Preparing for the Close

Find What Works 
Here’s a way one successful sales rep we know prepared themselves and conquered their fear of closing. First, they chose a couple of closing techniques that they felt comfortable with. They happened to prefer the Recommendation Close and the Di­rect Question Close. Then they wrote the actual words that they intended to use on a 3×5 card. They kept this card on the dashboard of their car and, as they drove between calls, they would glance at the card and repeat the words until they had committed them to memory. Then they worked on their attitude by telling themselves that they owed it to their customer, their company, and themselves to at least attempt a close at the appropriate time. The approach worked because they started getting more noes (as well as a few more yeses).

Prepare the Prospect to Buy
They learned something else, too. It wasn’t enough to just prepare themselves to make more closes; they had to prepare the customer as well. And how does one do that? By using trial closes. Many sales­people confuse trial closes with the Alter­nate Choice Close. A trial close is an opinion‑asking question, the answer to which tells you how receptive your pros­pect is to making a decision in your favor.

Some typical trial closes might be: “How does that sound?” “If you were to go ahead, when would you want delivery?” “How do you see yourself benefit­ing from… ?” “How do you feel about all this?” A positive response to any of these trial closes is usually a sign that you should ask for the order. The key is to have one or two trial closes committed to memory and ready to use. Do what this salesperson did ‑ write a few on 3×5 cards.

Remember: In closing, there’s no magic formula. Closing is 70 percent attitude, 20 percent technique and 10 percent skill. Prepare yourself, prepare the customer, and do the deed. You owe it to your customer, to your company, and most important of all, you owe it to yourself.

For more information on this topic, please refer to The Right Skills.

Salesforce Training & Consulting is a professional sales training firm and registered Consulting Partner based in Toronto, with offices in Boston and Chicago, providing sales coaching, sales management consulting, salesforce implementation, sales training and sales personnel assessments.