The first thing to realize about closing is that most of it takes place in your head. If you are really sold on your product, your company and yourself, it is a natural feeling to want the customer to enjoy your product and to start enjoying it now. If you don't believe in your product, or if you think yours is the same as all the other products on the market, you will fail. If you think it's too expensive or that they can't afford it, any close will be ineffective. The reason for this is because when the customers say they can't afford it, or your product is the same, etc., these excuses will make sense to you and you will buy their excuse for not buying your product. So, the very first and most fundamental step to closing is to believe in your product, your company and yourself until you feel sorry for anyone who has to live without it.
The next step is to set up your sales encounter so that you absolutely must close at least once before you leave. Studies show that 85 percent of all sales situations end when the salesperson gives a card and brochure to the customer and leaves without ever asking for the close. Now before you laugh and say that never happens to you, our work with sales people around the country shows that almost all of us exaggerate in our minds how many times we actually ask for the close. To make sure you close at least once, we suggest following this procedure:
1) While you are sitting at the table warming up the customer, before you start your demo, take out an envelope or file folder that contains every form you will need to close the sale. It should contain at least an order form, credit card slips, counter checks, finance applications, contracts, etc. Just before you get up to start your demo, open the envelope and put all the forms with the order on top (and a pen) in front of the place at the table you will be returning to when you finish your demo.
2) When you finish the demo, bring the soap flasks back to the table with you. Hold up the two flasks and ask, "If it didn't cost you a penny more, which of these two kinds of water would you like to have in your home?" The family will always point to the soft water flask. You say, "Great, let me see if I can get it installed this week." Put your head down, pick up the pen and start writing on the order form.
3) You can write a lot of things on the order form without looking up or asking any questions. Things like their name, your name, the date, the model number, address, etc. The longer they let you write without interrupting you, the closer you are to the sale.
This is by far the easiest close to do and the easiest to remember to do in every home. I am not saying everyone buys right away. In subsequent articles, we will deal with common objections and overcoming them. However, the first step in increasing sales is to make sure you ask for the order at least once. Having the forms out on the table reminds you to start writing.
Notice that you never ask the person if they want to buy it. Using this close, you simply start writing the offer. The rule in selling is "never ask a question unless you know the answer."Also, notice that we suggest you go directly for the close without showing pictures of models and brochures. The reason for this is simple. People, like water, have a boiling point and that is the best time to close. Many sales people get the couple to the boiling point with a great demo and then lose the edge by going through pictures and boring technical data. If they have questions, they will ask you, but if they don't, go for the close. Really, do they care what the equipment looks like? It's going to be in the basement and they aren't going to see it.
You should pick out the model that is best for them and go for the close without a lot of detail. Millions of sales have been lost by giving the customers too many choices. This only makes them "have to think it over." Go directly for the close when you return to the table and watch your sales increase. Make sure you aren't leaving homes without asking for the close at least once.
Studies show the average person says "yes" after you ask them five times. I am not saying everyone buys from this close, but it is a great start. ·
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. See its website at www.bisonusa.net/salesco/.