There are many aspects of the sales process that challenge salespeople – prospecting, pitching, and overcoming sales objections and the close.
Let’s face it, much of selling is really order taking. The customer wants what you’re selling so you simply need to close but even when the customer wants to buy many salespeople still can’t manage to close.
Many salespeople simply can’t ask for the order.
After more than 28,000 pitches, I have tried every close in the book and there are hundreds of closes. Here are a few of the more famous:
The Alternative Choice close, also called the positive choice close, where the salesperson presents the prospect with two choices, both of which end in a sale. “Would you prefer that in red or blue?”
The Apology close, where the salesperson apologizes for not yet closing the sale. “I owe you an apology. Somewhere along the line, I must have left out important information, or in some way left you room for doubt. We both know this product suits your needs perfectly, and so the fault here must be with me.”
The Assumptive close, also known as the presumptive close: where the salesperson intentionally assumes that the prospect has already agreed to buy, and wraps up the sale. “Just pass me your credit card and I’ll get the paperwork ready.”
The Balance Sheet close, also called the Ben Franklin close, where the salesperson and the prospect build together a pros-and-cons list of whether to buy the product, with the salesperson trying to make sure the pros list is longer than the cons.
The Indirect close, also known as the question close, where the salesperson moves to the close with an indirect or soft question. “How do you feel about these terms” or “how does this agreement look to you?”
The Minor Point close, where the salesperson deliberately gains agreement with the prospect on a minor point, and uses it to assume that the sale is closed. “Would the front door look better painted red? No? Okay, then we’ll leave it the colour it is.”
The Negative Assumption close, where the salesperson asks two last questions, repeating them until he or she achieves the sale. “Do you have any more questions for me?” and “do you see any reason you wouldn’t buy this product?” This tactic is often used in job interviews.
The Possibility of Loss close, also known as the pressure close, where the salesperson points out that failing to close could result in missed opportunity, such as because a product may sell out, or its price rise.
The Puppy Dog close, where the salesperson gives the product to the prospect on a trial basis, to test before a sale is agreed upon.
The Sales Contest close, in which the salesperson offers the prospect a special incentive to close, disarming suspicion with a credible “selfish” justification. “How about if I throw in free shipping? If I make this sale, I’ll win a trip to Spain.”
The problem with using ‘a line’ is that the prospect will always sense, at some level, that we are being manipulative and will push back.
What really works?
As with most things it is the simplest, most honest approach that has work best for me.
After, the pitch and the subsequent questions and objections the time comes when I always deliver….
‘Would you like to move forward?’
Yes, it is that simple.
Never ask people if they ‘want to buy’ because ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ are two words to never use – these are scary words to buyers. Just a simple ‘Would you like to move forward?’ said with an intonation that suggests that would be the only rational choice will get the best result. This question closes but leaves room to move back to deal with more objections if the answer is ‘no’.
When should you ask, ‘ Would you like to move forward?’ Always ask! Always ask because you never know what is in the buyer’s mind and only a direct answer will tell you.
I always ask and the answer I almost always get is ‘Yes!’
The reason I rarely get a ‘no’ is that every action, every word, every ounce of energy is focused on moving the client forward. The universe reacts to positive energy, focused with intention and customers are no different.
In selling, as in life, we pretty much get what we expect to get!