Closing the sale is a vital attribute for a good salesperson. However, most people have had to convince someone about something, which is similar to closing a sale. When you persuade someone to accept your position, you are applying a good pitch and sale. You have built trust.
Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that rapport, trust, and mutual respect inherent in a long-term relationship take off some of the pressures with closing a sale. Therefore, we all have a little bit of salesperson in us!
We do not know the customer’s price threshold where he is willing to purchase. Johnston and Marshall further argue that the customer will seldom buy a product based only on a presentation, despite how well it is done. Knowing this missing information, I would ask the customer if he or she has a price range in mind. This would better assist the salesperson in tailoring a solution to the specific need.
The authors also explain that customers will develop objections to various aspects of your proposed solutions, even if there is a long-term relationship. In fact, an objection is simply a customer’s concern with some aspect of your solution to his or her need. This can include price, delivery time, terms of agreement, or a myriad of other components.
According to Johnston and Marshall, there are nine basic strategies for dealing with customer concerns: (1) question, (2) direct denial, (3) indirect denial, (4) compensating for deficiencies, (5) third-party endorsements, (6) bounce-back, (7) defer, (8) feel-felt-found, and (8) trial offer. The most confrontational strategy is direct denial.
Although there is no magical pill for closing a sale, there are some fundamental components to a successful sale close. A great sales pitch should explain the value proposition; showcase the advantages and benefits of the product/service; enhance the customer’s knowledge about the company, products and/or services; and create an unforgettable experience.
Johnston and Marshall further maintain that a salesperson must clearly articulate the value proposition to the customer. Why do I need the product or service? In fact, a salesperson must have the skill to alter the sales pitch based on the customer feedback during the call to action. Therefore, the process starts and stops with the customer as the focus of this process.
Please discuss closing the sale with customers from your own professional experience.
© 2013 by Daryl D. Green
10 thoughts on “Closing the Sale”
Having a background in Banking I have closed many deals i.e. commercial loans. What’s interesting about being a banker is that you truly are a sales representative of the bank. Most people don’t think about that relationship. I have always approached things by being a relationship seller and have been successful with such. However, to that extent, I am very much appalled by sales persons that don’t know me and either try too hard to act like they know me or simply don’t care to get to know me. Building relationships is a much longer process than just knocking on doors and trying to gain an order on the 1st or 2nd visit, it will require way more patience from both the salesperson and the employer, but in the long run you will be much better off, both financially and emotionally. (Lowery) In the end this is the best type of selling. And don’t be afraid to actually ask for the business.
Lowery, J. (n.d.). Relationship selling. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Relationship-Selling&id=401325
Excellent! Why do you perceive that customers don’t see bankers like traditional salespersons (i.e. retail, car salesman)?
I think most people perceive Bankers differently from traditional salespersons because most people likely think of Bankers in a professional way. Much like an attorney or accountant. Most people don’t see think about the core functions they do. For example, the banker’s main job is to bring in funds (deposits) and then sell those funds (loan) to another consumer. With all that said, in the end, we are all part of the sales force for our perspective companies.
Good point about people’s perceptions of bankers!
Dr. D. Green
I completely agree with your view on sales persons acting like they know me after five minutes of talking with me, when I know in the back of my head that they have to be friendly because they were told to. Forging actual relationships, establishing conversation on common ground, and being personal with names and remembering faces are all very vital and useful tools in gaining trust, earning word of mouth, and return customers.  “Buyers are attracted to salespeople who are genuinely likeable. They don’t have to agree on social issues, go to the same church or enjoy the same cuisine. But the more a buyer is able to view the salesperson as human – a real person with similar needs and demands on her time, etc. – the more the buyer builds rapport with the salesperson” (Hughes, 2004). From my sales experience, if a customer is not in a terrible rush, asking the right questions and attempting to find common ground is a great starting point in a lasting relationship.
Hughes , T. (2004). What buyers want: Building trust. Retrieved from http://www.whatbuyerswant.net/archives/building-trust
Many large companies struggle to contain the cost and complexity of their sales teams. As customers increasingly demand deeper expertise, as companies add more offerings and pursue new markets, these companies have been expanding sales teams with industry and field specialists. Their intent is to become customer centric companies striving to sell the best products to the right customers in the right way. Even with adding specialists, it can steadily add complexity that undermines the ability to sell efficiently and effectively (Bain Insights, 2013).
A good sales person or team is important when closing a sale. If a sales person or team is rude or inattentive to the customer(s), it does not look good for the company they represent and they probably will not be able to make a sale. I think one of the key ingredients for anyone trying to make a sale is to relate to their customer by identifying what the customer wants, needs or is looking for.
Source: Bain Insights. (2013, August 14). Closing the Deal: The Value of a Sales Specialist. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/baininsights/2013/08/14/closing-the-deal-the-value-of-a-sales-specialist.
Outstanding! It pays to have a well skilled salesperson!
Professor D. Green
Closing a sale
Well put Dr. Green, but I must confess, as a customer, I often take physical manifestations into great consideration when considering closing a deal. I value a sales person who can smile, inject humor, and all around present himself/herself as confident. This tells me that they have confidence in their product whether I purchase it or not. I like a sale that makes me believe I need them and not vice versa.
To further prove the importance of these simple sales tactics, I discovered, the “12 commandments for closing a sale,” by Grant Cardone which include these interesting points:
“1. Remain seated. The saying goes, present the product, service or idea on your feet, but always negotiate from your seat.
2. Always present a proposal in writing. People do not believe what they hear, they believe what they see. Always have a contract available and a writing pad.
3. Communicate clearly. No one will trust a person who cannot communicate clearly and confidently
4. Make eye contact. If you want to be believed, it is vital to make eye contact with your prospect. It suggests interest in them and confidence in yourself, your products, your services, and in what you are proposing.
5. Always carry a pen. All agreements require signatures and that requires ink. Keep a pen available at all times. In fact, always have a back-up pen, too.
6. Use humor. Any humor that can make people feel good, inspired or hopeful is always appropriate during the close. Everyone loves a good story, and people are more likely to make decisions when they are less serious. You will close more deals if you can get your client to lighten up and laugh.
7. Ask one more time. Figuring out another way to circle back and reposition
negotiations after being told “no” ultimately will make you a great closer.
8. Stay with the buyer. Each time you leave the customer to check on something, it creates doubt and uncertainty in their mind.
9. Always treat prospects like buyers. Regardless of the circumstances: no money, no budget, not the decision maker — always treat the buyer like he is a buyer
10. Stay confident. I always maintain that we can come to an agreement, no matter what I am told by the buyer or those around me.
11. Be positive. No matter how the buyer responds, keep it light and maintain a can-do attitude throughout the negotiations.
12. Always smile. This is not just about your attitude, but also your physical manifestation. For the next week, practice smiling with everyone in every situation you encounter. Do this until you are able to argue with a smile, disagree with a smile, negotiate, overcome objections and close with a smile.”
Beautiful isn’t it? What are your thoughts/feedback?
Cardone, G. (2012). 12 commandments for closing a sale. Entrepreneur, Retrieved from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/222558
Through work I don’t have to close many sales I’m normally the customer in most sales. I find this gives me a good perspective as to how I would close one. I always look for honesty in the relationship. I dont go through with something if I feel that someone is pulling the wool over my eyes. I like for clear cut straight forward answers about the product. This helps me understand it but also give me confidence in making the purchase because nothing is being hidden. I have done a sales job on a prospective worker at my job. I employed these same tactics. I was open with him on what he would be doing as well as, what he would be doing. I didnt hide anything from him or dodge difficult questions. He will be starting in January. I feel that the key to every sale is trust built throughout the purchasing process.
Phelps, T. (2013). Brian trac’ys seven steps: Step 2 – buidling rapport. Retrieved from http://salescareers.about.com/od/SalesSkills/a/Brian-Tracys-Seven-Steps-Step-2-Buidling-Rapport.htm