Quick Guide to Consultative Sales—Part 8
The Psychology of Closing Q&A
1. Why do some sellers consider “closing” to be the worst part of their job?
It’s probably because closing is the most dangerous part of the job. The danger, of course, has nothing to do with physical harm; rather, it’s the potential damage to the seller’s ego—and perhaps even to his pocketbook. Closing is a much anticipated moment of truth. Some sellers see it like a jury’s verdict at the end of a trial. Others are reminded of the anxiety they felt when calling the person of their dreams for a first date. It is clearly a critical juncture. After investing considerable time, effort, and expense, the seller may either be rewarded with a sale or sent away empty-handed.
No wonder closing is a dreaded moment!
2. So what’s the secret that allows some people to succeed while others fail at closing?
There is no magic answer, of course, but the following ideas and attitudes will take you a long way toward success:
The biggest mistake is to protect yourself from the dangers of closing by not attempting to close. That's a sure way to win the battle and lose the war.
Do a thorough job of identifying and developing the needs before you attempt to close. This will make it obvious to the buyer that your primary motive is to be of service.
At the end of each sales call, propose a next step you would like the buyer to take. Sometimes, that next step will be a commitment to buy. More often, it will be an important intermediate step, such as meeting “one level up” in the client’s organization, or obtaining pertinent information from the client in order to prepare a formal proposal. Suggest an appropriate next step, and there is an excellent chance the client will agree. Propose an inappropriate one, and you will surely get a ”no.”
If you believe your product is a good a solution for the buyer’s needs, then the only way for you to be of service to the buyer is to get the buyer to buy. If the buyer doesn’t buy, you have taken up the buyer's time without providing any benefit in return. So don't be afraid to be “professionally assertive” when it's time to close the sale.
Buyers often find closing more frightening than sellers do. After all, the buyer is making a big commitment of company resources (money, management and staff time, redesign of operating procedures, disruption of existing vendor relationships, etc.) in order to buy your product. And the buyer is not perfectly sure what the outcome will be. If the purchase turns out to be a mistake, it could have a negative effect on the company and on the buyer’s career. Sellers should help buyers make this scary decision by displaying enthusiasm and confidence in the proposed solution and by guiding the buyer through a series of next stops that culminate in a sale.