“Always Be Closing” is a popular sales phrase that you have probably heard. It is often touted as the “ABC’s of Sales”. But this phrase is often misunderstood as being all about the spurring on and encouraging the salesperson to go in for the kill – the close – and then move on to the next one.
If you have learned anything from this series, I hope it is that sales is NOT about you, the salesperson, but it is all about THEM, the prospect.
That said, I do believe that you always need to be working towards the close. Let me explain what I mean.
Be clear about the process
Closing becomes easier if you have done your work all along the way. Signing the contract should be the culmination and confirmation of all the discussions you have had. The contract should hold no surprises and is just a formality. They should be ‘buying-in’ all along. The Close is just the logical next step in the Sales process.
Is it a fit?
Early on, you need to pre-qualify the prospect. Spending time and money with a prospect who cannot afford your product or services is time and money wasted. Discuss and get buy-in on the budget before investing time and resources.
Periodically use phrases like, ‘wouldn’t you agree?’ and ‘did I get that right?‘ to make sure you are on the same page and to anchor all of you in your new, advanced location as you move along in the sales process.
Are all the Decision Makers present?
Spending your time selling to someone who is not in a position to actually close the deal is a huge mistake. Make sure you understand, up front, who will be the one to authorize the sale and be sure that they are in on the discussions. Don’t waste your time with gatekeepers or anyone less than the decision maker(s).
Check for conflicts
Periodically ask to see what problems or obstacles your prospects may see with the proposed plan. It is important to identify and address these before moving forward.
Whenever a new decision maker enters the mix, check with them as well. Request and respect their point of view.
Knowledge = Power
You need to glean as much knowledge as you can from your prospect and the company. You need knowledge of their needs, their pain points, their past experience and most importantly, their expectations. Then you need to use that knowledge to craft your pitch and sell your solution.
We train our salespeople to incorporate ‘trial closes’ into their sales process. All along the way, they are making small ‘closes’ which make the final close much easier. Think of it as a way to ‘take the temperature’ of the room and confirm that you are on the right track.
‘What would you like to see happen next?’ OR ‘What should next steps look like?’
I like to use one of these phrases when I wrap up my presentations. It allows THEM to bring up and request that I send a contract. This way, rather than my pushing it on them, they have requested it. This is a subtle but important difference.
I send contracts the afternoon before our next meeting. This allows them enough time to review it, but it isn’t available for extensive examination. Then we go over it together, at the meeting, and get it signed.
Since you are aware of their needs and pain points, it makes it easy to show how your solution will address them. And your contract should be in alignment with their expectations since you will have clarified these previously. There really should not be any surprises at this point.
Yes, legal reviews can take time and slow down your close but if you have a well-designed solution that underscores and addresses their pain points, your prospect should be able to successfully shepherd the contract through the process.
This is just the beginning!
Try to identify and address any ‘buyer’s remorse’ before it has time to take root. The close is not the end but the beginning, of the relationship!
A real pro will mention, at the close, ‘Oh, and by the way – to prepare you – I will come to you in about 3 months to ask you for references. We are really looking forward to working with you and would love to work with more clients like you!’.
They may not remember you saying this, but it sets you up for a successful conversation when you make that request for references.
Do you and your team need help to successfully close more business? Give us a call at 908-879-2911 Or click here to use my Calendly link to arrange a time to speak.
Missed any previous posts in this Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success series?
Step 1 – The Cold Call
Step 2 – The First Meeting
Step 3 – Objections – Part 1
Step 3 – Objections – Part 2