How to close a deal
Getting the signature
Closing a deal is where everything rests. The pressure’s on for any salesperson at this point, so it’s important to know how to maximise your chances of finalising the sale. Too many business owners do all the legwork of meetings, preparation, pitches and so on, then don’t get that all-important signature.
The first thing to know is that there’s no hard and fast rules about when you should lean to a close. Only you will be able to judge when the moment’s right, and if you do recognise the time, don’t leave it too late. For example, if there have been positive signals from the buyer all the way through the meeting, it’s natural to start closing.
Closing will obviously be much easier if you’ve done your preparation. If the customer doesn’t want the product at all, or is already sourcing it from someone else, and is happy with the provider, or has no budget, you should have already found out about this. If there’s no way round these problems, which often there won’t be, then there’s no point continuing trying to sell.
However, if none of these problems exist, you know you could in theory be making a sale here. So how do you start? It’s up to you how direct you want to be. A question such as “Are you able to sign the contract today?” is obviously very direct, but can often be effective. Alternatively you can sum up the benefits in a way which concludes the meeting, leading naturally to a sale, or you can ask a question about what the buyer wants, for example, “do you want this in red or blue?” Find whichever way is most natural for you.
Then comes asking for money, something that even the best salespeople can still find difficult. But as an entrepreneur it’s something you’re going to have to be good at. If you find it difficult to talk money, practice telling the customer what the total price will be until you can say it in real life without finding it awkward. Be honest and not afraid to talk money. It’s an issue for both sides so address it openly.
Don’t talk too much – don’t be afraid of silence. Produce an order form, don’t rush anything, remain confident and make eye contact. When the customer signs, and the sale is made, keep friendly and resist any urge to sell them anything else. Leave on a friendly note so you can keep a long-term relationship.