The ultimate outcome of the selling process is to close the sale. Closing the sale is extremely problematic for most sales people often causing them to lose sight of this vital objective. Studies show that a vast majority of sales people never even try to close the sale by simply asking for the order. Some marketing executives estimate that as many as 50 % of all sales representatives quit after their first sales meeting and fewer that 12% persist until a buyer finally says “yes”.
It is imperative that you learn the art of asking for business, or your chances of consistently selling your products or services will be reduced significantly. When a sales presentation is made properly, the natural conclusion to the transaction is to close the deal. Most buyers expect to be asked to take action when your sales presentation is followed to its natural conclusion. At this point in a sale, you do not need to use special closing techniques you simply to ask for the business.
Closing is actually the easiest part of the selling process. However, most sales representatives and professionals do not believe that closing is easy, because most of today’s sales training teaches the closing process backward.
Using a marriage proposal as an analogy, marketing professional Steven Brown in American Salesman suggests that the emphasis on presentation and closing skills puts the sales or service industry professional in the position of a suitor in Victorian England. “He has barely met the girl, but convention demands that he propose marriage before he can get to know her. He uses a well-rehearsed speech to try to persuade her of his worthiness. He has no idea of whether his attention is welcome or utterly inappropriate. He’s terrified because everything hinges on her ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
An effective closing process turns the sales pyramid upside down, with the small point at the bottom. Closing should follow a patter similar to today’s marriage proposal. “Will you marry me?” is most often no more than a rhetorical question, of which both suitors should know the outcome, provided they have a well established relationship. As Brown suggests, “When he asks for her hand (or when she pops the question), he’s pretty sure of getting a ‘yes’. Closing a sales transaction the right way is a natural outcome of a relationship that is built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust.
Closing a sale is an integral part of an orchestrated selling process. By first building rapport with our prospect, you create the trust that is vital to closing a sale. No matter how wonderful your product or service is , people will not buy from you unless they trust you. By learning to ask closed-ended, attention-getting questions, you can open your prospect’s mind to ultimately accepting your presentation. Open-ended, probing questions can then be asked to learn about needs, hidden feelings, and problems tha can be solved by the specific products or services that you represent. By tailoring your demonstration to only those products or services that meet the needs or problems you uncover in your questioning, and by asking trial closing questions, you can determine how your prospect feels about your presentation and the suggested solution to your prospect’s problems. Then, by answering any questions or objections your prospect might have, you can set the stage for tying off the transaction. All that is left in the closing process is to simply ask for the business.
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