One essential criteria of being a successful salesperson is the ability to be able to close a sale effectively. You don't have to be a salesperson to do this, yet you do need to put at least some of your focus on sales to be successful, whether it is yourself doing the closing or are someone you hire. After you have done the difficult part, which is prospecting, you need to close. This is not really hard but is the singlemost important step. The final close happens when you ask the prospect to make a decision. Selling and marketing, as you may have guessed by now, are actually 2 seperate things completely.
Most people don't realize that closing is essentially a process rather than one particular action at the conclusion of a presentation. During the sales process, you should be moving the prospect towards the close step by step. Every time you get a prospect to advance or to agree to take the next step increment by increment (such as a 3-way call, going to your web site, having lunch with you or trying the products, etc), you move the prospect closer to the close. It is a key factor to understanding the whole process, not just one single aspect of it. Many people are so fearful of closing that they never "ask for the sale" or the "sign up" when it comes right down to it. People desire to own things -- be it a product/service or business. If you are not closing, you're probably wasting your time as well as your prospect's time. It is kind of like a story with no ending. Today, so many sales people "relationship" their prospect way, way too much. Essentially, they are sensitive about being pushy so they never ask for the sale. If you truly believe in the products, the opportunity or the company, then helping your prospect through this entire process should feel natural to you.
So a major problem people often have is that they go on way too long without going to a final close and so they lose the sale.
If you are having a touph time determining if your prospect is ready for the close, one method to find out is to ask a "Test Close" question like: "How are you feeling so far about our opportunity?" or "How are you feeling thus far about the Product?" or simply "I am going to do a general temperature check. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being you are red hot for the opportunity, how would you rate this opportunity?" If your prospect hesitates, then you can easily draw out any concerns by asking him or her, "Are there any other concerns or questions you have that would keep you from signing up as a Rep with us tonight?" or "Are there any concerns you have about starting Rocky on our Product or Service?" If your prospect has a concern, then address it accordingly.
Some people get nervous when their prospects ask questions. While this is natural, instead, you should celebrate the fact that your prospect is interested enough to ask questions. Especially if it is a "technical question" such as "How long have you been in business?" Technical questions let you know your prospect is interested in purchasing products or getting into your business, if your business also recruits. Answer the questions in an honest and straightforward way without being defensive. If you don't have the answer to a question, don't be afraid to let your prospect know that you don't have the answer, but you will get the answer and follow up right away. Practice these steps and they will come to you without thinking. Once you have mastered these steps, you will then be ready to go to the "final close". Always remeber that you are doing your prospect a favore, that you are essentially educating them. You are really offering them a service, and at some point, now or later, they will be thankful for it. Do not feel that you are being too aggresive by simply asking for the sale, you would be doing them a disservice if you did not ask for it.
Remember, selling should be fun and mutually beneficial. You just have to ask -- the principle reason why customers don't follow thru and buy is because they feel they were never asked. In reality, you should always be closing. All and all, there is nothing magical about closing, but it does take practice -- the more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will become! If you keep practicing, closing will become second nature.
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Ryan Joseph is a writer/researcher. For addition information visit http://www.home-business-zone.com/