the Sale - a step in a process - not an end event
it amazing - Closing the sale is too often treated like the second
volume of a novel, when in fact it's just a chapter in the first
volume. Too many poor salespeople focus on just closing the sale,
(or the listing) rather than doing what the top salespeople do
- focus on the relationship and then closing the sale.
So let's look at a few principles that can guide us through the
subject of closing the sale.
Closing the sale is only a natural conclusion to a process
No matter how good your tricky or clever closing techniques,
you won't close a poor prospect
Closing the sale starts at the beginning of the sales process
- not the end.
Closing Skills are only as important as your attitude to
closing the sale.
Building a relationship through a consultative approach
can lead to closing a sale after closing on the relationship.
Typically we see many salespeople trying to close the sale only
at the end of the presentation. A sale is like the planks on a
bridge - you nail them down one at a time - leave a gap and the
sale falls through. Yes, selling and closing, is based around
closing a current prospect by providing a service or product that
solves one of their pressing needs.
But it is more about building and closing a trusting relationship
and partnership with them. Our clients have ever changing needs
- these evolve and mature -often providing us with a chain of
transactions over our careers, if only we close on the relationship.
So it could be time to look at some of our closing techniques
We may have been taught over the years that we need to use techniques
"Get it before the price goes up"
"Be quick, there is another offer coming"
"Which would you prefer, the townhouse at Smith St or this new
These techniques can sometimes work but they only focus on how
this current product or service will solve our prospects
I guess you have to start the sales process somewhere and the
key is to create yourself as a resource - or consultant - for
this prospect/client. Start to build the relationship before even
attempting to close the sale.
The place to start is by reviewing your personal selling and closing
philosophy. If you are one of those salespeople who are intent
on doing just this deal/sale - moving this product and on to the
next - selling this home to the first buyer who comes along, without
proper marketing - then your focus is on the short-term.
Long-term sales success may well come from being prepared to risk
this immediate sale. If you are to develop a long-term relationship
with a new prospect/client you should not be focused on the order
as much as you need to focus on the relationship.
Far more importance needs to placed on:
Your rapport building skills, your questioning and listening
Your observation skills - especially body language
Your skills at constructing features and benefits
Analysing needs and wants
Educating your client as to their options
Understanding the clients previous experience
The clients motivations and timeframes
The future chain of sales with this prospect
Relationships are rather dynamic things - they either get better
or worse. The key is to manage yourself so that the relationship
gets better. Not only will it lead to more sales with this prospect
but it will lead to a growing number of referrals.
The keys to this are:
No hidden personal agendas
Quality value added communication
Developing all these with a new prospect you have not yet sold
to is quite easy if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Take a consultative approach. It is their home so treat it that
way. They may have sold before or already have been on the market.
Their experience to- date and their unspoken agendas, will provide
them with an instant benchmark to judge your style, direction
and skill. So provide information, guide them to a quality solution,
make recommendations that meet their needs and you can be pleasantly
surprised how quickly the relationship will develop.
Are there other products and services that these prospect needs,
that you can supply, recommend or refer?
From my own experience in my current training role I am continually
reminded of the give and you will receive philosophy. I am always
giving away tips at my own cost, giving free sessions to individuals
in need of a little guidance and direction, copies of new approaches
to sales I have developed and whilst it might look like I'm giving
my service or product away, that initial relationship always pays
me back ten-fold.
Let people know you are as interested in their success
as much as your own
Don't be threatened by the competition and show your belief
in your own service or product by sharing all you know.
Clients want value today - in both service and product - indeed
they will pay more for real value. Differentiate yourself from
your competitors by:
being prepared to give plenty of free guidance and advice
by acting on their answers to your questions
by being prepared to recommend a range of choices
never criticizing your competitors
providing evidence that your product or service will provide
the solution they want.
Spend enough time and give enough service that you create the
"If Ian does this much before he lists our house/sells us
a house, we can be confident he will do even more once he has
listed/sold for us"
Set high expectations for service and then work hard to keep the
business and earn referrals and the right to use these clients
as a reference.
We all know it costs more time, energy and resources to create
a new customer than it does to keep and nurture an existing one.
Whilst a continual flow of new customers is vital to grow your
business we must not under estimate the ability of our existing
client relationships to assist in this growth. Are you spending
enough time to create new business from existing clients?
None of this takes away the responsibility to ask the closing
question. Few clients automatically give you their business. You
still have to ask for it.
"Seems to me, that you like most things about this house. Could
this be the one? "
"From your response it seems like you prefer this option. Am I
correct in assuming that?"
So is closing a strategy or an attitude? A skill or a philosophy?
The long term client relationships and chains of transactions
surround the salespeople who stand in the market saying "I
am here to help you"
Remember that lovely line in that little book "The One-Minute
"I only get what I want when they get what they want"