Entireweb Newsletter   *   May 15, 2007   *   ISSUE #335

To Close Or Not To Close

Are you choking when it comes time to close the sale? Here are some approaches that will make it easier.

Shakespeare might have put it this way:

To close or not to close, that is the question! Whether 'tis nobler to suffer possible rejection Or to invite the prospect to take action...

Independent Professionals have suffered the angst of closing ten thousand times more than Hamlet has recited his famous soliloquy on stage.

Two reasons:

1) Fear of rejection
2) Not knowing exactly what to say when closing.

The good news is that, if you understand number two, number one lessens considerably. In this article I'm going to share several closes for various selling situations.

First, imagine that you've had a good sales interview with the prospect. You've listened to their situation, know where they want to go, and you feel confident that your service is a good fit for them. You've explained how your service works, and now it's time to pop the question. But first...

What not to do:

I had a client who did the following every time: "OK, that's how my services work. Why don't you think about it and get back to me and let me know what you'd like to do."

No, no, a thousand times no!!

They'll think about it alright. They'll think themselves out of it. And when you get back to them, they'll tell you to call in three weeks or three months.

You need to ask. But you don't need to blurt out: "Well, would you like to work with me?" No, you can be more subtle than that and still close the sale comfortably. Here are a few ways to do that:

Assumptive Close

This is where it looks quite certain the prospect wants to move forward. So just assume they are ready and close like this:

"That's how our services work and I'm confident we can help you achieve the objectives you've outlined. Why don't we look at a time we can get started?"

Most often, they'll open their calendar and look for a time. If they have questions, they'll let you know: "Before we schedule something I have a few more questions."

Once you answer the questions satisfactorily, go back to the assumptive close. "So why don't we schedule a starting date and I'll send you some preparation materials before our first meeting."

Budget Close

You've discussed everything but price. You have a fixed price for your service or have figured out your price beforehand. This is one of my favorite closes - especially if I'm selling by phone.

"OK, that gives you an overview of what coaching would consist of and the results you can expect. The fee is $1500 per month. Does that work for your budget right now?"

If it doesn't work for their budget, they'll let you know and you can work with that. It's not unusual that people will say, "Well, no, but I need to do this anyway."

The Proposal Close

Use this when you cannot get the final agreement until you have submitted a proposal with a price. However, you must have conceptually agreed on everything else - problems, needs, objectives, value and your approach.

"We'll that sums it up. Your objectives are XYZ and we can definitely help you achieve them. I know I need to give you a final price, which I'll send in a proposal. If that's acceptable to you, I can start the project in about two weeks. Will that work for your schedule?"

If they say "Yes, looks good, I hope we can work together," then you simply need to deliver a proposal with an acceptable price tag. If they have other issues, they will bring them up: "Can you tell me a little more abut how ABC will work?"

Trial Close

This is not a final close, but a test to see if you are on track in the sales process.

Prospect: "Does the training come with any follow up?"

You: "We can certainly do that if you want to measure before and after performance. Is that important to you?"

If they say "Yes," your trial close has confirmed what they want and what they are likely to buy. A trial close is often used to follow up the answer to a question. Use trial closes throughout the sales interview. Here's another:

Prospect: "I'm not sure our people will be willing to do that."

You: "Many people are concerned about that, but we structure things so that we get very high participation. If we can do that, it will really improve results, won't it?"

The answer might go something like, "Well, if you can do that, it would definitely make a difference." You are building agreement and buy-in with every trial close.

You don't need a lot of closes. Once you've settled on a couple that work for you, continue to use them, with minor adjustments, at the end of every sales interview. Soon you'll be confident that you can close in a natural, confident way every time. I promise your sales will go up!

Robert Middleton, the owner of Action Plan Marketing, has been helping Independent Professionals be better marketers since 1984. On his web site ActionPlan.com, you can find valuable resources, products and programs for attracting more clients. Get a free copy of his Marketing Plan Sart-Up Kit.

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