Salespeople can get proficient in questioning their customers, but if they don’t begin by asking themselves one question, all their open-ended and control questions will be for naught. Before you even think about going out on a sales call, you should ask yourself “What am I selling?” This may sound obvious, and maybe even a little silly. But failure to ask it is the trigger for countless botched sales.
If you observe successful, professional salespeople, you will find that they use one or more of the following five principles to set the stage for successful closing action.
1. Keep control of the interview.
You must have control of the interview so that you can set up your closing opportunities and use your closing techniques most effectively. This calls for adequate preparation of all elements of the sale before confronting the prospect.
2. Let the buyer set the pace.
You can control the interview and still let the buyer set the pace with his or her own reactions, motives and personality. Recognize these differences in each buyer and move your presentation along accordingly. If you push too fast, you leave a confused and unsold buyer in the dust. On the other hand, if the buyer quickly absorbs what you are presenting, step up your pace. If you don’t, you’ll have an impatient, bored and equally unsold buyer on your hands.
3. Give the prospect a chance to buy.
Too many salespeople give an effective sales presentation, then fail to ask for the order. They are afraid to ask for fear the buyer will say “no.” Don’t expect the prospect to tell you he or she wants to buy. Ask him or her to buy instead.
4. Keep something in reserve.
Don’t paint yourself into a corner with your presentation so you don’t have anywhere else to go. Don’t sail through all of your product’s features and benefits before making your first closing attempt. If it fails, you have no choice but to repeat yourself, hoping it will click the second time around. Keep a couple of good points in reserve.
5. Recognize buying signals.
Few buyers will come right out and say, “I’m ready to buy.” Be alert to the clues and tips a buyer can give you that will tell you when it’s time to close the sale.
Watch for telltale facial or physical expressions and then ACT! A lifted eyebrow, a smile of satisfaction or agreement, or a look of increased interest, can be your buying signal. Be sensitive to comments or remarks that indicate an interest in buying.
Remember that buying signals can be flashed at any time during the interview. Learn to recognize any hint from the prospect that he or she is ready to buy and CLOSE right then and there!