by Andrew Milbourn, CEO Kiss The Fish
Well I can’t put it off any longer, the time has come to address the single most requested training and coaching subject which is – how to close more deals…
It’s not one of my favourite subjects because quite simply people simply don’t understand the sales process well enough to ‘get it’ when I say…”if you want to be better at closing, you’ve got to be better at selling”… what I mean by that is that there are a few quick tips for smartening up your ability to close, but if you struggle to close deals it will usually be because you simply haven’t got the buyer excited enough about working with you.
Resistance is ‘resistance’ and if you’ve still got that coming your way after an hour and a half of a sales presentation then quite simply… you are probably annoying and no amount of ‘quick tips’ will suffice to fix your ongoing problem… which is that you simply don’t know how to sell.
Let’s put that to one side for the moment and look at the top tips for closing more deals… here you go, what you all want…
1 – Sometimes you’ve got to ask for an order and direct the buyer to make a decision.
We have in our brains things called ‘reciprocation neurons’ and these little gems make us want to reward someone who ‘gives us’ something or who put’s gentle pressure on us to make a decision for them. Now it will only work if that person (a buyer) is quite drawn to you or your products, don’t expect anyone to say yes to you if you’ve made an irrelevant pitch or worse still a boring pitch with no competitive advantage for them.
Asking for an order is easier than you think – it’s all about timing. That’s why you need a sales process that you can rely on and that you use every time you go out selling. Pitching in with a close is pointless until you know that a buyer is really interested.
Timing is everything
Once you’ve been through the conversation around ‘value’ and why the buyer should be interested in your product or service and they’ve asked questions and qualified what they need… it may be beneficial to offer a direct close… ”so shall I book that in for you now?” for example
2 – Offering an Alternative may make it easier to close the sale
Tip No 2 is a method for checking that everything is going to be ok – and those of you who are reluctant to be direct, this will make it easier for you to ask for the order but in a less ‘confrontational’ way.
So again – this assumes you’ve had a good call or meeting and the buyer is interested. You will have heard some questions (maybe some objections) but if they are still at the table then it will be time to ask for the order. Try offering an alternative to ‘test’ the water…
“So would you prefer it in Green or Red?” – or “I could deliver straight away if you want to go ahead – would you prefer Tomorrow or Thursday?”
You can use this continuously until you get a ‘yes’ – it is particularly good for telephone calls to book meetings…
“Rather than email you something, I’ll drop it in personally and as it happens I will be passing very close your office next week – would you prefer Tuesday or Wednesday?”… ”Can you make 10am on Wednesday or would you prefer 2pm on Thursday?”…
“How would you like to sign? Do you have a pen or would you prefer to use mine?“
3 – The Puppy Dog Close
This is particularly good if you have a product that someone would like to test or try for the first time. Most people would expect you to book in a time for such a trial but the best thing to do is ‘wow’ them by giving them a much longer test period than they expect. Assuming your product is good (or your service is good), you can use the puppy dog close in the way that pet shops used to sell live puppies (back in the day when it was legal to do so). Your 8yr old daughter is in the shop with you and the Sales-person asks her if she would like to hold the puppy – of course she say’s “yes please” and is delighted to have the animal in her arms. Now when the sales-person says – “why don’t you take her home for a couple of days to see how you get on”… There is just no way that dog is coming back to the shop, right? Whereas if she offered your daughter the chance to take it for a walk – there is every chance that you’d be returning it at the end of the walk.
4 – The Don’t let them think about it close
Sometimes no matter what you do, a buyer just thinks they need to ‘think about it’ and they will walk away using that horrible line as their final ‘gotcha’ moment. So what should you say if the buyer says…”Thanks but I’ll need to think about it – I’ll be in touch”.
You should never allow a buyer to walk out or put the phone down with this being the final word… the magic line you need to always say (and it is magical) is…
“So is it the price which is blocking your decision or is there something about the product which is making you question the decision?”
Now the buyer will have to answer you and whilst they may still fob you off – one in ten will reply – “well both actually”, the other nine will allow you to go back round the sales process and you will have another go at answering the objection). This methodology is not difficult or risky – you won’t get into conflict (unless you are rude with it) so practice saying it until it becomes automatic and commit to never letting anyone end the call with this line again.
HOW TO REALLY IMPROVE YOUR CLOSING RATIO
The above tips will help you and they are good to memorise BUT – as I said at the start of this article, the real issue is how do you close more deals?
Quite simply you need to get better at building desire in the buyer so that he/she wants to work with you. This is not easy but it is the goal. You’ll need to be better at building rapport – at making someone ‘like you’. Remember that the brain buys emotionally before it buys using knowledge or information. If you find yourself pitching information about your product within the first 20 mins of a meeting then you are being controlled by the buyer and not in control of the conversation. You should have a robust questioning process that includes the necessary ‘five types’ of questions or you simply wont stand a chance of getting to the heart of the matter (the clients desire for value).
I’ll be covering this in more detail in future articles so look out for the detail but for now… remember this…
you can’t sell something until you know what someone really should be buying
So my best advice to improve your closing is – learn how to sell and how to identify ‘value’ every time – once I know what you need and you really like about a solution, I can be that person that offers you that. If I do it with rapport and I build your trust effectively then you’ll be asking for what I’m selling and closing is quite simply the easiest part of the sale.
Like I said – learn how to sell – properly.