Last week I was asked by an up and coming salesperson, “So, when would I know what Closing technique to use?”. I dug a little deeper on this question and he wasn’t really wondering which close to use and how, he was really asking a much more fundamental question- “When do I Close?”.
“The Buying Sign Close”
It seems that many of us are info/benefit dumping until we hear this line from the customer- “OK, so what do we do next?” and then we get the credit card or signed purchase agreement. Now lets be honest, the products or services we are presenting aren’t exactly new right? You probably have some competitor though it pains you to admit it and that competitor at least has a product or service in your same category. The customer isn’t giving you that massive buying sign because you didn’t ask them to. In answer to the salesperson’s question above I said, “I close when the conversation gets to the natural end. I prep customers and let them know that if I find a (product or service) that fits their needs I’ll ask for their business. In addition I also close whenever I hear the 3rd buying sign”. I realized we hadn’t covered the Buying Sign close or talked about when identifying when you’ve EARNED the right to close, so read below and Close more deals!
STEP #1 – Listen and Identify Buying Signs. Buying Signs to me are any type of questions from a customer, even objections are buying signs to me. If someone is asking me questions about my product/service it usually means that they intend to BUY, even if it’s not from me. IF the customer didn’t want to do anything they wouldn’t prolong the conversation with questions. They’d try to get off the phone, elevator or whatever meeting I pinned them down to as quickly as possible, sometimes they don’t want to be rude but they still just want to get out of the room. Typical Buying Signs- So do you guys service your own product? Do you use local providers? How long have you been doing this? Can I fax you documents or do I need to mail them? How can I do business with a company or person I’ve never done business with before?
STEP #2 – Track the Buying Signs. I usually keep an internal count of the buying signs I’ve heard and depending on how strong they are I typically jump straight to this close after the 3rd buying sign. If the customer asks 3 serious questions about the service or product it’s time to ask for the business.
STEP #3 – Close. “I think it’s obvious we are going to do something here for you here today. While we are figuring out what fits your needs let’s agree to something. I’ve got to jump through a few hoops to get you the best (product or service), we’ve got to ask some Formality Questions, Put a Credit Card (or billing dept contact) on file and then confirm some more of your information while we tailor this order for you. What’s the card number or billing address? (Bridge Close works well here the key is the first 20 words which transitions to a close of choice).
STEP #4 – Finalize App Details. After I get the deposit I verify a few items like contact info and fill out any other details I may have missed earlier. THEN we go back to the structure of the product or service and I typically make a STRONG recommendation. “So Mr Customer, no matter what we do today we are going to get something better than your current situation. In my professional opinion I recommend the XYZ for you, it has the better features, more for your time, money, ROI or offers peace of mind. I think that’s what you were looking for right?” Or “I’ve done enough files of this nature to be considered an expert here so I’m confident that we should move forward. I would like to wait to determine the exact amount of service you need until we have the appraised the situation. We typically start with ABC but let’s be conservative and say we’ll start with X amount of service. Can we start with this amount of service and then adjust it up or down after the test period?”
When I work a Buying Sign Close I frame the initial trial as a joint production with lots of feedback from the customer. The least amount of service and the possible need for much for allows us to adjust things, typically for the better. Since we are happy with the worst case scenario that means we’ll be giving good news through the process and you’ve started the buying relationship.
STEP #4.5 ** BONUS TIP. The Strong Recommendation. I first learned this technique many years ago while working at a restaurant in Hawaii. Tourists would come in and they’d often ask about what Wine to order with a particular food. I was 21 and really had no palate or experience with wine but I asked a lot of questions of the bartender and people more familiar than I was. I made friends with a Sommelier and asked him how he handles this question. He said he makes a recommendation, backs it up with a few good reasons and sticks with it like it was the obvious choice. Pretty soon I was expertly recommending the Pacific Rim Riesling because the Sweet Flavor offset the Spicy Asian Fusion, the body was light and didn’t weigh down the experience and the acid cleansed the palate for the next bite of flavor. I soon found that no matter what I recommended, as long as I had a few good reasons for making the recommendation my customers went with my recommendation 90% of the time. The point here is that when we make a strong recommendation and back it up with a few good reasons our customers will listen to us, 90% of the time. Sometimes this is called the Law of Authority in Psychology circles, it’s scientifically proven to work!
Happy Selling and if you have any questions about this feel free to reach out to me!