• Why Aren't You Closing More Sales?

    Sept. 1, 2005
    Many salespeople are superb presenters. They show up on time. Theyre polite, approachable, and even have clean fingernails. They intend to serve customers

    Many salespeople are superb presenters. They show up on time. They’re polite, approachable, and even have clean fingernails. They intend to serve customers to their best ability, presenting features and figures with total honesty. Yet time after time – they fail to seal the deal. They’re presenters, not closers.

    There are seven main reasons good presenters don’t or can’t close:

    Too much technical input. The former technician who is wowed by technical features, installation procedures and the sheer mechanics of a new system often fails to say how any of this actually benefits the customer.
    The volume of head knowledge rarely impresses customers to a head-nodding agreement to purchase. Moreover, customers who hear “too much stuff” tend to shut down. Have you ever stayed fully alert while your accountant explains the latest IRS ruling.

    Not listening. A customer will give the clues for a sale to the salesperson who is listening. Think about that for a moment. It’s tough to close the customer who has failed to have his uncommunicated problems solved.

    Not communicating clear benefits. You can talk all you want about systems, efficiency, prices, financing, maintenance and your superiority. If the customer can’t fit this into his “What’s in it for me?” mentality, you may as well just go home. You must close on benefits and solutions that make sense to the customer.

    Not asking for the sale. In high school, all us guys learned this painful lesson at the prom: No matter how neat your hair was, cool your outfit, how many times you flossed your teeth, or that you had the exact right amount of Hai Karate cologne on, eventually you’re going to have to ask the girl to dance.

    The same goes for salespeople. There’s a semi-uncomfortable impasse at the end of the presentation where you must get a decision. These closes can move you past that point toward the real point of your visit, which is to get the sale.

    Not selling the company. Customers are often convinced of many things in the presentation from you, but they’re looking for that difference between you and everyone else. That difference is often the integrity of the company. Tell it. Sell it. Close on it.

    Not selling your honesty and trustworthiness. Too many salespeople get stuck on a great presentation that has no “personal” feel to it, no relationship, no eye-to-eye transfer of trust. The salesperson who fails to appear honest (even though he or she may be beyond reproach) will not close many sales.

    Not presenting the “closing solution” to the customer. This is perhaps the biggest crime of all. A customer wants his solution packaged for him. That’s why you’re there. Then, he wants this package presented as a logical, natural progression from his current situation to your solution for him. That’s all. But most salespeople fall far short of this closing key.

    The Simple Link to Most Sales
    Now that you’ve seen seven specific reasons salespeople don’t close, I’ll share one mindset shift that will add more to your sales closes than the rest of this book combined.

    A full 80% of all sales are made based upon how well you are liked by the customer. From your neatness in appearance, timeliness in arrival, respect to customer’s homes, listening skills and more, much of your “sales” is really related to your likeability.

    This trait is something you carry with you at all times. People more likely buy from friends than from strangers. The quicker and more sincerely you become a friend, you’ll raise your closing ratio and your number of friends immediately. That’s not a bad outcome.

    Likeability is more than just smiling, being polite and complimenting the customer’s house as you walk in the door. It’s a method of immediately identifying with the customer and starting a relationship.

    To help you achieve this quickly, remember that everyone likes someone who is like them. Therefore, in order to be likeable beyond others who may have quoted on a system, try patterning your speech, body positioning, and even breathing patterns and speech style to mirror your prospect’s.

    You don’t need to change your personality one bit, just become more “in tune” with your prospects. See things as they do. Pay specific attention to all members of the family who are available at the sales presentation. Laugh with them; acknowledge their fears or concerns; ask permission.

    By the time you’re halfway through, you’ll be recognized as “one of the family,” so make yourself at home and identify with every person you meet. Some things to make this even easier include:

    • Talk about things other than heating and air conditioning with them
    • Give a sincere compliment to something about their home
    • Acknowledge children who are present
    • Ask permission to open doors, move a piece of furniture, or to have a seat
    • Respect any time constraints they mention to you
    • Discuss likes and dislikes, and share some of yours within the context of the subject. (Don’t shoot off on some tangent; mirror their likes and dislikes with relevance.)
    • Be enthusiastic about meeting them and finding a solution to their problem because of how it benefits them!

    Being likeable – as simple as it sounds – will be your most powerful closing tool. As you become more of a genuine, caring friend, you’ll find people accept your suggestions not like a salesperson, but as an advisor.

    Learn to Close Like a Pro

    Are you ready? The closes that will follow in this series are for the person who is tired of going home with no more than a smile and the satisfaction of having made a friend. A friend who didn't trust you enough to spend any money with you, or still “needs to think about it.”

    In the next eight CB Hotmail issues, we’ll present 17 Top Sales Closes compiled by Jeffrey Lee, a true master who shows you exactly how he has perfected the sales closes that put over $1 million a year in company coffers more than six years running (all with a commensurate commission).

    He gives you sound, logical reasons for each close, and tells you how to save yourself mountains of time by focusing on the no-pressure, one-call close.

    Learn these closes and practice them in your mind before a sales call. If you only read this once, you can be guaranteed to not remember a single one when your opportunity is in your face. You’ll continue to struggle for the words and the methods of closing.

    You don’t want to memorize these closes, but you do want to memorize the situation that triggers them. Learn to recognize the clues that bring these closes to mind, and then use them naturally, in your own language, because your customer is looking for that.

    It will actually take that to get these principles, ideas and methods to be retained so you can draw them out almost involuntarily.

    This material also serves as an excellent reference guide. Keep it with you, take it along with you on sales appointments and scan through it at least once a day until you have been thoroughly trained in the fine art of closing.

    Learn to close and your sales will skyrocket. In the next article in this series, we’ll present the first two Top Sales Closes.

    Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Readers can get a free marketing newsletter and a free 16-page report called “Get More Leads in Less Time” by faxing their letterhead with the request to 334/262-1115 or emailing to [email protected]. You can also call Hudson, Ink at 800/489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.