Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) of Birmingham, Ala., has consistently achieved the rating of the number-five water system in the United States...
People are like water; they both have a boiling point. A great cup of coffee, like a great sale, is made when the boiling point is reached. If you go for the close before or after the boiling point, you are much less likely to get a sale.
In fact, the entire purpose of the demonstration is to raise the customers’ level of desire to the boiling point. Use every demonstration technique you know and utilize all the customers’ senses to get them to the boiling point. Once you get them there, go for the close; strike while the iron is hot.
Some salespeople let this golden opportunity pass by. Some of us talk and talk while the customer is at the boiling point and then try for the close after the customer has cooled down and is not "closable." What can you do to make sure you know when to close and how quickly to close?
Get the Forms Out Early
I will assume for the purposes of this column your demo was good enough to get the customer to the boiling point. He wants that equipment, and he wants it badly. The best thing you can do is close the sale before "the little voice" in his head starts creating negative thoughts and problems.
I recommend you start this process early in the sale. When you have finished your warm-up and are ready to go to the sink to start your demonstration, just before you get up from the table, I recommend you take out a "deal pack" and open it. What is a deal pack? It is a sealed envelope with everything you need to close a sale. I recommend that it contain at least a pen, purchase form, lending forms, credit card slips, counter check and anything else you need to get the sale. Have these forms in a large, sealed envelope.
At this critical point in the sale, any pause to find a form or go to your car for a pen is enough to break the spell and lose the sale. By having every form you could use handy, you overcome the delicate transition from talk to paper.
I encourage you to open this envelope before you get up to start your demo and place all the forms with the order form on top, in front of you. Don’t make a big deal out of it or say anything, just get the forms out on the table and then start the demo.
The Close Is Automatic
During your demo, ask questions that, when the customers answer, will indicate whether they want the equipment. Here are some typical questions.
• Is that the kind of clean glasses you want in your home?
• Is that the kind of soft skin you would like?
• Is that the kind of savings you had in mind?
If the customer says "yes" to questions such as these, he wants to buy the equipment. After your demo, when you return to the table and sit down, what is right in front of you? The order form. Just put your head down, take the pen and start writing. You might say something such as, "I’ll get the paperwork started," but there is no reason to ask him to buy because he already has hinted "yes" 40 or 50 times during your demonstration.
What About the Details?
This is where many salespeople talk themselves right out of the sale. Do not get out your book and ask if they want this model or that one, this option or that. If you ask enough questions, eventually the customer will say, "We have to think it over." You know what model he needs from the questions you have asked about water usage, etc. Just select the model that is best for him and go for the close without a lot of questions.
How Much Is It?
Some of you have noticed I do not suggest talking about price–just go for the close. Can you close before telling them the price? Absolutely. They will ask if it is important to them. If they do, soften the price by saying something such as, "That’s the best part. All of the equipment we talked about tonight to soften and improve your water is only $68 per month. [Note the use of monthly payment and not the total price.] Since you told me earlier you waste $75 per month on hard water costs, you can have all the benefits we talked about tonight and still save $7 per month. I’ll get the paperwork started."
This method makes sense and is used by top producers nationwide. I know it will work for you, too.
About the Author
Carl Davidson is president of Sales & Management Solutions, which provides sales and management training designed exclusively for the water equipment industry. For more than 13 years, he has helped more than 1,400 companies in seven countries. For a free demonstration tape and catalog, contact the company at 800-941-0068; www.salesco.net.