To close the sale, you don’t need special skills. Now, back in the day, companies trained specifically on the sales close. In fact, some companies had sales manuals dedicated to special closing tactics. There were even sales training programs that focused on special closing techniques.
But in today’s sales environment, you don’t need special skills to close the sale. Closing is simply a matter of landing the airplane. You’re advancing the process to the next steps, asking if somebody is in or out. In fact, the easiest way to close the sale is to use the “Nike close”: Just Do It!
Sometimes to Close the Sale, You Have to Circle Back
There will be times when you think you are ready to bring the deal home only to discover you have another round of objections or negotiating to address. About a year ago we bought a copier, and one of the salespeople asked me early on, “What’s your budget?” I just looked at him. “What my budget is for this copier, since we don’t need one, is half your best offer.” He starts laughing “No, seriously,” I said. “Maybe we can trade this copier out for some sales training. That’s a horrible question. Nobody is ever going to give you their budget.”
Now, we ended up buying the copier. But near the end of the sale, he said, “So, how do you feel about the copier?” That’s not a great closing question. Because he doesn’t really care,and doesn’t really want to know how I feel about the copier. Remember, sometimes the best approach is the simplest. If you want to know the answer to the question, then ask the question.
He eventually said, “Is the price good? Let’s move forward.”
I said, “The price is great.”
He said, “Okay, let’s sign here.”
I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We talked about the price, but we haven’t talked about terms.”
When you’re ready to close the sale, you might find yourself having to go back into the mechanics of your sales process and into formal negotiations. Or you may even have to jump back into the dialogue stage, where you’re dealing with objections. Don’t panic. Simply use the objection process outlined here to isolate and resolve the real objection and move forward.
Download the playbook on resolving client objections here and quickly move your process to the close.
The Alternate Choice Close
Now, instead of going for it directly, you can use the Alternate Choice Close. This is where you ask a prospect a question about some aspect of the product or service to gauge their interest level. “Would you like option A or option B?” “Do you want to go with the three-year contract or the seven-year contract?” “Do you want this section here or that section there?” These types of sales closes are typically used as trial closes to gauge the interest level of the prospect. However, you can sometimes close the sale using this method in place of Direct Close
But as you can see, there’s really no skill at play here. These are not deep questions. At this point, you’re simply bringing the plane down for a landing.
The Minor Point Close – An Example
Here’s another option. Though the Direct Close is always preferred, you could also go with a Minor Point Close, depending on the situation. This is when you ask the prospect or client to decide about a minor feature of the product or service. Their decision will give you insight into their mindset allowing you to close the sale.
When I first bought club seats at the Cleveland Cavaliers, a guy named Bob was my sales rep. These seats were going for about $20,000 per year. You got four club seats, all food included, and you got to watch the Cavs and LeBron… when LeBron was there.
Bob started with: “So what are your thoughts on moving forward?” I said, “Well, I gotta think about this.”
Then he used a Minor-Pointed technique. He asked,” Well, do you want the names on the seats in your name or your company’s name?”
I looked at Bob. “What do you mean?”
“Well, there’s a little placard in these seats in the club level, and they could actually have your personal name or your company’s.”
“Well, I’d want my company’s name.”
He had me. With that Minor Point Close he was able to effectively gauge my interest and control the direction of the sale from there.
Why Sales Closes at the End of the Sale Don’t Work
There’s an encyclopedia of sales closes that sales reps used back in the day. They had cute names like The Puppy Dog close, the Assumptive close, the Hot Button close, the Summary close, the Calculator close, and the Ownership close, to name a few. Next week, we’ll look at two other common closes, the Opportunity close, also known as the Now or Never close, and the Balancing close, aka the Ben Franklin close.
I bring these up because closing the sale using these methods don’t work in today’s sales environment. The information these techniques give you should be in your hands well before you attempt to close the sale. As I said, they may have worked in a previous sales environment where the sales reps controlled all the information. But in today’s environment, the prospect or client has more information than the sales rep. And they have already decided by the time they have called the sales rep.
The point is the information gathered and leveraged by these sales closes should be in your possession well before you even consider bringing the plane in for a landing. Your sales process in the dialogue and prescription will give you all the information you need to work with the prospect or client and enable you to close the sale. All you have to do is work your sales process, and the close will naturally follow. Again, as Nike says, “Just Do It!”
To get a better handle on making your case and presenting your ideas , download the playbook, Basics of Dynamic Sales Presentations here and present your ideas with power and passion!