Closing the Sale

Follow this expert advice for getting your prospects to say yes.

Closing a sale -- getting your prospect to say yes -- cansometimes be as easy as asking for it. Once you've laid thefoundation by qualifying your prospect, discovering their needs,and showing how your product/service meets those needs, it'stime to ask for the order. These tips can help you make thisprocess easy and natural.

Lay the proper groundwork
If, in your sales process, you have found out what their needs areand have helped them to recognize that what you are selling ismeeting their needs, a "close" should not be necessary.If you are frequently wondering how to close, you should probablyexamine your methods for uncovering your customer's needs anddemonstrating the benefits of your product or service.

Reach the decision maker
Make sure you are speaking with the person who makes the buyingdecisions. Sometimes a person won't say "yes" to yourproduct or service because they're not authorized to do so. Ifthis is the case, find out if there is anybody else that getsinvolved in this decision that your prospect recommends you speakwith.

Provide a deadline
If you have a customer who is vacillating, one way to close is totell them that your service will not be available past a certaindate. For example, if a client says they are interested in hiringyour firm but cannot make a commitment, set a deadline date or saythat you will be unavailable for a certain amount of time. This ishigh risk because it can mean that you won't work with thisclient in the near future. However, it will also separate liveprospects from prospects who are likely to drag on forever withoutmaking a decision. Forcing a decision, one way or the other, isgood for your business. If they decide not to buy, it frees you topursue other business.

Work back from the date they need it
Find out when your customer needs the product or service you areselling and then work back from that date to make a case for whyclosing now is important. For instance, if you are a PR firm, youwould want to know when your prospect intends to introduce theirnext product. You could then explain why they would need to hireyou now to ensure their press efforts are a success.

Use the threat of a price increase
If your business plans to raise prices in January, start callingpeople in October to get them to buy before the price increaseoccurs. Positioning here is critical - remember that you arecalling to provide a service to your prospect, not to intimidatethem into buying. Not only will this help you close, but yourprospects and clients will appreciate the advance notice.

Talk about the implication of not moving forward on asale
Ask them questions in order to get them to say what it would costthem if they didn't buy your product -- a disaster withoutinsurance, a car accident because of a lack of a tune-up or newtires, an off-base product launch because of a lack of marketresearch. Cost can be financial, time, reputation, among otherthings.

The viewsand opinions contained herein are not necessarily those of AmericanExpress and are intended as a reference and for informationalpurposes only. Please contact your attorney, accountant or otherbusiness professional for advice specific to yourbusiness.

Copyright © 2002 American Express Company. All RightsReserved

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