When it comes to closing a sale, the saying goes that a “yes” is best, but a “no” is better than a “maybe.” With a “no,” you can quickly move on to another prospect. A “maybe” can keep you engaged indefinitely, spinning your wheels and gumming up the sales pipeline of your product.
Every salesperson has an example of this, the prospect that didn’t tell you “no,” but you couldn’t land no matter how many presentations you made and objections you overcame. It makes it critical that you get to a decision quickly to prevent time wasted on those who don’t see the value in what you are selling.
Closing is simultaneously an art and a science; one part salesmanship and many parts preparedness, targeting and messaging. Closing a client is much more than just the final agreement; it’s a series of mini-closes that lead to delivering the valuable goods or services you offer your clients. The close is their final endorsement of you and the product you represent.
Speed to close is a critical part of the sales process. Those who master the skill of finding the right person to talk to and getting them to a decision with the least amount of friction are the leaders we read about. There’s no reason you can’t reach this level with a little planning and a lot of hard work.
I have found there are basic principles involved in accelerating the closing process to get you to the finish line. Here’s my five steps to a quick close that can make your efforts more efficient:
- Believe in the products and services you are representing. This is table stakes. The belief you have translates into the confidence you need to convince a prospect that you care more about solving their problem than making a commission on a sale. The key to making this happen is to do your homework about the client and why you have the right product for them before you meet.
- Practice, practice, practice. This is the most underrated and neglected element of sales. You should be over-preparing for the pitch you make, uncovering potential objections clients may have and addressing them before they even come up. Again, it’s about being prepared and confident in front of an audience that knows your job is to sell them your product. Think of it like professional golfers who spend hours on the practice range. They aren’t learning a new skill; they are learning how to get better at a skill they already have.
- Find the decision maker. This is critical to completing the close quickly. If you’re not talking to the person who will make the decision, you will have to make another presentation to the person who will make it or the deal may go nowhere. I have found that some prospects will invite a third party to a meeting. Showing that you are willing to speak to whomever the prospect wants input from sends a powerful message to them.
- Framing your product as a compelling solution to a prospect’s pain. A critical element to a sale is defining how your product or service can remedy a prospect’s key problem. Many people focus on the mechanics of that answer using statistics and analytical data. While it’s great to have stats at the ready to back up your ideas, it’s the experiences and closely related examples that make for a much more compelling story.
- Finally, ask for the sale, and be prepared for them to say yes. It’s a shame to get this far only to lose the sale because you are not prepared to move forward. I have seen it happen: an advisor sold a client who immediately pulled out their checkbook, ready to buy, but the advisor neglected to bring paperwork to complete the sale. Despite promises to get the deal done when they got back to their respective offices, the moment was lost and the purchase was never made. Simple solution: always bring to any client meeting whatever you need to complete an agreement, just in case.