This is the final part of a detailed look at the 5-Step Sales Process. So far we have looked at the importance of :-
- Building Rapport; [Link to #20]
- Asking Questions; [Link to #21]
- Establishing Need & Value-Add; [Link to #22]
- Proposing a Solution; [Link to #23]
– and now we will look at Closing the Sale – the part that puts the money in your pocket and commits you to doing the work.
Closing the sale doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In fact, by the time you have completed step #4 you should know quite clearly whether or not you are going to make the sale. If you find yourself losing sales at this point then you need to look closely at what you are doing in the previous steps. Maybe you are not listening hard enough in the early part of the discussion, or maybe you are rushing ahead to the close.
I always love it when we get to this part of the Confident Closing workshops and participants share about their experiences with closing. We had one that was extremely fascinating with two participants who had the same results (low sales closure rates) for completely opposite reasons. One man said that he was surprised when he walked away without closing a deal because prospects were always very, very interested in his product throughout the presentation, but when it came to the final decision they weren’t buying. We went through his sales presentation process as a role-pay exercise and then I asked the group, “Why doesn’t he close more sales?”
The answer came back immediately, “He never asked for the sale.”
The participant was amazed. “You wanted the product. You could see it’s value to your business. You told me that all the way through.”
“Yes, but you never told me how I could buy it or asked me to make a commitment. I almost felt like a dog that was being teased with a treat.”
It took a few minutes to convince him, but he finally realised what his problem was. “Wow! I’ve wasted so many opportunities just because I assumed that it was obvious that people should buy.”
I met with this man a few weeks later and he said, “Chandell, Confident Closing was amazing – totally worth the 2-days I invested in it; but it was those few minutes after I presented my sales pitch that have really transformed my business. I’ve changed my close rate from around 15% to over 80% just by adding 2 sentences to my pitch. ‘Do you think that would be of value to your business?’ and ‘Would you like to buy this?’ I can’t believe how much money I used to throw away.”
Anyway, we moved from this man’s sales process to one of the other men in the room. My first impression of this second man was, “Why has he come to Confident Closing? Surely he is already a fantastic sales person.”
It turned out that his closing rate was terrible, and I found that hard to believe, so when we came to the demonstration I asked him to come up and demonstrate his sales pitch. The woman he was selling to had a hard time answering any of his questions – because he kept answering them for her – and he arrived at the closing portion within about 4 minutes of starting his pitch after totally missing the boat on every single one of the preceding 4 steps.
By the time he asked for the sale (which he did brilliantly), he had told her 15 generic reasons why she needed his service for her business (most of which did not apply to her); he had not discovered anything particular about what she did and he’d offered about 4 solutions that were clearly generic. She had no reason to buy, and no interest in doing so, but he spent quite some time trying to persuade her.
He accepted the feedback, but clearly didn’t understand what people meant, so I offered to show him what it felt like. I used his exact tactics to sell him one of my programs (not a strategy I would EVER use in real life). After about 8 minutes he turned to us with a hunted look in his eyes. “I see what you mean. I feel as though I’ve been bludgeoned with a blunt axe and I don’t ever want to meet you again. There’s no way I would ever say ‘yes,’ to your offer, no matter how appealing it was.”
It was a very enlightening process for everyone in the room. This second man came back to a later training with me and he had completely revamped his sales process. The biggest lesson he learned was that if you spend enough time on the first 4 steps, you don’t need to bludgeon anyone into buying at step 5. When you ask for the sale, your ideal clients will simply agree to buy, and the others will go away with no regrets.
Do you have a favourite selling process? How is it working for you? Tell us about it in the comments.
Meta Description: Your sales conversation went really well, and you were sure that your prospect was going to buy, but you walk away without a firm deal. What happened? How can you make sure it doesn’t happen again.