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Five Tips to Close a Sale

by Michael Hellerman

Five Tips to Close a Sale

The process of closing sales has more mystique than it deserves. Outdated advice fuels this mystique, like the ABC strategy in the classic movie Glengarry Glen Ross. It says that sales people should “Always Be Closing.” But buyers and business owners are more sophisticated now. Plus they have access to much more information than they ever have. This makes many of those old sales maxims obsolete. So, here are five real-world tips to help you close sales more effectively.

 

1. Make it Part of the Process

Most sales are not delivered by a buyer responding positively to a dramatic closing sentence. In fact, according to DemandGen, 90 percent of buyers say they seek out a supplier when they are ready to buy, as opposed to letting a salesperson convince them into a decision.

For you this means a sale evolves out of conversation or negotiation. It should flow naturally rather then reach some sort of crescendo. The best way to achieve this is to get positive reactions throughout the discussion. For example, get the buyer to confirm that what you are offering matches what they need – not as part of a close, but while you are giving your pitch. Once you have that positivity, start to move the discussion onto the next stage. This could be confirming delivery options or order quantities, for example.

 

2. Get the Timing Right

Moving the conversation into a sales-agreed mode is important. But if you try to do that too soon you might actually damage the prospect of getting the sale. You should let it flow naturally, so don’t jump in too quick.

And while every business should work hard to reduce the length of the sales cycle, it is important to note that current trends indicate they are getting longer. It can sometimes take up to 10 contacts with a customer to go from initial contact to completed sale depending on your industry. In most businesses, making those 10 contacts could take months. Understanding this is the first step to reducing the length of the sales cycle. In particular, you can optimize your approach with each contact to move it quickly to the next stage, rather than working feverishly (and fruitlessly) to get the sale with the second or third touch.

3. Concentrate

Make sure you pay attention to what the customer is saying and don’t get caught up in your pitch. You should not wait too long to move the conversation on, and you should not continue selling once the customer has made up her mind to buy. This could result in new objections that will set you back.

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