So near yet so far away!
Not quite, seems to be the case for many Sales Professionals. They just can’t ask the important question. The need is ascertained and the customer has agreed unequivocally that a new solution is essential to remain effective, but the Sales Rep is still unable to ask for the business – or he completely misses the point. One blink and the moment is gone.
As Sales Manager I have witnessed many scenes where Sales Executives watched haplessly while a smarter colleague pocketed a case he had carefully nurtured and built over 2-3 months; but had either forgotten or baulked at the crucial last step. The smart guy went in, found a ripe apple ready to be plucked and made off with it.
Customers indicate in many ways that they are ready to buy; they would ask questions as though they are already using the product or service:
- So if I call for the extra fittings you can come in at a day’s notice?
Or he will check out the product by placing it his pocket or the portfolio bag to see how it fits – a lady purchasing a dress would check herself up in the mirror and ask for approval? They would indicate their interest one way or the other.
These and other cues indicate that the customer is ready to buy – a smart Sales Pro would not miss the cue. But there are some who fail to notice. They need to develop a keener sense of observation to pick these tell-tale signs and boldly ask the important question. Diffidence does not pay in this game. While you are working on your skills there are some ways to increase your strike-rate.
Three useful methods to achieve a “Close” with less pain would be:
- Referral Business: Nothing can move a case forward like the word of a happy user. If you can get the next sales prospect from a happy customer the sale has the best chance of reaching a close without many roadblocks. Half the work is done for you by the happy adopter and you just need to avoid screwing-up. It’s not as if the business is available for free but the effort won’t be as intense as in the case of a prospect where you started from scratch. The chances of objections are lower because the recommendation has come from a user.
- Demo – Providing the prospect the opportunity to sample the product or service without insisting on purchase is a great way of getting the prospect interested. When they are able to do a “No obligation” test the customer feels favorably inclined – that’s because he has had ample opportunities to check the product; it removes many of the Objections faced by Sales Professionals.
- Benefit Selling – Here we are operating in the Consultative Mode – identifying the pain areas of the prospect and provide lasting solutions. This will mean that the Sales Professional works with the customer and categorically chips away at the problem to find the root cause and then suggests the cure – if this is done effectively the prospect usually agrees to buy even without the seller asking for the commitment because there is realization that this is the best way ahead.
In all these cases you have built the case up sufficiently for the customer to say “Yes!” before you pop the question. If it doesn’t happen voluntarily, don’t wait – it pays to ask when you know the time is right.
Do you still hesitate to ask for a Close – the next guy probably wouldn’t!