Watching people “close” gives me a rush. I feel the tingles and excitement almost as if I am the one closing the deal. In business, it’s the ultimate prize where you get to take home some cash, but it’s much more than that.
It’s the expression of a skill that has been studied and learned. For me it’s like watching a figure skater at the Olympics. It’s a thing of beauty, borne out of years of toil. When it’s good it’s great, when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good! Only if it ends in a deal of course.
Closing Is Not Just For Salespeople
Anybody, in any business, needs to learn how to close a sale. If you are in business and you know nothing about sales closing, you really know nothing about your customers.
Let me explain…
In any functioning business, at any time there is a “pipeline” of prospective customers. These people have seen your offer and have a level of interest, ranging from not interested to very interested.
Most of the interested people will not take charge and make an order. Some will, but many will not. The rest will make a decision after being “closed” by a representative.
This is very interesting…
Why do they wait to be “sold” or “closed”?
There are two reasons:
1) They “cool down” or forget
2) They have an objection that has not yet been dealt with.
So when you have a process for “closing” sales, you convert people from category 1) before they lose interest and you convert prospects in category 2 by dealing with the prospects.
So here is why the skill of “closing” is important for any business (not just direct selling companies). It forces you to know every possible “objection” that prospects could have in respect to your offer.
So when it comes to writing copy for ads or creating sales pages, you know what the objections are preemptively. You can therefore include them in your sales copy at certain points to reduce prospect anxiety when the prospect reaches your call to action.
So closing sales is about dealing with objections and objections are signposts to the sale.
If you know all of the objections, you really know your customers and what they want.
Objections – Signposts to the sale.
I want to make it clear that there are two types of objections and we must treat them differently:
1) “I want to buy but..”
2) ” I just want attention”
The first type of objection is genuine. This typically means the prospect is interested in buying, but they are worried about something. The most important thing is to get the prospect to open up and tell us.
We really need to find a way that will encourage the customer to express what they are worried about. We need to coax and pry this information out. Some people have a wall up, but for the most part some skilled questioning will cause the prospect to spill the beans.
Once we know which particular objection we have to handle, you can almost write the deal on the whiteboard as a “done deal”.
It is not always possible to extract the objection from the prospect. Take online marketing for example. When I write a landing page, I prepare by brainstorming all of the most common objections. Then I resolve the objections throughout the sales copy.
The most important thing is that we learn and understand the “closing” process even if we never actually talk directly to prospects. It helps us produce persuasive sales copy.
In the next section we will discuss some different ways to confirm the objection and how to close it.
Confirm the Objection
You need to know where you stand with objections. What exactly is the objection that the prospect has. Is it a real objection or is the prospect trying to hide the real objection? Or is the customer just enjoying the chat without ever intending to buy?
Sometimes sales reps get themselves in a muddle by “believing” the customer on face value. If a customer says ” I cannot afford to buy”, that might be true but it also could be untrue. Maybe they mean, “I am ready to buy if you reduce the price”.
So it is important that we hit the prospect with some questions, so we can ascertain what the real objection is (if there is one).the offline world this is done through questions. In online marketing we guess the most common objections and deal with them several times throughout the sales page.
In person you need to “crack open the prospect”.
Why are they stalling? Are they shopping my price to other suppliers? Is the price out of budget? Does their partner disagree with their selection? Are they not actually the decision maker for purchases? Do they have an arrangement with a supplier to match any written quotes? Are they confused about one of the product features? Is the product going to require a lot of re-training at their company? Do they feel your offer lacks value?
There are many reasons for these types of stalling objections and it is too difficult to guess. The way to solve this puzzle is by asking some soft questions. You just want to get them to open up. You need to know what the real and deciding objection is. Some of these questions are assumptive which are very effective. If you get the assumption right, the prospect will open up like a can of tuna. If you get it wrong, the prospect will say, “It’s not that, it’s this”.
Here are some questions that will open up the prospect.
“__________, I can feel that something is not sitting right with you. Can you tell me what it is?”
“Is there something more to the story that I should know?”
“What specifically is it that you need to think about, is it the features?”
“__________, paint a picture for me, I can see you thinking about something”
“Ok, let’s do a progress check, where are you at with this?”
“Are you shopping around for alternatives?”
“What is the 1 biggest reason that is causing you hesitation?”
“I hear that you need to think about it. Which thing is it that you need to think about most?”
“I get the sense that , _________, is the most important sticking point. Can you tell me why?”
“Who will this decision impact most at your business?”
“If you went ahead with the purchase and it was not what you imagined, what impact would that have on you?”
“If you make the purchase and it ends up working out great, How will that impact you?”
“_________, interesting, what gave you that impression”
“Who do you have to confer with about this decision?”
“And what is your opinion about that?”
“Can you elaborate on that, please?”
“What is the opinion of the management team on this?”
“If you decide to follow through, do you have the funds organized?”
“Do you agree with their opinion? What is your take on the issue
“And how much say do you have when it comes to decisions?”
“When you say _________, I feel like there is something you are not telling me. What could it be?”
“There is something you are not telling me?”
“How does this align with your objectives at the moment?”
“This is the vibe I am getting _____________. Am I close?”
“Do you mean not if, but when you buy it?”
“If you get the go ahead to purchase, what month would you like to get it all finalized?”
“I don’t understand, can you spell it out for me?”
“How urgent is the decision deadline for this?”
“_________, from everything you have seen, do you feel that this is a smart and good use of your money?”
“What do I have to do to earn your business today?”
“What do you need me to do for you to make a decision now?”
“Ok let’s be frank and honest, what is holding you back here?”
“What is stopping you from pulling the trigger on this deal?”
“Is there anything that I can do today, to get you over the line?”
“What is it going to take for us to get this done together?”
“Is there something I need to know?”
There are many ways to get the prospect to open up. Find some that work for you and suit your personality. Practice them and you should find that you can start slotting them in comfortably in the right contexts. It really helps you determine who are the hottest leads, who are nearly there and who has no intention of doing business.
These phrases help you find out what the objections are. But what do you do, once you find out. In the next section we will talk about the most common objections and how to deal with them.
Dealing With The Main Objections
“I hear you, pricing is always something that needs careful consideration. I just encourage you to factor in the cost savings/increased productivity that this investment will bring. I mean that’s the bottom line, if this investment improves your productivity more than what it costs then the price is justified, as long as we are competitively priced, which we are. Would you agree?”
“Then here’s what we are going to do next”
“I hear what you are saying about price. Let’s take price out of the equation. Other than price is there any other reason for you not to move forward today?”
“I understand, ok let me ask you this, if the product was within your budget, would you make your decision today?
“Ok great, so we are in full agreement, let’s get creative with getting funds to move forward”
“Your two options are 1, put it on your Visa or Mastercard and pay it off later or take advantage of our no money down finance, with 30 days interest free and you can spread it out to get the repayments right down. In the meantime you can take ownership of the product this afternoon. Which of those two payment options do you like?
“You said the price is too high. I don’t hear that often, but I have certainly heard it before. What are you comparing it to when you say it’s too high?”
Soften The Price So You Don’t Get Tripped Up
“That price is just a price range, I will explain how that works shortly.
Continue on with the sales pitch.
“There is a few options with pricing, let’s first cover how the product works and how most people use it for great benefit.”
Continue on with the sales pitch.
“At this early stage there is quite a bit more that you get so I think you will see the price differently once you see everything that is included”
I am not asking you to buy this right now, in fact if I think it’s not a good fit for you, I won’t sell it to you. So let’s continue on
“By the end you will have a clear idea as to what you want to do next, whatever that may be. Okay?”
Continue on with the sales pitch.
“Let’s put the whole price thing to the side for a moment. We still don’t even know if this product is a right fit for you yet. I will give you a full run down and answer
“We Had Something Similar & Were Not Happy With It” Objection
“The way technology works is that it is constantly evolving via software updates. Constant improvement and constant updates. The current release has been improved and updated dozens of times since then. It’s like comparing the first iphone with the current iphone. No comparison”
Let me point out just two things that are different.
(point out features that your prospect would likely like)
(Point out two or three features you know are perfect for your prospect, then continue pitching)
“I’ll Have to Speak with. . . .”
“As far as you know, when is your feeling that they will be ready to take action?”
“When do they have the decision scheduled into their timeline”
“Tell me more about the whole process. What do they need to do before making a decision.”
“Would you say that they are looking for a solution right now or just doing homework about possible solutions at this stage?”
“Knowing them, what will be the biggest question that they have?”
“Did that give you this as a specific task or is this all your idea? ”
“What is the first thing that they will ask you about it?”
My Friend Does That For Me
“Loyalty is great and I don’t want to get in the way of that, so what I will do is just a quote just so you can tell if you are still getting a good deal, sound fair?”