Wrap It Up

The end of the deal is near. Get ready to close--or to ditch it altogether.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How much confidence do you have when it comes to closing the sale? The most important factor that contributes to your success at closing (or knowing when to move on) is the leverage you have going in and the confidence you have to back it up. The following tips will help you build that leverage:

Don't let emotional attachments cloud your vision. Whether it's the money, your ego or the time you've invested in the sales process, an emotional attachment signals desperation. Most prospects can see right through your hunger for the sale and sense when your pitch has become more about you getting the deal than about the value you bring to the table and the solution you have to offer. The best deals come when you don't need them, and the worst ones come when you do. The goal is to eliminate the bad deals and close with greater confidence.

Manage the pipeline. Manage your accounts throughout the sales process by using the management account profile--a simple corkboard on which you post information about your prospects in different stages of the sales cycle. It's a visual tool that helps you map your activity in motion. Sure, you can buy software to replicate this, but nothing is more powerful than seeing the writing on the wall--no more out of site, out of mind. So when I engage in activity to move myself through the sales cycle, it gives me the power to close with confidence or walk away. How is your pipeline of activity?

Create a value statement. How much do you believe in what you do, what you sell and the benefits your customers receive? When I say "value statement," I mean the enthusiastic, deep-seated belief in what you represent. Most of my own belief is created from the results my clients receive from my work. Just the other day, I was on the phone with a client who wanted me to send her an entire outline of my daily activities in promoting her company's brand and content. I refused but told her, "What I can do is give you three customers who had a similar need as you. Feel free to ask them about the results they received from our company, and I will leave it up to you." A lot of effort can be saved by cutting through the clutter and putting your confidence on the line.

Have a strong track record. It sure helps to have a track record of positive results and testimonials behind you. To increase your closing ratio, focus on the results you provide customers. Always ask prospects what they would like to have accomplished once the service is delivered. Get specific objectives from customers on what they consider to be a successful relationship, then overdeliver. When it comes time to use these customers as backup for closing new business, they'll be more than happy to help.

There's nothing more demotivating than losing a deal you've worked hard to cultivate. It could be that you lacked the qualifying questions or the business activity. Whatever the situation, these tips will help you close more business and waste less time.

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