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The Clincher

In Sales parlance we called it the Close – that is when the Sales Professional prompts the prospect to take a decision and reward her or him with the business.

It is a critical phase of the Sale and in some ways all the actions taken by Sales Professional during the sales process are intended to facilitate that event.

I have mentioned in the past that there have been instances where a sale developed by one member of my team was brought home by another member; and I don’t have to repeat here that it causes a lot of dissonance and as leader I have a tough time in restoring order and in pacifying the irate loser.

The buyer had been primed to make the purchase but the first guy just wasn’t able to clinch the deal. There are some critical activities to be done close to the business end of the sale. The man who got the business was more conversant with these than his team-mate.

1.       Reduce complexity

Sales Professionals know that as the Sales Process moves forward they have to change the nature of questions and the way their responses are structured. The questions become more specific and tilt towards finding all the key elements of solution sought by the buyer.

It also makes sense not to give too many options to the buyer as they near the decision – increasing options can only confuse them. Hence, even if a number of options exist in your portfolio it is best to choose the most appropriate 2-3 and suggest them to the buyer – two would be ideal. If the buyer is looking at more than that you have to get them to eliminate a few based on the buying criteria.

2.       Facilitate the decision

That uncertainties are an unavoidable accompaniment of decisions is well – known and that makes people postpone or pass-on the responsibility. It is either fear of a negative impact or the possibility of discovering a better option post the decision that clouds thinking.

Hence, the Salesman needs to work with the prospect and show them that the parameters they have set for making the purchase have been met and the necessary safeguards would be offered by the solution-provider. It is also important for the seller to show them what they stand to gain by taking the decision.

Let the customer know that there may be other solutions in the market, but since they have already seen enough and analysed each option it is time to move on – delay can only increase worry and loss that comes from running with a suboptimal solution.

3.       Use language & tone that is assertive

While you show the client the benefits of buying it is also important to emphasis the negative impact of delays. The seller cannot be half-hearted here. A strong stand has to be taken to show that the client’s indecisiveness is stopping them from using something better.

But let me emphasis here that there is no room for condescension or ridicule or pushiness – and don’t ever sound desperate. Such attitudes can only annoy the customer or make them suspect your intention. A balance is needed to understand when to push ahead and when to slowdown to make the buyer comfortable. Also keep the language positive and be firm with what you suggest – no room for iffiness.

4.       Build buyer confidence

Like I said earlier the buyers are worried about the consequence of their decisions and hence it is necessary for the seller to make them feel good about it and also show them that help is available at every step of the way before and after the decision.

When the decision is made, congratulate them for doing so and continue building confidence with appropriate actions and words during the Close and the After-sale steps.

A smart Sales Professional stays with the customer during this process and never permits doubts to creep in.

It is said that a good sale is one in which the customer ask for the solution rather than the sales person pushing him or her to take it. Victory for the Sales Pro is the knowledge that a series of smart actions and words used by her or him caused that.

But if that does not happen ask for it – you never become a good salesperson without making a sale. You need to feel good about asking for business.

If you sense that the customer is ready to buy, go for it … Close that deal!

  1. August 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I have a pretty long response for this, so bear with me J:)

    All the points and suggestions you’ve made are pertinent and valuable …..from the seller’s point of view.

    I’m usually a buyer and I’d like to talk from the buyer’s point of view.

    The client who is prepared to buy is usually, these days, a little more informed thanks to tons of information available on the Internet. Let me quote an example of a friend of mine who went into a well known, respected retailer in Chennai to buy a TV for her mother. After considerable research and personal experience, she had decided that a Samsung LED would be the right choice …..taking into consideration budget, features, service and reputation of the product. The sales person showed her various other brands and models and spoke about the features of these at length. That’s fine. He was showing her the options available. Things got a little irritating when he started trying to push an older LCD model of Panasonic, the only attraction of which was that it was a couple of thousand rupees cheaper and had a USB port which the Samsung model didn’t have. My friend explained to him that her mother who would be using this TV wasn’t tech savvy and would find such features useless. This should have stopped him from continuing to plug that product right? WRONG! He continued to push that product for reasons best know to him….maybe he got an incentive for selling that brand or maybe it was stock that wasn’t moving and had to be somehow sold! Whatever the reason, he drove my friend up the wall, insisting quite vehemently that she buy that Panasonic and nothing else! She had to threaten to walk out right then if he wouldn’t let her buy what she wanted!

    Now, it’s all very well to have aggressive sales tactics but to bulldoze a customer into buying something unsuitable is unethical and a sure shot way to either lose him/ her or ensure that the sale is made but the customer is so unhappy with the result that he/ she will never patronize that store in the future!

    Shouldn’t the service provider think first of the needs of the client and not about somehow clinching a deal?

    • JayadevM
      August 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Raji

      Spot on! Aggression of the nature displayed above puts customers off and it is counterproductive in the long-run.

      It’s best to go along with the customer and provide them what they want – if they are not going along with your thinking.

      And this guy obviously had been told by his manager to push out some old stock that had not been sold for a long time. He would get an extra incentive for it.

      Your friend did not budge, but there are those who would and regret it later on.

      Only a short-sighted sales person would do this kind of selling.

  2. August 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Some very nice points made, as always. Actually Jaydev is talking about an institutional sales, as opposed to b2c in a a showroom.

    I agree that it is important for a salesman to be there throughout the sales process, so that the buyer feels comfortable. There are salespersons who strike a good rapport with their customers, but may not be extremely knowledgeable on the product that they are selling. On the contrary there are salespersons who are passionate about their product and keep themselves abreast of the latest developments along with their competitors offerings. That helps in continuing a good level of discussion with their customers. In such a situation the customer doesn’t have the upperhand and the relationship doesnt become one sided.

    • JayadevM
      August 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Sabyasachi

      Thank you for the appreciation and for sharing your thoughts.

      Be it B2C Selling or B2B selling the Sales Professional wins only when the customer wins. In the short-term the sales guy might he outsmarted the customer, but he will pay for it when the next purchase is made elsewhere.

      Yes, the interaction between Salesperson and client changes in different situations – B2B is more involved selling because the solutions are more complex and usually solutions are not available out of box like in B2C.

      The retail customer (these days) often do a lot of research before visiting the showroom and so the Salesperson only needs to keep them going in the right direction by adding useful info that the customer might have missed out.

      If the inputs are regarding technology it is best to inform the customer about the benefit rather than describing the technical aspects or the customer would soon get bored/confused.

      “Keep it simple” is a maxim close to most Sales Professionals’ heart.

  3. August 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

    I understand that Jayadev is referring to institutional sales Sabyasachi. Don’t you think that the same logic holds good. Offer the client a solution that he needs rather than what you want to push! This way, the salesperson gains the trust of the client and is ensured of continued business.

    • JayadevM
      August 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Hi Raji

      I had been away for couple of days on account of a bereavement in the family.

      Your thought process is right. Thank you.

  4. August 22, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Makes a lot of sense Jayadev…..Sometimes you just end up buying something due to the pure knack of the salesmen…Ordinary things we buy from shops over the counter….In big businesses it definitely matters a lot and as you said, there needs to be assertion without condescension

    • JayadevM
      August 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Jayashree

      Good to see your comments here.

      I had been away for couple of days on account of a bereavement in the family.

      Best wishes

  5. Jamy
    August 23, 2012 at 6:38 am

    Good one Jay… nothing to add except that another good read !

    • JayadevM
      August 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you, my friend

  6. August 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Jayadev

    I would like to pass on the Liebster award to you. Please see http://jaishwrites.blogspot.sg/2012/08/liebster-and-33-questions-again.htm

    • JayadevM
      August 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Hi Jayashree

      Thanks to some unexpected events I have not been able to focus on my writing.

      But to what should I attribute this honour?

      The link you have provided isn’t working though. 😦

      It looks like more writing work – and I have not responded to Umashankar’s tag-post yet.

      Got to start before the pending work overwhelms be like a Tsunami.

  7. August 25, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Thanks for sparing your precious time on visiting my blog..I really appreciate it.
    I have lots to learn from you..do keep on en lighting us with your great writing…
    Do visit Again,
    Bhavik shah

    • JayadevM
      August 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

      Dear Bhavik,

      Welcome to my blog.

      Good to read your words of appreciation.

      Look forward to your visit again.


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