Posted: 8:00 a.m. Monday, April 1, 2013
By Geoffrey James
Here is a four step process to hone your ability to successfully sell anything to anyone.
It doesn't matter how good your product is. It doesn't matter how smart your marketing is. It doesn't matter how personable and knowledgeable you are. If you can't close the deal, your company is a waste of time and energy.
The best way to learn this essential sales skill is understand how the very best salespeople close deals, according to Linda Richardson, founder of the huge sales firm Richardson. Here is a four step process that anyone can follow:1. Begin by "thinking like a closer."
According to Richardson, the "great closers" of the sales world share the three characteristics:
If you want to be good at closing deals, never pass up an opportunity to cultivate those personal characteristics in yourself.2. Set an objective for every meeting.
Closers approach every customer meeting with an objective that is specific, measurable and appropriately aggressive. Examples:
Closers never have vague goals like "get closer to the customer" or "learn about customer needs." In business, vagueness is the enemy of success.
These specific goals help closers visualize the sales process as series of smaller closes that lead towards the final close.3. Check to see if the customer is ready.
Closers look for feedback from prospective customers about whether it's the right time to close. This allows them to make closing a natural extension of the conversation.
At convenient points during the customer meeting, closers ask questions that reveal the customer's state of mind relative to the progress of the sale. Examples:
Such questions help closers see the "green lights" that will increase the closer's confidence that asking for the next step (or for the business) is the right thing to do.
Note that the questions above are open-ended. Asking yes/no questions like "Does that make sense to you?" or "Do you agree?" just cause customers to nod along, without providing the closer any useful information.4. Close with confidence.
If you follow the previous three rules, there's a good chance that your prospective customer will close for you and saying something like "So, when do we start?"
If this does not happen, however, you do the following:
It's really that simple.
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