Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - C is for Closing

C is for Closing

Closing a sales is often regarded as the most important step in the sales process. While it is my belief that getting the conversation started with legitimate prospects is the most important, clearly closing a sale matters. We must move the process along to the signed contract signed if we want to make money.

The saying often tossed around when discussing the closing of sales is "A-B-C",  This means "Always Be Closing" and was made famous in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross.  Alec Baldwin's character, Blake, spells it out for the salespeople on his team that only one things matters: Getting them to sign on the dotted line.  (the character Blake is also famous for telling one of his salesmen to put the coffee down, as "Coffee is for closers").  The scene in the movie is a classic, but Baldwin's portrayal of Blake is very gruff, and gives sales professionals a bad name.  

While closing is not the only skill a sales person must have, it is important.  Too many people simply market their services and never ask for the business.  They think that the prospect understands the sales process and will move to buying their products when they are ready.  Too many live in fear of being seen as pushy, so the never ask for the sale.  

Asking for business is not pushy. If you have built rapport with your prospective client and you have earned the right to ask them to buy from you, then it is your responsibility to wrap up the sales process.  Closing the sale and getting the signed deal, or hearing "no" and putting closure to the conversation is the natural ending to the journey that the sales professional goes on with the prospect. 

To understand when to close a sale you must have been preparing for winning the business from before you first conversation. Every customer is different, which means you have to be paying attention to their interest levels and any signals they are displaying which will lead you to knowing they are serious about doing business with you.  A good sales person is always observing everything from what is said to the prospects body language. 

Every meeting should close with an ending that includes the "ask" as to what are the next steps.  You should never leave a business conversation without a closing question.  Early in the process that might be permission to send more information, or an agreed upon next step.  But eventually you need to say the words that ask them to become your client.  This should not be scary, but instead exciting.

Top sales people are naturally excited by getting people to buy their product. They communicate how their solution to a clearly defined need is a good fit for the client. This is all part of a process and when the client signs the contract everyone in the room should be happy. Enthusiasm and a smile are extremely valuable when asking for business, as you want to make sure the other person feels good about their decision. 

While there is more to winning sales than having a closing technique, all sales people should be conscious of the importance of the close.  


Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking success.  http://www.EngagingSalesSpeaker.com

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