Closing sales. We need to know (as much as possible) where we are in the sales process, so we know what best to next for both our-self and our client, and whether investing our time in this opportunity is a good investment.
One study showed (see James Muir’s excellent book ‘The Perfect Close’) that asking just one closing question raised the percentage of successful sales from 25% to 61%. So we can’t assume sales will close themselves. However James also suggest that beyond the first attempt there is often a negative correlation between closing frequency and sales success.
It’s also worth being aware that making any important decision can be stressful, so it’s natural that your buyer may be reticent in making a decision. This is where any previous time spent in building rapport and trust can pay off.
As a buyer I was always happy when a salesman (or woman) asked me questions like “What’s the next step to move the sale forward?” “Where are we? I have to report back to my CEO?” “This might be a useful next step”, or “Are you ready to commit, now? So I can sort all the administration out and you can move forward.”
I was extremely unhappy if I thought the salesman (or woman) was attempting to ‘bounce’ or ‘manipulate’ me into making a decision. Sales closes are a bit like NLP techniques, the best practitioners weave them into the conversation so they’re only noticed in the context of doing what’s best for both parties. They’re useful, but how you use them if often more important than the words themselves. If you’re in the right state and have an appropriate belief set, almost whatever you do will work.
So What does James recommend as a good approach for closing sales? We can’t expect sales to close themselves!
His suggestion is to guide customers through advances and closing by asking:
Initial Question: “Does it make sense for us to X?” Follow-Up Question: “What is a good next step?”
Or the reverse:
Initial Question: “What’s a good next step?” Follow Up Question: “Does it make sense for us to X”.
It’s a great start. The test, of course, is what work for you on your market. So look at all the options, which ever close(s) you choose, you need to be able to move sales forward and protect your and your clients time.
Next we consider: Value, proposals and negotiation
NLP Sales Section Index
Recommended Sales Books
2: Customer’s buying cycle
3: Questions to identify your initial problem and value statements
4: Getting appointments (framework script)
5: Handling classic and specific objections when getting appointments
6: Handling other objections when getting appointments
7: Advancing the sale
8: Closing (This page).
9: Value, proposals and negotiation
10: Implementation, case studies, referrals and testimonials
11: New Media
12: NLP approaches that make the difference.