How to close a sale is a vital skill to have for anyone who simply wants a job, a raise, to sell a product or service, or to get another person to do anything!
Closing is what is required to ensure you get what you want in life, both professionally and personally.
So, are YOU ready to close?
This thing called “closing” isn’t just something that salespeople do but something that applies to every person.
Nothing truly happens until you’re able to engender the support, energy, and resources of others.
As harsh as it may seem, “the close” is what separates those who have from those who don’t have.
This critical and vital ability is what differentiates the dreamer from the person that realizes his dreams!
You may think that’s an overstatement, but the only reason you know the names of people like…
- Abraham Lincoln
- Henry Ford
- Martin Luther King
- Walt Disney
- Bill Gates
- Barack Obama
…is because they were able to close others on their ideas!
They were able to instill support from others so they could get their ideas backed by money, energy, and effort.
The art of closing the sale is a needed skill of anyone that wants to move their ideas, dreams, products, and services into the marketplace.
The first thing you need to know about closing is this:
Selling is Not Closing
Have you ever met someone great at selling, demonstrating a product, building and talking about your company, but was terrible at closing the deal?
Maybe I am describing someone you work with or maybe that sounds like you.
Well, I understand because early in my selling career, I was good at the selling part and terrible at shutting down the deal.
There were times when I had everything going my way, I was confident my product was superior to everything else in the market, yet I didn’t even ask the client to buy the product.
Then one day, I was told: “Grant there is a big difference between selling the product and closing the deal. If you want to get good at both, you have to separate them as tasks.”
Two Things to Consider About the Close:
#1 No Close Means No Commission
Look, if you don’t close you don’t get paid. Selling the product is where the value proposition is made, closing the deal is where the agreement is made. These are two completely different arts. The close is such a talent it must be practiced as a different skill from selling.
#2 No Close Means No Exchange
You must understand that when you don’t attempt to close you aren’t attempting to actually get your offer, service or product into the hands of your customer. Until you close, can you offer any real value. When I started to understand these two points and followed up with a commitment to become a master at closing, the transaction was when I became a well-paid professional in sales.
Too Many Salespeople Spend Too Much Time Selling and No Time Closing
These two things—selling and closing—are completely different arts.
- Selling requires you to sell features, options and get emotional involvement.
- The close requires persistence and logic to make sense of getting your customer to make a decision.
Do you know how to create the bridge between selling and closing?
A bridge is something that is intended to reconcile or form a connection between two things.
If you are like any true sales professional, you are constantly looking for new ways to be more effective with your sales presentation.
One of the things I used to notice was that my sales team was presenting long after the buyer had seen enough. So, I took all of our presentations apart and broke them into five stages. At the end of each stage, I require them to ask a question, and this question is the bridge between selling and closing.
By using this simple bridge that I’m about to reveal, we dramatically increased the confidence of our sales team and our conversion rates.
“Have you seen enough to make a decision?”
This works like a miracle with customers. They will either say, “no I haven’t,” allowing you to continue with the presentation, or you will close 80% faster than previously.
Sometimes you will find out you didn’t even have the right decision-makers in the room.
The “have you seen enough to make a decision” is a bridge between selling and closing because it’s a question that gets you in communication with the client on where they are in their information gathering /decision making process.
Believe me, you don’t want to continue presenting long after the buyer has seen enough. Sometimes the buyer decides to take action before he or she agrees to take action, and long before you even get involved with the customer.
This is an amazing phenomenon, and once you get your head wrapped around it, it will help you increase your sales. I know veteran salespeople that are unable to wrap their head around this and spend more time selling than necessary.
Consider the possibility that you are actually slowing the customer down from buying when you go on and on presenting.
I was recently in a presentation with a buddy of mine who makes upward of $20 million in sales per year. While he was presenting his product to a customer of mine I interrupted him and asked, “have you seen enough to justify the price of John’s product?”
The customer said no and I told John to continue. John showed another feature and I asked the same question again, “have you seen enough to make a decision?”
This is the bridge between selling and closing. You need this bridge.
Now depending on your sales cycle, sales model, and possibly your product, this bridge could vary a little, so here are a few other similar bridges that we use that can accomplish different things.
- “What do you like about what you have seen up to this point?”
- “Up to this point, what problems do you see us helping out with?”
- “Have you seen enough to make sense of the investment?”
Whether you are selling cars or selling yourself on Tinder, use the “Have you seen enough to make a decision?” and you’ll spend less time selling and start closing.
The trial close is like a test to see the level of ownership a client has taken. This is near the end of the demonstration and gives you an idea of what they are thinking about with your product or service.
You can then adjust your presentation here to actually make the sale. The trial close is an attempt to start closing the sale before you enter the closing step. You’re taking temperature basically.
Trial closes are valuable and low risk. A trial close asks for an opinion while a close asks for a decision.
Your trial close is a measurement, not a commitment.
You measure where they are at. It’s the best diagnostic tool you have. It could be something like, “Sir, on the scale of 1-10, how would you rate your new phone?”
HERE ARE SOME TRIAL CLOSES YOU CAN USE:
- Hey, it looks like you really like this, is that true?
- If you took this home would you be proud to own this?
- Do you prefer the larger or smaller version?
- How would this look in your home?
These trial closes are assumption closes.
It’s like a recipe and you are checking to see if the oven is hot enough. Is the water boiling yet? Do you have mental ownership?
The trial close is indirect. Use it after you’ve done a strong pitch with your features, advantages, and benefits.
What do you want your new “thing” to do, that your last “thing” doesn’t do?
You can start trial closing even in the product selection. You can ask trial closes throughout your demonstration. Don’t wait until the end.
I knew a guy who would wait until after a 35-minute product demonstration before asking any trial closes. I told him, “you need to be asking people every 6 to 8 minutes”.
Keep Checking the Temperature
Be ready to get some reactions to trial closes. People will tell you that you’re moving too fast. “Slow down! I told you I’m not buying today.”
You want to start getting these objections because you are moving them down the path of the sales process.
Remember that customers don’t just buy products.
Whether they are buying a computer or a car, people wonder who’s going to take care of them. Who’s going to service them and back them?
People look around at your company and are asking themselves if the staff is friendly and reliable. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, sell the rest of the assets. Your buyer must have confidence in you and your company.
Make them feel like family and make efficient use of people’s time. Buyers want to know that somebody will be there for them tomorrow.
Introduce them to other departments. Introduce them to management.
Once you get hit with objections in trial closes, you need to know how to answer them.
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITES:
“I’m not buying today.”
Your Response: “Sir, that would be my fault, not yours.”
“We’re not buying until…”
Your Response: “No problem, let me give you some idea of cost when you are ready.”
“I need my wife, I need the CEO, I need my husband…”
Your Response: “I appreciate that, and I would want that as well. I want that person involved, follow me.
“I don’t have time…”
Your Response: “Sir, I understand you don’t have time, and time is valuable to you. I knew when you got here that you were short on time. Let’s get you some figures that you can live with so you can avoid spending any more of your time doing this.”
There are many more objections you’ll face trial closing and many, many more objections when you actually try and close. Get on my Advanced Sales Negotiation Certification to become a sales master and close deals down.
Universities around the nation should have curriculums on handling objections, but they don’t. Most salespeople don’t even know the difference between an objection and a complaint!
4 types of Common Objections Salespeople Get:
1. Time Objections
“I’m on my lunch break“, “I’ve only got 10 minutes“, “give me your card, I’m in a hurry“…what kind of customer acts like this?
Anyone who brings up time before you even have them on a product is a buyer.
Time indicates players and professionals. If someone tells you they are in a hurry, know they have a credit card on them and that they are a decision maker. If someone hits you with “I’ve only got 5 minutes”, reply, “5 minutes is perfect, let’s get busy.”
Don’t fight him over the five minutes. If he wants to hook up in five minutes, you should be good. The only reason a sales process takes time is your consideration of how long a sale should take, or you don’t handle people right.
Train yourself to control processes and you will get done in half the time that you think you can. So, when you get the time objection, remember you have a buyer and you can move faster than you think. Train yourself.
2. Financing Objections
If you are selling anything with contracts, you might be getting questions about financing.
You’ll get questions about terms, the length of time, cost of finance, what’s your credit requirement, what’s the down payment, and “what if I have bad credit?”
When you get these sensitive finance questions, agree and reassure.
When a customer says to you, for example, “How much will I have to put down?” you may not know, you don’t know their credit score, you may not even know what they are buying yet.
Just reassure them, “I’ll show you a number of choices and let you decide, including no money down—now which product are you interested in looking at?”
You answer the question without actually answering the question, and you began asking questions. Surrender, assure, and redirect.
3. Credit Objections
Any of you who sell things on financing have heard the “I have bad credit”.
At least they are being honest with you upfront.
You can be in a transaction with someone who you think has tons of money but who really is in financial trouble. Your ability to line up credit will determine your ability to make the sale.
Even if your business doesn’t offer to finance, most people have credit cards and the truth is credit cards are financing.
I can buy some expensive jewelry on my card and pay only $100 a month on it. It’s about your ability to handle the situation. “I understand you have bad credit sir, but that won’t stop you and me from doing business together.”
4. Payment Objections
The world is no longer on a price, they are making payments. I know people that finance a haircut.
I don’t care what you sell—life insurance, boats, homes, cars, furniture—people are going to be making payments.
Great word tracks to use when a customer asks about payments can include “I’d be happy to get you the payments, I want to make sure you are on the right product, then provide you with many payment options” or “My goal would be to move you up to a better product and keep your payments the same as they are now.”
Agree, assure, get them on the right product, and know that you will handle the payments in the close.
TOP 10 RULES TO CLOSE THE SALE:
#1 Always be seated.
Never present your proposal while you are standing. You don’t close the sale that way. Sell on your feet close from your seat!
#2 Always present in writing.
Never talk about your proposal without presenting it in writing. Always present with a contract rather than with a conversation.
#3 Always clearly communicate your proposal.
Don’t mumble. Clearly ask for the order to close the sale. “Sir if you don’t have any other reservations, sign here.”
#4 Always make eye contact.
Make direct eye contact with your customer, be confident and determined to earn the business now not later. Practice this often so that you can maintain eye contact to close the sale.
#5 Always have a pen available.
The sales person that doesn’t have a pen and contract ready is not a closer. Never be without a pen and contract so that when the opportunity is there, you don’t miss it.
#6 Use humor to relieve pressure.
I have never met a closer that didn’t know how to use humor to relieve pressure. I have hundreds of little one-liners to relieve pressure and close the sale.
#7 Always ask one more time!
Most salespeople never ask for the close one time, much less the 5-6 times that is necessary.
#8 Always have an arsenal of closes available.
You need to have closes for every possible stall and objection the buyer can throw at you. It’s human nature to resist a decision. Remember, the buyers don’t make sales, you do.
#9 Always stay with the buyer.
Never leave the buyer if possible. You want compression in the close so that the buyer cannot get away from the idea of making a decision. I’ve even traveled home with the customer in order to close the sale!
#10 Always treat the buyer like a buyer.
Regardless of the buyer’s financial situation or reasons for not being able to close, always continue to treat the buyer like a buyer despite what they tell you.
Have you ever known a salesman with an ego bigger than their closing ratio?
Be honest, have you ever lost a deal because your ego got in the way? I have!
You ever missed a deal and then found someone else or some other condition to blame? That is a false sense of your ability level–that is the ego that I am talking about.
A salesperson that thinks he knows but doesn’t really know, so blames failures on other conditions. A professional salesperson that fully accepts responsibility and understands there is always more to learn, knows there are things he/she doesn’t know that may be blocking them from the next level of sales production.
Ask yourself, have you ever blamed the customer, your management or some other condition?
- “He had bad credit.”
- “That guy was a flake.”
- “That lady doesn’t know what she wants.”
- “Had it not been for the financing I would have gotten that deal.”
- “If only management was more flexible.”
- “Our pricing is just not competitive.”
- “The guy down the street is whoring his product out and has ruined the market.”
These are all indications of a salesperson that is trying to explain away a failed sale. We have all done it.
The reality is if you are not taking responsibility for the outcome, learning something new each day and making adjustments to get better, then your ego is bigger than your paycheck.
The best salespeople I know, the truly great salespeople are confident and driven; they can strut around like a banty rooster, but are humble and open minded enough to know what they don’t know.
They got great not because of a pair of $800 shoes, but because they are willing to keep getting better at their trade.
Great salespeople study, train and role play because they know there is so much they don’t understand.
Your confidence can only grow out of certainty, not false confidence. Certainty comes from being a student and drilling until you KNOW your business.
In fact, even the best salespeople, the ones who are at the TOP of their game, continue to look at what they don’t know.
I talk to high performers all the time in my seminars who are at the very top of their industry, who have learned all they could but were still paying top dollar to attend my workshop and buy my products to stay in the game.
They know that no ego, no self-entitlement, or a false sense of superiority is worth getting in the way of closing a deal.
For those very reasons, those that lack the willingness to look at their deficiencies will always be trapped by their deficiencies. We all must truthfully assess our strengths and weaknesses, otherwise, we will be unable to make the necessary adjustments to create continued levels of success.
Dare you to confront just how much you know.
#1 REASON WHY YOU DON’T CLOSE: YOU NEVER ASK FOR THE CLOSE!
#2 REASON: YOU RUN OUT OF AMMO AND ARE UNABLE TO BE PERSISTENT.
Due to a lack of successful techniques and closing resources, salespeople are unable to persist in the close. Don’t blame it on lack of motivation, but rather realize that you just didn’t know what to say.
Like you would for your car, give yourself the right grade of fuel for optimum performance.
No matter how powerful the rocket, it won’t get anywhere without fuel.
The fuel for the Closer is closes. You’ll need hundreds of them to drill and rehearse with so that you can be loaded up and ready for any kind of deal with any type of person.
To close successfully comes with practice, a focused mindset, and refined skills. It’s never too late to fine-tune these techniques. You’ll be amazed by all the situations and people you will be able to use these closes on!
Inside a Close
Here’s what’s going on inside my mind during a sale:
HERE’S THE SITUATION…
A customer was objecting to signing a deal because he wanted $100 off.
Me: You’re talking about a $100, you need to worry about a million dollars. We don’t have any more money to give you. You’re going to spend $30,000 over the next 3 years. $100 doesn’t change it one way or the other.
Ok, I’m going to ask you a question now, alright? There’s one answer. Yay or nay? Yes or no?
If $100 is the decision maker, don’t do it. Because if you’re interested in $100 you need to go find a street corner to beg on.
Customer: That is true.
Me: Yay or nay?
Customer: Let’s do it.
I WANT TO WALK YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS OF CREATING A CLOSE…
The next time you have a pitch or sales presentation, it might be valuable to take a page from my playbook.
While not word for word, the above video was a combination of the Reduce to Ridiculous close and the Done Everything Possible close found in my Closer’s Survival Guide.
REDUCE — bring someone or something to a lower or weaker state, condition, or role. In this case to make an objection smaller or less important.
TIP: Always reduce objections to smaller numbers. The buyer always focuses on big numbers and you should not! Once a buyer makes a decision, he almost always makes it go right. And when buyers are done buying something from you, they always spend more money with someone else. Your job is to justify and make sense of the figures so the buyer can say yes.
(Notice in the video above how ridiculous I make the $100. He was objecting to $100 in a large deal, so I made the small number that he was objecting to seem ridiculous—which it was.)
(Notice in the video above I told him there is no more money for me to give him. I did all I could, now it was on him to make a decision.)
Remember to always learn, drill and drill some more until you are comfortable with a variety of closes for any situation that comes up.
Try These 3 Closes this Week!
#1 The Better to Live Rich Than Die Rich aka “The Juan Close”
“Look it’s better to live rich than to die rich so pay a little bit extra and get what you truly want.”
I learned this close from a great closer in Mexico years ago while on vacation. I was torn between two products and Juan hit me with this close. It was great.
I added it to my arsenal of closes and encourage you to try it. This close helps customers make a decision based on what they really want, which is what is most valuable to them.
#2 The Now and Later Close
“This is the price now; a month from now it will jump to this (insert higher price.) If you wait, you’ll be out hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. Today is the day to move on this. Let’s roll.”
This close creates urgency and uses facts and figures and logic to help the buyer make a decision. When you use this close, the buyer quickly sees the need to sign the deal and get it done today.
#3 The Quality Close
“Let’s get this done so you can be on your way enjoying the quality and great features of this product. You make quality decisions and you know great quality costs money. You love this product. Let’s get you on your way.”
This close is strong because you are closing them on the product quality and the fact they want it before the price. You’re also treating them with respect and acknowledging that they’re a smart buyer who wants the best value. Help them get that quality product and out the door to enjoy it.
The ability to close separates the dreamers from those who make dreams come true. Understand that closing doesn’t only apply to sales. Get used to closing others on your ideas.
Many people ace the presentation and demonstration of a product or service and still fail to close the deal.
Often, it’s because people have negative noise in their minds about closing. They are afraid of being too “sales-like.” You must break through this in order to truly be successful.
Switch the thinking towards closing with the purpose of helping people make decisions and watch your results grow these next few weeks.
If you learn to close, you will never be without work or money.
The ability to close and predict how transactions will play out will lead to more productivity and income.
Closing takes skill. It is not based on luck.
Begin by taking my Negotiating and Closing Masterclass today.
Remember that those who live, eat, and breathe their profession become great. Easy sales go down easy, but the rest of them require extra effort and persistence.
If you only have 3 or 4 closes you won’t always stay in the transaction long enough to close
Closing the customer is like taking a trip: you are limited by the amount of gas you have in the tank. A great closer will have more closes than the customer has objections, stalls, and reasons not to close.
That’s why I have over 100 closes in The Closer’s Survival Guide.
You must have an arsenal of closes to continue to ask, persist and to figure out other ways to circle back after being told no.
Being able to reposition yourself to ask again is ultimately what separates the greats from those who are average. This level of persistence is a social issue because we have all been made to believe it is bad, wrong, rude or unprofessional.
The reality is that persistence is necessary and vital to getting the extra sales closed and removing time from the sales cycle.
If you completely believe in your product, service, and your company you must be willing to persist to make extra sales and earn extra customers. If your purpose and mission are valuable you have an obligation to persist, and yes even pressure your buyer.
I once had a customer ask, “Are you pressuring me?” To which I calmly replied, “No, but I am willing to go there, because I know this is the best solution for you—now let’s do this.” Some of my very best customers required a high amount of pressure and persistence to close!
If you’re struggling each month it’s because you haven’t closed yourself on what you want out of life. If you can’t close yourself you can’t close your customers!
If you are struggling with the close you may need to review your financial goals. Financial goals are tied directly in with what you want out of life and when your financial needs are clear you will find yourself closing more sales.
Finally, remember that closing is a skill; it can be developed and crafted!