Over the years I’ve known many skilled salespeople and the one thing that they all have in common is the ability to close the deal. Some have it naturally and others have had to work at it of course. With the natural ones, that doesn’t mean to say that they are good at everything, not at all in fact. They have all had to be coached and trained in many areas from opening the sale and building rapport to improving their questioning and listening skills. However, being able to ask for the business with no inhibition whatsoever seems to be a good place to start.
Even though they aren’t always subtle about how they do it, thankfully it is a skill which can be honed. Some people are just happy to say, “Can we do a deal?” and sometimes even before the have sold the product properly (which rarely ends in success). Polishing that skill for the ones who are naturally good at it can take as much time as taking the more timid individual to a place where they realise that asking for the business is our ultimate goal and ‘selling’ isn’t a dirty word. It leads us to ask, what is the key to closing the sale? Well here’s some pointers that came out of a recent sales meeting I attended.
We had this discussion in a sales meeting not too long ago and it seems to me that the most important thing we can do is really engage with our customer. That is to say, we need to really understand their position and what they need form the deal. Establish what their ‘red lines’ are and find out what it is that they most want or indeed need from the proposition you have. Only then can we fully satisfy them and ask with total confidence, “Are we in business?”.
Part of that process comes from knowing who your customers are. As the saying goes, reconnaissance is never wasted. Even the slightest clue as to what they are looking for is useful and being able to match these needs is of course the key to making them happy with your proposition. So, find out as much as you can about your customer and any details you can discover will help in matching their needs and closing the deal.
This of course comes from having good questioning and listening skills. But as you may have found if you have performed a detailed Google search on a given subject for example, often the key is asking the right question, not just asking lots of questions. If you ask them what they want from the deal and they tell you, then (in theory) all you have to do it give it to them; right? Of course, it is not always as simple as that as there may well be things in their answers that you know you cannot give.
However, find an alternative and sell the benefits of that to them within the context of your solution. You may find that 95% good enough will do in some parts of your solution and they can accept your alternative for that element of it making the whole solution acceptable.
All of this creates and air of cooperation and suggests that you are working hard to find an accurate solution for them. Offering up something of added value such as a flexible payment plan, support in the field or bonus points for over-ordering etc. can all lead to making your proposition that much more attractive than your opposition.
All of which leads to an area that we touched on earlier, and the key word here is ‘solution’. Once salespeople have mastered the art of selling benefits rather than features (an old one I appreciate, but it’s always easier said than done), then they can really focus on selling solutions. This is the culmination of everything that you have to offer, which includes the product and any service level agreement as well as all your value-added stuff and of course the price.
This has to pinpoint the exact needs of your customer and leave them wanting for nothing. It will make closing the sale so much easier and for those who worry about the final question to clinch the deal then once you have done all this, a simple assumptive close with often do the job; “I’m glad you like everything that we have discussed here and I’ll arrange delivery for next Thursday for you”. Simple.
At Maguire Training, not only do we offer classroom-based courses and programmes, but we are also proud to offer a versatile and intuitive suite of over a hundred e-learning modules on our website, which covers a range of sales and customer service topics. Have a look at the on-line module ‘Closing the Sale’, which would be a perfect complement to the classroom-based sales courses we offer.
If you need further information then you could always call us of course on 0333 5777 144 for a no obligation discussion about your training requirements. Alternatively, simply hit the ‘Contact Us’ on any page of our website at www.maguiretraining.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you.
Either way it would be great to hear from you.