Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Closing the Loop: 7 Tips for Finalizing Sales

November 23, 2013

It happens in an instant: Your prospect finally says “Yes.” How to make that moment a reality more frequently.

Todd Martin 111313 image 1You’ve identified a prospect and learned a great deal about his or her needs. You’ve nurtured the relationship. You’ve followed up. You’ve focused on benefits, not features, in your communications, and you don’t know what in the world else you can do to close the sale.

There are many, many ways to approach this final step. Hire five consultants to advise you on this issue and you’re bound to get five different techniques. And what works on one prospect may be the absolute wrong way to deal with another.

So when you’re trying to close a sale, your chosen tactics will depend in part on:

  • Who the prospect is
  • What kind of relationship you have
  • How your conversations and negotiations have transpired, and
  • The size of the sale.

That said, here is some of the most effective advice I’ve come across for clearing that final hurdle:

Be confident, and display that confidence. Confidence in your company’s products or services only comes from deep, intimate knowledge. You can’t sell something unless you understand it thoroughly and believe in its benefits. Prospects can sense a lack of enthusiasm in a salesperson, and believe me, it can have tremendous impact on the outcome of a selling relationship.

Ask leading questions. Successful closers listen as much as they talk. And they’re able to steer the conversation in a direction that can prompt Todd Martin 111313 image 2their prospects to see the benefits of your product without you having to tick them off first. If you don’t think you can do this off-the-cuff, always have some questions prepared ahead of time.

Recognize the signs of a near-sale. A good salesperson pays as much attention to a prospect’s words, body language and speech patterns as a good therapist does. Look for indications that you may be winning your prospects over. They may either accelerate or slow down the pace of the conversation as they’re getting closer to an affirmative response. Their questions may seem more focused, and they may inquire about things like delivery charges, the last day for the sale price, warranties, etc.

When this happens, don’t rush your prospects. Again, this goes back to the need for a healthy confidence level. You know you’re offering a product that will solve some of your customers’ problems. You believe that they’re ready to buy. Keep those two thoughts in mind and your positive attitude can move them forward.

If possible, give them a space to think it over. I visited a furniture store once that had a few tables and chairs, coffee and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. Customers were encouraged to spend time there if they were mulling over a buying decision.

Rephrase some of your prospect’s concerns and problems and needs. If the conversation starts to lag, do some active listening. Repeat back some of what you heard and try to reinforce the benefits. “So you think your daughter likes this car’s looks and drivability, and she’s going to need a car on campus, but you’re still not sure about the price? Can I tell you a little more about its safety features and its minimal maintenance requirements?”

Todd Martin 111313 image 3Be gracious. Acknowledge an obvious no-go, and thank prospects for their time. But send them away with a business card that contains multiple points of contact for you, and maybe even an inexpensive promotional item. A lost sale shouldn’t diminish your confidence in your selling abilities or your company’s products. And a friendly, self-assured sendoff may trigger a return visit.

Stock images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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