When is the right time to start “CLOSING THE SALE”?
I get this question all the time.
And my answer is always the same…..
Within the first 5 minutes.
WHAT you say???
Yes, within the first 5 minutes. And here is why I say that.
If you’re selling a product or service to a business owner or homeowner, do you think it’s important to have ALL the persons there that have a say in making the final decision?
Let me lay out a common scenario that a rookie salesman makes.
The rookie or untrained salesman is excited to be in front of a prospect, a live potential buyer. They’re full of product knowledge and can’t wait to tell them everything they know. The salesperson ‘feels’ that he’s made an immediate connection with his prospect, that this is going to be a fun and easy sale.
Well……guess what happens after going thru their canned presentation, talking over the prospect and filling them with useless information that does nothing but bore and confuse your buyer?
It’s time to ASK for the business.
It’s time to “close the sale”.
And what does the salesperson hear from the prospect when he says something like ….”so Jim, it sounds like you’re happy with what I’ve presented here, how do you want to handle the deposit/payment/contract ?”
And guess what Mr./Mrs. Prospect says?
Well Mr. Rookie salesperson, I really need to have my business partner/director of purchasing/ wife or husband to agree to this BEFORE we can move forward with anything.
Why don’t you call me back next week/later/tomorrow or whenever and I’ll have an answer for you.
The salesperson has absolutely nowhere to take this.
Even IF the salesperson says “ why don’t we go ahead an sign this now, then you can get with whoever.”
NOPE. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Your prospect just restates what he or she said before…..”I really need to have someone else agree to this BEFORE I can sign anything with you.”
I don’t care how many times you try to refocus, or say it differently to get your prospect to commit…..It just isn’t gonna happen.
You’ve just wasted a perfectly good lead.
You’ve wasted your time too.
To put this in perspective, here’s what will actually happen now.
The “other person”, who needed to be there to make the deal happen, is pulled aside by the original prospect you pitched, and this could be hours later, the next day, or a week later.
A lot of the information the salesperson presented is lost and forgotten. The excitement from the presentation has faded.
Now ALL the “other person” hears is “it’s $5,000 or $10,000 or $20,000 or much more in cost, and there’s zero context or justification.
Just a dollar figure. Period.
How would you like to be the “other person” and you’ve just gotten into the office after having your head ripped off by a client, or you’re the spouse who has been stuck in traffic for two hours and are wound up tighter than a cheap watch and walk in the door and the FIRST thing you hear is $5,000/$10,000/$20,000/ $30,000 etc.?
Just how likely is this sale going to happen?
Slim or none, and slim done left town.
That’s WHY it’s so critically important to start closing almost immediately.
One of your closing questions should be something like “ gosh Mr/Mrs. Smith, I’m so excited to be here today, and I’ve got some really cool products or services, and my boss has instructed me to allow some discounts or offer some specials today provided that all the decisions makers are present. IS THERE ANYBODY ELSE THAT NEEDS TO BE INVOLVED IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS TODAY?
One of two responses happens about now.
- Nope, I’m the sole decision maker and it’s 100% up to me.
Remember this response, word for word, for when you DO start closing, as you might need to remind your prospect IF you get push-back when closing. Believe it or not, your prospect will sometimes lie or not tell the truth. Especially IF you’re trying to ‘cram’ something down their throat and they just want to get rid of you. But that subject matter is best left for another Blog Post…Sell What Your Prospect Is Buying.
- Well actually, I do have someone who needs to be involved. Or, yes my wife/husband/partner needs to be involved as this purchase is a lot of money/the product is complicated and I need their expertise/the color choices should be selected by both of us………..any myriad of answers.
DO NOT go into your presentation or try to close this sale.
99% of the time you won’t be able to close it.
Here’s what I suggest is a sensible way to postpone this lead until ALL interested parties are there and engaged in the process.
Say “I’m almost relieved to hear that, as my company has been on a roll with sales and installations. I’m actually behind right at this moment and should be at my office attending to a big order/overseeing an installation/putting together a huge proposal that I promised an earlier customer/have an important meeting with my sales manager about a special promotion starting today that offers substantial discounts……….”
“I almost called you earlier and was going to beg to reschedule our appointment, but I’m known for always being on time for my appointments, so I didn’t want to do that to you.”
“Could I possible implore upon you to reschedule our appointment so I can…………., I promise I’ll make it worth your time. I’ll grant any and all discounts available PLUS the Special Promotion starting today will be in effect, saving you additional cost. You Would like to save some money on this product or service?”
And guess what? 95% of the time your prospect will agree to reschedule or postpone the presentation. That gives you time to set the time when ALL necessary partners are present to make the decision.
Never. Never. Never try to present your product IF you know that ALL decision makers aren’t there.
It’s almost impossible to close a sale IF all decision makers aren’t present. Don’t ‘take the bait’ if your lone prospect says they can make the decision if you already know there needs to be someone else.
So getting back to the original premise of this blog post,
When Is The Right Time To Start Closing The Sale?
It’s early AND often.
I hope you’ve picked up some useful nuggets in this blog post. If you’ve got any comments or additional suggestions, I would love to hear from you. Just leave me a comment below, and I’ll get back to you.
See ya on the next blog post.