Expert advice from Toni Jacaruso
Recently I was asked to host a zoom conference call on the topic of the closing step of a sales call. I often hear people talk about the importance of closing more business. Who could forget the famous line, “COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS” from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? While no one can dispute that closing sales is critical to the success of any business, there is a lot of disagreement about closing methods. I believe that closing is not a separate step but an extension of the other steps in the selling process. If a sales call is successful then the salesperson has followed the selling steps, in order, and closing is the natural outcome.
If you do not close business, then it is probably due to one of three reasons:
- Your product does not solve your prospect’s problem.
- You do not know the prospect’s needs, or
- You have not been able to articulate to your prospect how your product can meet their needs.
The number one mistake that salespeople make, by far, is trying to sell their product to a prospect before they know exactly what the prospect needs. It takes discipline to ask your prospect a question, listen to their response, and then ask a follow-up question, rather than immediately diving into your presentation. If you are patient and learn your prospect’s concerns and needs up front, then you will be able to address those needs in a logical order which will lead to closing more sales.
If your product does not meet your prospect’s needs, then that’s easy. Move on to the next prospect! However, more often than not, I find that salespeople get stuck on the second pitfall. If you have not determined your prospect’s needs, then you are stuck in the qualification step and have probably not asked the right questions to adequately qualify the customer.
Once you have qualified the prospect, have a clear understanding of their needs, present your product as a solution and you still do not close the business, then you may not have articulated your product’s value successfully. Asking clarifying questions will help if you are stumbling here.
For example, “Does that make sense,” or “Is there anything else I may have not covered that you are concerned about?” This will help you draw more information from the prospect and let you know if it is time to ask them for a commitment. You should never ask a prospect for a commitment if they still have questions or concerns about how your product can meet their needs.
Successful salespeople have one thing in common; they are always moving forward. If at the end of your sales call you do not know what your next step is, just ask! “Mrs. Prospect, how would you like us to move forward?” Or, “What’s next?” If you do not ask for a commitment from your prospects then you are expecting them to close themselves. Basic job security would suggest that you, at the very minimum, ask your prospect to buy from you after you have addressed all of their concerns.
Now, go out and sell something!
Toni Jacaruso, CEO of Jacaruso Enterprises
November 1, 2022