We hear a lot of salespeople saying that they struggle when closing the sale, gain commitment from their customer or simply get them to say yes! We’d say this is generally down to one of two things:
- They’re not doing it right, or
- They haven’t fully understood their needs.
Before you start to send me nasty packages through the post, let’s recap a couple of the most important aspects of the sales process:
- Don’t even think of mentioning your products or services (let alone try to sell them) until you understand the needs of your client. FULLY understand their needs.
- When you present your proposal, present the benefits of your solution (solution not product) as it relates to their unique needs that you’ve uncovered.
- Give them ample opportunity to ask questions or raise objections to your proposal. Treat objections as a sign of interest.
Right, we’ve done all that and we’ve arrived at the closing question:
What sort of question should we ask?
Should it be open or closed?
A lot of people will tell you to simply ask for the business, something along the lines of ‘would you like to go ahead with that’ or ‘can we proceed with the sale? We think danger lurks in this method. If you get a ‘yes’ that’s brilliant, but what if you get a ‘no’? A ‘no’ will seem like you’ve driven down a cul-de-sac with cars parked on both sides. Yes it’s possible to reverse out, but you probably wish you hadn’t driven down there to start with!
So what’s the alternative? We think it’s best to ask an open question in your first attempt to close. Something like ‘Tell me how you feel about our proposal’ or ‘What are your thoughts on our discussion’.
Doing this will allow your customer to voice any further concerns that they may still have. Concerns which, if not answered, will probably prevent them from buying from you. Concerns which, if still in their minds when you give them a yes or no ultimatum will probably result in a ‘no’.
Remember it’s about the needs of your customer, not your need to make a sale.