Sales closing techniques – do I need them?

Depends.  If you are involved in smaller sales – that is a simple low value product sold in one visit – then probably, yes (but no tricks required).  For larger sales, almost certainly not since they may actually harm your chances of success.  Surprising maybe but shown to be true in sales research.

For me, larger sales are actually synonymous with consultative sales.  This is why I say that good consultative salespeople can conduct sales cycles that pretty much close themselves without needing nifty closing tricks.

But let’s be clear, I’m not saying that you don’t close – you must to get orders.  So how should you close?  In my view, consultative sales skills can be applied to close any sized opportunity – here’s how.

For single call sales, forget the traditional method of frequent closing statements (“assumptive close”, “trial close” and the like).  Most professional people really don’t like them.  Keep asking questions to confirm real needs for as long as you can, in a conversational way.  Then check there are no other issues.  Then explain how you solve these needs.  Confirm this addresses these needs, price to do this, happy to go ahead? (The only closing technique you really need).

For larger sales, first recognise that there are going to be several calls.  Interestingly, the effectiveness of closing techniques is inversely proportional to the opportunity value.  In fact the call process is pretty much the same as that summarised for single call sales.  The real difference is to plan before each sales call what is the best realistic commitment you can expect from the prospect at this stage of the sales cycle.  This is the primary call aim to close on.

And what’s the final goal for larger sales?  It’s not to close the sale but to open a relationship.  Read that again.  It’s one of the most powerful statements I ever learned in large systems sales training.  It recognises that the best customer orders are those that will lead to new orders – the best closing technique of all.

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