Timid Salesmen Have Skinny Kids

The other day I was watching a class of sales students compete in a sales competition. The students were sharp, polished, and well prepared. They were quick to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the products that they were pitching. The students responded empathetically to their buyer’s concerns, using the concern as a means to highlight the key benefits of the product. All in all, the students’ sales were magnificent. The bad news … not one student achieved a sale. Each student nailed the entire sale, but then failed to close. In fact, one student had the buyer telling them how much he wanted to buy from them, but got so lost proving how good the product was that he never got around to closing the sale.

Sales is all about closing. A powerful close will often make up for a mediocre sales pitch, and a weak close can ruin even the most powerful pitch.

Do Your Homework
Proper preparation will make a close smooth and natural. Prepare by getting a firm understanding of the buyer, his or her ability to pay, the industry, and appropriate pricing. Put together a basic contract before you even go in to the sale. It may be worth having that contract on hand. One never knows when they will meet a buyer who is ready to buy right now. Predetermine the price and service that you will offer. This helps you avoid looking foolish trying to guess how much you charge or skimming down a service offering in front of the buyer.

Be Direct
The potential for rejection can be paralyzing. Many salespeople dread asking the simple question, “Will you sign?” Stop beating around the bush elaborating on the products features or hammering the service’s potential value to the buyer and get a commitment to buy. Avoid shortchanging yourself. You can be in control of the close. If the buyer is interested, ask for the full price and full cooperation. Be clear in presenting the product or services potential and limits. Undersell and over deliver is a good policy, especially in the hyper connected small and medium business arena.

Finish the Close
The moment buyer starts talking about how much he or she needs your product is the right time to close. You do not have to answer every objection or quell every possible concern right off the bat. Ask for a solid commitment to buy and then schedule the next steps. These next steps should be within the week. If you wait too long to follow up, the odds of losing your client skyrocket. Have the buyer commit to a time to sign the contract. Also, if you are selling a service arrange at least one pre and one post job meetings. This will help you solidify the details of the arrangement, answer any concerns, and secure additional work.

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