www.pauljmeyer.com