There is too much timidity in selling! Too many salespeople expect to get an order without fighting for it. They believe the buyer will make a decision in their favor simply because they are there, who they represent or they are. When this theory fails, salespeople blame it on bad luck or other external circumstances.
When a salesperson emerges empty handed from a presentation it is often because they did not use strength in the close. They might have made a brilliant presentation and then run out of gas, and come away without a clear direction or decision. This is tragic. Not only is a strong close an important part of the presentation, but also the buyer expects it. They are primed for it.
BRASHNESS NOT NEEDED
A strong closing does not require brashness or rudeness on the part of the salesperson. They can get their essential points across to the buyer without in the lease offending or annoying him. The salesperson can be forceful and commanding and still set an example of ethical conduct.
The secret of the strong closing is in the salesperson’s conviction that they are right and that the prospect will benefit from the purchase. Without this confidence and conviction, the salesperson cannot be fully effective.
If you are right you can afford to apply strength in a sales argument. Remember, if you’ve done your job correctly you should have the buyer half sold by the time you arrive at the closing point. To throw away this advantage would be like a football player suddenly stopping on the 10-yard line while running for a touchdown.
A strong closing is a bold closing. This means that you figuratively grab the prospect by the lapels and sell them. Some salespeople have used highly imaginative methods to strengthen their close. Sometimes this depends on circumstances. This is illustrated by the story of Bill Alway, spark plugs and related products salesman.
Bill was interviewing a prospect (large range of computer zip drives and other support software) in their office. While the buyer was answering a phone call, a customer came in with a problem. Bill tested the equipment himself, found it wanting, and then sold the man a replacement from the prospects stock. Bill, incidentally, did not handle hardware. However, he did sell specialty-marketing items and he made the customer a gift from his sample case. The customer was delighted.
The prospect returned just in time to hear the customer’s compliments and thank you. He was so impressed with Bill’s salesmanship that he gave Bill a sizable order. That was a strong close.
In this case things broke right for Bill. However, he is the type of salesman who would have closed strongly in any case. If necessary, he would have made his own breaks.
LOOK AROUND YOU
Too frequently the salesperson is concerned solely with their own domain–selling. They don’t poke their head up and look into other aspects of the company, such as production, distribution, research, etc. When they do look around them they find that others in their firm are strong and bold in their approach.
Imaginative credit policies have helped many company’s expand sales volume. Computerized bookkeeping has been instrumental in speeding up processing of data for customers. Your management is constantly looking for better methods and techniques of turning out an improved product. Why should the salesperson lag behind?
We would advise you to find out what your company is doing outside of sales. You may pick up ideas that will dramatically increase your income. You also will learn that boldness is often the rule, not the exception.
STRENGTH AND RESPONSIBILITY
A salesperson that uses strength in their presentation and closing must also be aware of their responsibility to the customer. It’s all very well to steamroll ahead, but the wise seller will temper their enthusiasm with a regard for the welfare and well being of the buyer.
For example, it’s up to you to see that your customer does not over buy beyond their requirements. They should also be advised which of your products or services will best suit their needs and which will not.
Also, the strong close should not prevent the salesperson from looking after the customer’s other interest such as servicing, and follow through. A customer will react unfavorably if a salesperson gives the impression that their sole intent is to make the sale and run. However, a customer will hold still for a bold close if they know that the salesperson is concerned with their problems.
Nothing is sadder and more frustrating than the salesperson that primes a prospect for the competition. This individual will go great guns until the time for the closing. Then they will falter and lose the order. They pack up their samples and goes dejectedly off. Meanwhile, the prospect is a sitting duck for the next salesperson that comes along. You can bet that the competing person will take advantage of the plum left them. If they’re close is just a bit stronger than that of the first salesperson, they will walk away with the order.
Don’t work for your competitor. Drive harder at the close and the order can be yours. There is no reason why a vigorous sales talk should be followed by a weak close.
TRY, TRY, TRY
It would be foolish to tell you that a strong closing will automatically sell a prospect. There are times when the most valiant and energetic effort will not budge a buyer. But if you put forth your best effort you will have nothing with which to reproach yourself if you fail. In selling you can never know if you could have written up the order unless you tried your very best. Don’t berate yourself later, saying:
“If only I had tried harder I could have obtained the order.”
Make a strong close and then leave with a clear conscience–win or lose.
How is your closing technique?
There is an old business adage; “nothing happens till a sale is made.” That being true let’s work on your current sales team.
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