Ice Cubes To Eskimos

Closing The Sale

Tips for perfecting "the close"

An undisputed master of selling, Tom Hopkins is one of the nation's top names in sales training. He spends much of the year on the speaker's platform, but Hopkins is also a prolific author, whose titles include Selling for Dummies, Sales Prospecting for Dummies, and Sales Closing for Dummies (all from IDG Books Worldwide). If you want to close more sales, take these tips to heart:

  • Eliminate distractions. "You need to be in control of potential clients' attention," says Hopkins. "Keep them focused on the matter at hand by moving to a quiet area."
  • Be enthusiastic. "If you're not enthusiastic about the wonderful benefits of your product, why should potential clients be?" Hopkins asks.
  • Emphasize the emotional aspects of the sale. According to Hopkins, people make decisions emotionally, then defend those decisions with logic. "So, you must be prepared with the logic, but sell with emotion," he says. "Get them thinking about how they'll feel after they own the product or service."
  • Be direct. "You'd be amazed at how many salespeople think they didn't make the sale because the client said no, when what really happened is that the salesperson didn't ask the client to say yes," warns Hopkins. "After doing a summary of the points you've covered, hand [the prospective client] the paperwork and pen and be certain to say, for example, 'With your approval right here, John, we'll welcome you to the family of XYZ clients and arrange delivery of your new widget.' Those words are soft and gentle, yet get the message across that it's time for a decision to be made."
  • Stop talking. "After you ask for the business, wait for the answer," says Hopkins. "I've long taught that the first person who talks owns the product or service. Stay quiet until the client gives you an answer. They'll either make the purchase or give you an objection. Then you can talk."

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Ice Cubes To Eskimos.

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