Closing the deal
For many sales novices the words “closing the deal” fills them with dread. That scary and secret process that only seasoned sales people know how to do without trembling in their shoes. It doesn’t have to be that way, if you have run though the other stages correctly.In most B2B sales the prospect will make up their mind to purchase over the time it takes to evaluate and maybe test your proposal.
During that time you need to build their confidence in your offering (and in you and your company) until is is complete. You need to grow your personal relationship with the prospect so that they trust you enough to believe you when you say that your offering will work for them.
Closing the deal shouldn’t come out of the blue and the final close should be a natural progression from all the little/conditional closes that you’ve done through the sales process.
If you’ve done conditional closes at the end of Fact Finding and throughout the Demonstration, and maybe during Objection Overcoming as well, you should have led the prospect into a position that the final commit to purchase is a small, natural step, not a big decision.
Having said that, there are numerous ways of leading the prospect into committing.
In the jargon of sales methodologies, there are a number of named closing techniques. Here are the main ones:
You simply ask for the order. For example, “Are you ready to go ahead?”
You just assume the prospect is going ahead and let them wriggle out of it if they dare. For example, “Let me fill out this order form and then you can get going.”
You set the criteria for their decision to close later. For example, “If we can meet all your requirements within budget, will you go ahead?”, or “If I can get it delivered this week, can you place an order today?” and “If I throw the roof rack in for free, can you commit to purchasing?”
You offer them alternatives, but not buying isn’t one of them. For example, “Do you want the red one or the green one?” or “Shall we deliver this week or next?”
Puppy Dog Sale
Not really a close but a technique that creates a Compelling Event at the end of the trial. For example, “Try it free for 30 days, with no obligation!”. Beloved of software vendors, this is named after the pet shop that will let you take a cute little puppy home for the weekend – there is no way your kids will let you take it back to the shop!
As with all canned sales techniques, you need to adapt the words to suit the situation and to make them your own so they don’t sound artificial or overly pushy.
The Final Close
Closing, asking the customer to commit to a purchase is often seen as the hardest part of the sales process. It shouldn’t be if you’ve done the homework and the customer is ready to buy.
Most people spend time weighing up the pros and cons and then emotionally commit to purchase. Some prospects will get to a certain point and then just say “Fine; let’s do this”. Others will need help committing because they find making decisions scary, especially if there is no deadline for making a decision (see Compelling Event).
If you’ve followed the process then you will have done lots of little Conditional Closes throughout all the sales stages, so when you finally ask for the order with a Direct Close the prospect is emotionally prepared and is happy to say “Yes”.