A closing can be intimidating to some salespeople, and for good reason, closings tend to go south quickly if the salesperson in question doesn’t ask the right questions or act the appropriate way.
But good news, by using your intuition and certain safe and sure sales techniques, that we’ll outline in this article, you’ll have the best possible chance of acing the closing process.
But what are those safe and sure sales closing questions? And more generally, how do I even know when to start concluding a deal? Don’t worry, in the following paragraphs, we’ll cover all that and more.
What’s a Closing?
“Closing” can have various meanings according to its context, for example, a financial closing is when you sign a loan, however in a sales and business context it means something different.
A closing, in sales, is one of the last steps of a sale when a deal comes to a “close” or conclusion. That’s also the reason why you often hear “contract” and “closing” used together.
As stated before, some salespeople neglect to pay attention to this step, and that also might be the reason why their deal doesn’t work out.
💡Note: BtoB salespeople are used to quick closings, however salespeople in BtoC should pay particular attention to the tips listed in this article as your closings are often much longer, for example, closing on a house, a car, etc.
How to Have a Successful Closing? What Sales Closing Questions Should I Ask?
Don’t Neglect or Forget the Previous Steps
A sale is a set of steps, therefore the closing is the result of all those steps. Each step has a major impact on the next, from the first point of contact to the offer, not being careful, courteous, and respectful to the customer, all the while having an interesting and intriguing offer, can be detrimental to the closing.
If the work on the previous steps was done correctly it should:
- Allow you to have a precise offer, by listening to the needs and wants of the customer. The worst thing a salesperson can do is waste the customer’s time by offering them that’s irrelevant to their specific situation.
- Be clear, your customer should know exactly what you’re trying to sell them, and why this applies to them.
- Have already convinced, for the most part, your customer of the quality of your service, that you have a solution to their problem, and product and have given them the desire to want to use your product or service.
- Have resolved any major reservation or issue your potential customer has about your product or service. This, especially in closing, can be a major hurdle to jump over to close the deal.
- Have established a relationship of trust and goodwill, make them feel like you’re there to help them, making the closing a lot easier for the salesperson.
- Have been with a member of your sales team that has good interpersonal skills, someone who’s comfortable and convincing enough to be good at closing.
Have a Positive Attitude
The key to a successful deal is based on two factors, actively listening to the customer and being able to respond to their needs, and “sales pressure”. Being able to manage the stress of closing the deal and perform.
Therefore, you should be able to have a dynamic exchange with your customer. Show them that you know what their problems are, and more importantly that you care about them, not just that you want to sell them something.
💡Note:- Active listening also has the added benefit of coming in handy during closing if any last-minute objections come up. If you truly listened to the customer’s potential reservations, you should be more than capable of responding to them at the end.
Identify the Ideal Moment to Start the Closing
One of the biggest challenges faced by sales professionals during a sale is when knowing when to bring up the closing. Bring it up too early and your customer might think you’re being too overzealous and don’t actually care much about them, but just about the sale.
Here are some signs that it might be time to bring up the closing:
- Your prospect starts asking questions about your product or service, for example, about its uses and functionalities
- Body language:- although this might be hard to identify sometimes if the prospect’s body language is open, they’re relaxed, they’re nodding their head, etc. Normally this is a sign that they’re generally interested and onboard for the deal.
- Your prospect wants to negotiate with you, although this means they’re interested it also might be a sign that they want to:
- Test you
- Be in control of the situation
- Or get the upper hand to get something like a discount, for example
- Normally after all the potential reservations have been resolved and the customer is thinking about your proposal, there’s a long silence. After waiting a few seconds to let your prospect think, gently bring up the idea of bringing this deal to a close.
💡Note:- Use your critical thinking skills to assess the situation, and to decide if it’s the right time to bring up the closing. And above all, don’t be discouraged, a closing might seem unlikely or even impossible at a certain point in negotiations, but then things can change in your favor.
However, if it seems improbable that this deal is going to end in a signing then bring up the idea of having another meeting. Say it’s to perfect your offer and come back with improved proposals, this allows you to come up with better and more convincing angles/ways to convince them, and allows them to further ponder a closing.
Directly Bring Up Closing
Identified the ideal moment to bring up closing? Then what are you waiting for? There’s no need to keep talking about your product or service when it’s obvious that your prospect is already on board.
To gently guide the conversation towards a closing, without being too forceful, you can ask an open question to your prospect, something like:
“Alright, what do we do now?”
This allows the prospect to guide the conversation to see if they really do want to buy, if they’re genuinely interested and ready to close as you predicted, then they’ll ask to go ahead with closing and signing. If not then they’ll bring up any remaining questions or reservations that they still have, which allows you to quickly answer and resolve them.
If needed, you could always be more subtle by using one of these two techniques:
- Fake alternatives, push your prospect to decide by giving them multiple options. Try saying something like, “So would you prefer the blue one or the red one?”
- Final Reservations, directly ask them what concerns they have about the offer by saying something like, “What’s the main thing that’s holding you back from doing business with us?”. It’s gentle and discrete and sets the deal on course for a closing.
💡Note: Even if your customer seems like they’re ready to make a decision, it might be too early, bringing up closing prematurely, can sometimes kill the deal. However, you could use “softer” questions that serve two primary functions, one: it helps to convince the prospect even further, and two it allows you to bring up closing without potentially killing the deal. Some examples of “softer” closing questions could include:
- “Would this (insert amount) be in your price range?”
- “If I added a little something extra would you be interested in closing today?”
- “Could I send this contract over to my legal department for review, or do you still have anything you would like to change?”
What Should I Do if My Prospect Hesitates in Their Decision?
You decided to dive in and try to start the closing, and… it didn’t work out. No need to panic, you still have a couple of cards up your sleeve, use these three tricks in case of hesitation:
- Reformulate the way you talk about the pros of your product or service: If the prospect hesitates before a closing, take the initiative and sum up everything you said before, all the benefits and advantages of your offer, and then try to say it in a different way to your prospect.
- Play on the fact that your offer is only for a limited time: Try saying something like, “Our offer is only available until this date (for example until the end of the day today), all things considered, I truly think you could really benefit from this. It would be a real shame to miss out on this.”
This works in two ways, firstly, it makes the prospect feel like they’re going to miss out on something big, and secondly, which is pertinent for BtoB business, the company might miss out on something that their competitors are in the middle of getting or already have.
Note- If the pressure works, don’t go overboard, be subtle, be knowledgeable about the prospect’s needs, and above all be honest, the prospect can tell when you’re being disingenuous.
- Offer the prospect an incentive : This could be concerning the price, maybe give them a slight discount, it could be about the value of the product or service, or even in the worst case, letting them have a trial of the product or service if possible. For example, you could add an extra feature, guarantee the best customer service, or even a free warranty (if that applies to your product).
These kinds of techniques can surprise the customer, and even make them reevaluate your offer.
Makes Sure the Prospect’s on Board
Seems like the deal is a done affair? Think again. The prospect has a window in which they can always back out if they reconsider.
Some potential prospects even agree to a deal just to get rid of the salesperson, which may even lead to an overall bad image of the entire company if word gets around.
To avoid this embarrassment and possible PR crisis, make sure that at the end of the meeting the prospect is on board, that all their questions and concerns are answered and that there is no stone unturned.
Don’t think you got all of these suggestions down pat, don’t worry. Just know that whatever happens, your success will always depend on your ability to listen and respond to the needs and wants of the prospect and your ability to be adaptable.