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Two Powerful Closing Strategies to Shorten the Sales Cycle

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Effective closes are not the end of the sales process — they inspire action by moving the customer to the next step.

Closing — that point at which the prospect says yes and signs on the dotted line — can be one of the most feared, and most avoided, parts of the sales cycle. But when you use the right closing strategies throughout your sales cycle, getting that final commitment will not only be more enjoyable, but easier.

These two powerful closing strategies will keep your sales cycle moving forward:

1. Ask questions.

Don’t wait until the end of your meeting to find out what your prospect is thinking. Start asking early. Make it a conversation — not a one-way transfer of information.

Uncover the prospect’s wants and needs:

  • What’s the real problem that prompted them to take your meeting?
  • What result do they want?
  • How important is it?
Ask questions that reveal information and let you position your product or service in the context of your prospect’s needs.

Get feedback as you go along. Let the prospect tell you if you’re on track. If you are, keep going. If you’re not, change direction. Questions are mini-closes that commit your prospects to the next step, such as:

  • How does this sound?
  • Is this something that would work for you?
  • Would making this change put you closer to your revenue goals?
  • Can you picture this in your operation?
  • If this were to happen, what would it mean to you?
  • Would doing this make your job easier?
2. Make recommendations.

Based on the prospect’s answers to your questions, provide some very specific action steps that include the purchase of your product or service.

It’s best to collaborate with your prospects to find the best solution. Approach it from the perspective of a partner, not a vendor. Dave Brock also recently gave a stellar definition of collaboration to score more sales.

Solve a problem or deliver the desired benefit. Be clear that your recommendation has been developed based on the prospect’s wants and needs.

Conclusion: Don’t Forget to Stop Talking!

The key to using these strategies is to shut up and listen. Ask the question and make the recommendation and then stop talking. Be quiet and give the customer a chance to answer. They may need time to think. Maintain comfortable eye contact, adopt a relaxed posture, and wait. (Sales professional Geoffrey James says one of the keys to being liked is to listen more than you talk.)

Listening is often one of the hardest things for salespeople to do — especially if the silence stretches for more than a few seconds. But top sales performers have learnt to love uncomfortable silences. When you stay quiet, you give your prospect the opportunity to let you know what you need to do next.

The biggest mistake most salespeople make with closing is that they don’t do it. They don’t ask for the business because they’re afraid the answer will be no. But the final close can be an easy, natural part of the process when you treat closing as a process and not an event, ask questions as you go, and make recommendations to give the customer what they want.

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