Closing the sale is not difficult if everything is handled properly throughout your presentation. Effective closing methods do not pressure the prospect. Rather, effective closing methods focus on your prospects’ dominant buying motives.

When large, complex sales are involved, try to achieve incremental commitments. By this, I mean ask your prospects to make small commitments at first so that over time, they become willing to make larger commitments.

If they are not in a position to say “yes” to purchasing a major, complex product that is very expensive, perhaps they could make a commitment to get back to you by a certain date, or to read your proposal by a certain date.

Avoid pressuring your prospects. Yet at the same time, get them to make commitments they can say “yes” to.

Avoid surprises

Often, sales staff go through a presentation talking about the features and benefits of their product or service but neglect to mention the price.

Then, right at the end of the presentation, at the close of the sale, the prospect is shocked at how expensive the product is.

Your prospect should be given a clear idea of what his investment will be right from the beginning. This is all part of qualifying your prospect from the start.

When people approach me for sales training or sales coaching, I let them know up front what a typical investment in training or coaching would be.

I ask them directly: “Can you afford this at this time?”

When they answer “no” to that question, you need to stop talking to them.

If the answer is “yes”, you continue talking with them by showing them what they get for that investment.

Prospects need at least a ballpark figure from the start. You want to avoid surprises at the close. It is a lot easier to demonstrate value than it is to make concessions on price.

Ask four times

Don’t give up after asking for the sale once.

I have heard that 80 per cent of sales staff give up after asking for the sale only once.

I have also heard that 80 per cent of sales occur when they ask for the sale four times.

Children are masters of closing techniques. When a child wants something in the grocery store, he will ask for it (close).

The parent may say no (objection).

But the child doesn’t give up. He will usually ask: “Why not?”(asking to clarify the objection).

The parent may explain that it is unhealthy (clarifying the objection).

The child responds by saying it must be ok if other kids are eating it (proof device).

He will then ask for the food again (close).

The parent responds by saying “no” (objection).

The child asks why not again (asking to clarify the objection).

The parent responds with, “Because I said so!” (clarifying the objection).

The child starts crying or screaming.

Parents sometimes give in because they perceive the reward of having the child stop crying is greater than the risk of buying the unhealthy snack. The child has closed the sale!

The quickest way for you to increase your sales is to simply ask for the sale several times during your presentation.

Understand and answer your prospects’ objections, taking into account what they perceive as risks and rewards.

Closing the sale

What are some specific methods of closing the sale?

One way is to ask prospects what they would like to do now.

For instance, often when I am speaking to a prospect after my presentation and he seems interested, I will ask him: “So what would you like to do now?”

I might also ask: “When would you like to get started?” This question is more presumptive than the first example.

Or I might say: “All you need to get started right now is a deposit.”

You could try addressing the issue of deposits by saying: “Clients typically make full payment in advance or make a 50 per cent initial deposit. Which would you prefer?”

Most clients will opt for the 50 per cent deposit, which is what you wanted anyway, isn’t it?

Notice that you are framing the conversation around the amount of the initial deposit, not around the issue of making an initial deposit.

If you have earned your prospect’s respect and built a strong relationship with him, you could even begin writing up the order and ask which address you should send the invoice to.