In that classic scene in the film Glengarry Glenross, Alec Baldwin turns to his failing salespeople and utters those time-honoured words “ABC. Yes, ABC. Always Be Closing. A…Always…B…Be…C…Closing”.
We often hear it in sales meetings too.
Sales managers who think all you have to do is ask for the order and the customer will sign on the line that is dotted.
Well, let me share some bad news with you.
Buyers are savvy people. They’ve heard all the closes before. They’ve been there.
They’ve got the tee-shirt, and they don’t want the sales pressure of a hard close thrust upon them.
So, have you ever made these mistakes when trying to close?
Take a look and think if you’ve ever been guilty as charged:
1) Closing Too Soon
Just like Alec Baldwin’s advice, if you attempt to close when you should be building rapport or exploring needs or dealing with objections, you run the risk of seeming to be pushy and needy, turning the customer off immediately.
2) Thinking All Your Sales Materials Are Good Enough To Close For You
I’m referring here not only to your products and brochures, but also your peripherals like your website, your LinkedIn profile and your warranties.
People want to know how your services can help THEM, and although they may have done their research on you, you’re still needed to assess the real needs of the customer before they are convinced your solution is right for them.
3) Trying To Convince The Wrong Person
You’ve been there.
The final decision-maker is unavailable, so you try to close the person whose responsibility is to close the final buyer.
This only leads to miscommunication and dialogue that misses the mark.
If you can’t speak to the decision-maker, use the person you’re talking to, to ascertain what criteria they are using to make decisions.
Then plan another meeting to present to the real decision-maker.
4) Not Closing At All
This is a big one, because it can ruin all the hard work you’ve done before.
It involves looking out for the signals that the buyer gives out, sometimes subliminally, that says they’re ready to decide.
If you think asking closing questions will put pressure on the buyer, you’re in danger of leaving the decision process in limbo, and not reaching a final decision.
5) Thinking The Sale Can Close Itself
You may often have heard that the buyer will tell you what they want and offer to sign up now, if you only say how good your solution is for their business.
Well, this is right up to a point.
But the real reason the buyer will agree to buy is because there is some distance between what they have now and what they could get in the future.
This uncomfortable state is called ‘incongruence’.
It means the buyer has to be convinced they are worse off without your solution that with it.
When they are in this state, they need your help in changing the situation.
This is the right time to ask for the business
6) Not Understanding What Makes Buyers Buy
Sometimes, you’re so full of enthusiasm for your products or services, you miss the important part of the sale…why they need your stuff in the first place!
How people buy is many and varied.
Your role during the discussions is to seek out what their criteria is for making decisions and boldly go in that direction, without just talking about features and benefits.
By this I mean going beyond close by talking too much after you’ve asked the question ‘what’s the next step?’
Many salespeople talk themselves out of a sale because they want the customer to feel they’ve made the right decision, they’re going to get all these back-up services, there’s this warranty and that guarantee, and so on and so on.
When the customer has agreed to your proposal, identify the next steps and work with them on achieving the results you have promised.
Over-closing risks making the buyer feel they are being pressured, and actually might make them change their mind.
These seven mistakes can easily be eradicated but it takes emotional awareness and then ability to secure commitment when the time is right.
Work out if you ever make any of these mistakes and drop them from your closing strategy.