Several years ago, I attended a banquet for top salespeople. Before I gave my talk, the speaker introduced someone in the audience and said, "This man earned twice the national average in sales last year ..."
The speaker's manner suggested that it was quite an achievement. But, it has been done by many, so everyone craned their necks and looked at the man in puzzlement.
"... and he's totally blind." There was a burst of applause. When that finally quieted, the speaker said, "I'm sure that many of us are wondering how you got into the top third in sales achievement with your handicap."
"Wait a minute," the blind man replied, "I don't have a handicap, I have an advantage over every other salesperson in my field. I have never seen a product I've sold, so I have to close through my prospect's eyes. What I do is what all of you sighted people could do. You'd serve your clients better, and make more money if you did."
This is so true! You must see the benefits, the features and the limitations of your product or service from the buyer's viewpoint. You must weigh them on their scale of values, not your own. Once you are able to do that, you will be able to concentrate on your job of serving them. You will be able to empathize with their situation, their specific needs and radiate the confidence that you can help them.
There are certain signs you will begin to notice when they are ready to go ahead with your product or service.
1. When they change the pace of your discussion -- either by slowing it down or speeding it up.
2. When they start asking more questions about the product or service.
3. When they become more relaxed and less businesslike.
4. When they favor your test close. This would be a question about installation or start up of service that they answer without hesitation or when they give you an objection.
Now that you know they're ready, where do you close? Anywhere. If you are in their office, your showroom, your car, or even a restaurant, if they're ready, put your pen to paper. For many people there is a certain excitement about executing a decision, right now. Most of us feel joy and relief at having the mental strain behind us. We now see only the benefits of having the product or service already working for us. Don't spoil that mood for your customers by insisting on getting back to the office, or somewhere where you're comfortable to start writing up the agreement. You'll be taking the risk of having them cool off about their decision. To use an old cliche, "Strike while the iron is hot!"
Be aware that your buyer may be the kind of person who needs to be sitting at a desk or conference table to finalize any paperwork on a purchase. If they are, you should understand any hesitation and suggest that you get into a more appropriate setting before you begin putting things on paper. If you press that kind of person, they may quickly have second thoughts about the investment.
If buyers show hesitation once you've begun your closing sequence, you need to relax them and let the pressure off before continuing. Begin by apologizing to them for rushing things. Tell them that you get excited when you think about all the benefits they'll be receiving, and that you may have gotten a bit overzealous. Watch them closely here and when they begin to relax, summarize the benefits they already agreed to, using questions.
- "I know there are still a lot of questions in your mind, but this model is the size you wanted, isn't it?"
- "And the delivery date we discussed is okay, am I right?"
- "Our service agreement meets your company's needs, doesn't it?"
Once you've covered all the minor agreements, ask a lead-in question and try another close. A lead-in question would be something like, "I know I covered that list of items rather quickly, but those are the things we've discussed so far, and we have agreed on them, haven't we?"
If they still show hesitation, I suggest you move on to the "Similar Situation" Close.
The "Similar Situation" close is one in which you tell them about another client who had needs much like theirs. They hesitated at first, but finally agreed to go ahead with the investment and today they are so happy they did. They realized all the benefits you had discussed in your presentation and a few others they hadn't thought of previous to making their decision.
After each transaction make notes on the situation and the resolution of each client's challenges. This way, you'll have a large inventory of similar situations you can draw from when a new client shows hesitation. Once they see that you've helped someone in the same type of situation before, it'll build their confidence in your ability to do the same for them.
Once they understand that your main interest is in serving their needs, not your own pocketbook, they'll relax and let you see exactly what they see through their eyes.
Tom Hopkins has trained over 5 million sales professionals on 5 continents. Download a free MP3 of his formula to quickly qualify potential buyers here: http://www.tomhopkins.com/salesacademy. The MP3 link is halfway down the page.