‘Always try to close a sale’ is one of the most frequent advices given by sales experts. Here are 7 techniques that can help, but don’t forget the “Golden Moment”, that precious moment dedicated to improving the relationship.
One of the main tasks of a sales person is to seek any opportunity for closing a sale. This aspect is described by a special acronym – ABC – that stands for “Always Be Closing”. No one knows where this acronym exactly comes from, but it is very much on-target.
It is true that in practice it can be rather difficult. Repeated attempts to force a sale may irritate a client and, after all, no one likes to be thought annoying. A sales person, however, should strive to improve his or her communication skills by practicing the use of some sale closing techniques.
Conditional close technique
How is this applied? You imagine a condition and you base the closing question on resolving this condition: “If I got you the doors of this colour, would you be ready to sign the order?” Use it to check your progress and discover what you can still do to close the deal. The direct question: “What must I do to seal the deal?” is a bit too explicit and usually reveals some weakness on the part of the person posing the question.
The conditional close reminds the client of the ultimate purpose of your efforts. It keeps your relationship as cordial and non-conflictual as possible.
Alternative close technique
Offer the client two alternatives. In this way the client is led to decide not on whether he will buy but on which of the two alternatives he will buy, considering the decision as a general approval for proceeding with the sale.
- “For your room, do you prefer the grey oak door or the bleached white door?”
- “Do you prefer the solid colour frame or the two-tone frame, with grey on the outside and wood-finish on the inside?”
- “Which would be the best day for taking the measurements: Tuesday morning or Thursday afternoon?”
This technique can also be used during a presentation.
Minor points close technique
The aim is to get the client’s decision about one or more minor points, points that apparently don’t commit him but that in actual fact amount to an agreement. It is a soft technique that gets the client’s decision about an insignificant aspect of the proposal, but if one obtains many partial decisions, this gives rise to the assumption that the agreement regards the entire proposal. You can pose the following questions: “Which would be the best days for delivery?”, or “Where are the doors and windows to be delivered?”, or even “Will you see to the disposal of the old doors and windows?”.
List of benefits close technique
When the sales person is about to illustrate the benefits the client will gain with the new windows, he or she also draws a list of these benefits: “Look, Mr. Smith, here is a list of how much your life will improve with the new windows …”.
Balance-sheet close technique
This is a variant of the previous technique. The sales person divides a piece of paper in two by drawing a vertical line. At the top of one column he/she writes PROS and writes in all of the benefits the client will gain. Then he/she writes CONS at the top of the other, and passes the sheet of paper to the client, asking him to fill in the column. Even visually, this column will look less significant than that of the PROS.
Assumptive close technique
This consists in acting and speaking as if the client had already decided to buy, even if he hasn’t done so openly. The client is not asked to make a decision. The sales person must simply speak about how satisfied the client will be with the product now that he owns it. One could say, for example: “You’ll see how refreshed you will feel after sleeping undisturbed with your new windows!”.
Ownership close technique
The client is torn between hesitancy on the one hand and desire on the other, that must be reinforced by anticipating ownership. This is what all clothing sales persons do: they invite the client to try the clothes on and admire themselves in the mirror. With doors and windows, you must invite the client to try the product by opening and closing the product.
The Golden Moment
Roberto Gasparetti in his book “Comunicazione Consuasiva”, published for FrancoAngeli, speaks of a “Golden Moment” at the end of a sales process. It is not a closing technique, but a phase that follows immediately after. No matter whether the client has decided to buy or not, this Golden Moment occurs, and it is the moment in which the relationship must be solidly reinforced.
The client has accepted? You continue your speech without hurry. You develop and enhance the relationship component. This could prove useful in the post-sale phase.
The client has not accepted? No matter. The attention and care you have put in the relationship may help you on his next visit or with another proposal.
Give a clear signal that you have concluded negotiations: close the PC case, stand up. Wait for the client to lower his defences: you are now ‘unarmed’ and there is nothing more to fear.
Use this moment to:
- ask insightful questions;
- reassure him about your promises;
- better understand who he truly is;
- understand his language and his reasons for purchasing;
- reinforce your trustworthiness.