Hello and thank you for visiting my blog.
This is the sixth part of my series about the sales process.
If you haven’t yet read my earlier posts I advise you to start with them.
Sales Process Step 1 – Activity
Sales Process Part 2 – Prospecting Sales Process part 3 – Presentation, Do something unexpected!
Sales Process part 4 – Needs Analysis, Whats in it for me?
Sales Process part 5 – Product Presentation, How can I help you?
Sales Process part 6 – Sales Arguments, Can you handle the heat?
The first thing I want you to do is put yourself in the seat of your customer. When buying a product from you, what are they after?
Often I hear salesman, when going for the close ask a question like; “What is your billing address?”
This is a hard close that is often used. But the billing address is what the salesman is after, it is not what the customer wants and can often offend them and of course remind them about the bill you are sending.
I would rather phrase is like this;
“How quickly do you want to be able to use this feature that solves your problems?”
This is what the customer is after and will much more likely get you the answer;
“Well, as soon as possible I suppose.”
This of course meaning that the deal is all but made.
Now there are a lot of different techniques when going after the close.
You have the hard close, the soft close, the alternative choice close and letting the customer buy.
My personal favorite is the alternative choice technique but I’ll get back to my reasons for that in a minute.
The Hard Close
The hard close is often used in telemarketing, vacuum cleaner sales, insurance sales and car sales.
It is where you basically take you customer buy the hand and force them into signing the contract.
Sometimes this is required. Customers are often to afraid to make a mistake to dare say yes. In this case you have to force the customer to make the deal.
If you are to get loyal customers that like you, your company and your product it is very important that after a hard close to be very kind and helpful will the following processes. I will go more into in my next article.
The Soft Close
The soft close is a more discreet way of closing. Basically it is very respectful to the customer. Often it entails answering every possible question that the consumer may have and the just laying the contract on the table and saying, well if you don’t have any more questions, how about we make it official?
Can be very affective, but often it leads to the customer getting to much information, asking for a brochure and the promise that they will get back to you.
Sadly, people usually won’t get back to you.
The Alternative Choice Method
This close is very much like the hard close and is often used in the same situations. But the approach is a little different.
When giving a customer alternative choices you must really think like the customer. What is it they want? What are they looking for?
From this you can find some different ways in which they would like the process to unfold.
For Example, say we are selling a car (a subject I know very little about) and we have just test driven a car. When you come back this is what you might say; “Well then, that went well. Now as you have kids (Something you already have asked about earlier) I would recommend having a TV in the backseat so they don’t disturb you whilst driving. Would it be best for you with one or two?”
This is probably a horrible example as I don’t know anything about cars. But in the event a salesman would ask me this question my answer would be; “Well of course we need two!”
And all of a sudden I have bought the car. Because people are cowards. Just as they have problems saying yes, they have problems saying no once they have said yes!
Letting the customer buy your product
This isn’t really a technique but more of a mistake that salesmen do when trying to make a sell.
They get scared.
It has all been going so well, you don’t want to ruin this report you got going. A closing offer might just ruin everything. You have answered their questions and they are on the verge of buying the product. But instead of asking for the deal you just sit and wait for the customer to say something like “Where do we sign?”.
Customers almost never ask this question. If you don’t get them to buy now they will say “Great, this sounds great. I’m going to discuss this with my colleagues and we will get back to you. ok?”
Once this has been said you go out the door, and never hear from them again.
Don’t be afraid of selling to you customer. Especially not with a soft close or a alternative choice close. The hole point of the report you have built with your customer is to make money of it. It doesn’t matter if you are the most popular salesman in the world if you never make a deal!
In my next article I will go into how you create loyal customers and I promise it has Nothing to do with your closing technique.
Thank you very much for reading my article.
Cheers to you!