There’s a saying in basketball to describe a brilliant move by the ball-handler to get to the hoop only to blow the layup once he’s there: “That was a million-dollar move and a one-dollar finish.”
That’s no less true in sales. In fact, it’s more true.
On one hand, sales can be very easy. First you establish a rapport with the customer. Then you demonstrate an above-average knowledge of the product you are selling. Next you give a demonstration of what the product can do. Finally you establish reasons why the customer should purchase your product.
But then comes the customer’s infamous stall. That “yeah, but” that salespeople dread hearing.
It is human nature to want to put off spending money. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a customer say “Well, I need to sleep on it,” or, “It sounds like a good deal, I just need to do a bit more research,” or one of the classics, “I gotta run this one by the wife, she’s the boss,” I’d have several dollars (which may not be a lot of money, but is a lot of nickels).
This is why many car dealerships employ what they call “closers”. People whose job it is to take over once the salesman has answered the customer’s questions. Closing is where the action is, and it takes skill to close a deal.
Here are few tips to keep in mind for closing a sale.
First, be authentic from the word “Go.” We live in a day when knowledge is at our finger tips. Expertise doesn’t hold the same sway as it once did in a pre-Internet age. Before people make big financial commitments, they’ve already done their homework online. People can smell a smarmy shyster from a block away, so don’t be that person.
Trust Your Product
Second, believe in your product and don’t appear overly desperate to sell it. If what you have to offer is both high quality and a good value, then represent your product faithfully. Don’t try to frantically scramble to unload it. Show your product the respect it deserves by not appearing willing to just give it away for nothing. Demonstrate a real belief in what you are selling and make the customer feel like you are the one doing him a favor by making your product available to him.
Make Your Customer Sell to You
And lastly, get the customer to make a case for why he should purchase your product. Steer the conversation in such a way as to get him talking about the benefits of the deal he is considering. One way to do this is to ask him, “So on a scale of one to ten, one being you walking out of here never to return and ten being you pulling the trigger right now, where would you put yourself, honestly?” When he responds with something like “Four,” respond with, “Four? Wow, I am actually surprised. I guess by your body language and tone I would have thought you were lower. So why do you put yourself that high?” By couching the discussion in this way you are putting the customer in the position of making the case for you and defending the choice to buy now.
Of course, there are plenty of sales techniques out there—some more aggressive and others more passive—and each salesperson needs to find an approach that he or she can pull off in an authentic manner. But all the smooth-talking in the world pales in importance to good old-fashioned product knowledge, sincerity, and belief in the quality and value of what you are selling.
So good luck, and keep at it!