A Less Painful Close

Even top sales pros can find themselves stumped when it comes to closing the deal. But there are ways to take the pain out of what can be the stickiest – and trickiest – part of the entire sales cycle.

For starters, be upfront about what you’re selling and why you think it will benefit your prospect’s business. I don’t mean you should go in for the hard sell. I mean you shouldn’t hide behind the façade of wanting to “explore partnership opportunities” or “get to know the company and industry” when what you really want to do is sell something.

I’ve talked in the past about the importance of impressing prospects from the start with your reliability, responsiveness and trustworthiness. One of the best rewards for doing so is a faster, smoother close.

Also, be alert to the signals your prospect is sending that it’s time to shift from selling to closing. Listen for clues. Are they asking questions about delivery options or whether specific features or services are available? Are they complimenting the product or identifying with the benefits your service will provide? If so, they are ready to buy.

Along those same lines, be sensitive to the prospect’s emotional cues. If they are giving off a negative vibe, hold off on pushing to close. You risk losing the sale by inadvertently tapping into whatever is causing their bad mood. Conversely, if the vibe is positive and upbeat, it may be the perfect time to move in for the close.

Finally, don’t over-close. Even the best sales pros can get caught up in the thrill of the chase – or the fear of rejection – and just keep talking even after the customer has agreed to buy. Get the commitment, extend your thanks and appreciation and shut up.