Archive for August, 2013

This afternoon I had the opportunity to listen into a sales call.  After the demo/sales call I asked the sales person, “When do you try to close the sale?”

After a moment thinking he responded, “At the end of the demo like always.”

“WRONG!!!”, I thought.

Instead I responded,  “That seems logical but there is a better way. Why is the end of a presentation the wrong time to close?”

“I don’t know”, he responded

Many sales people struggle with this same issue – how and when to close?

I’ve learned that if you are working the conversation correctly you are continually guiding the customer to close all the time. This doesn’t mean that after every key question or demonstration point you lamely ask “So are you ready to close?” Rather you are working the conversation to understand the needs and objectives of the customer then explaining how your solution fits those needs.

This requires a very active dialogue with your customer. This means going deeper than robotically demoing the software.  As you interact with your customer work to understand the business problem and more importantly the related impact areas caused by the problem.

HINT to CLOSING: The impacted areas are the real problem the customer is trying to solve.

A Real World Example

At a recent trade show I was demonstrating our cloud based software ZenTouch I caught the attention of a lady passing by when I said “…And it has full integration with QuickBooks – meaning all of your invoices go directly in to QuickBooks.” Out of the corner of my eye I saw the lady roughly grab the arm of the man next to her and heard her say “If that truly integrates with QuickBooks and I can get my weekends back, you’re buying that software today!”

Can you picture the scene? Here is a lady spending every weekend, 14 hours a day, frustrated, simmering, wishing for an escape, stuck manually entering work orders into QuickBooks. Weekends became a drudgery rather than a needed respite.

Yes, solving the work order and invoicing process was important. But closing the deal was driven by a desire to recapture her weekends.

Remember: features don’t sell customers, how features solve a business or personal problem does.

When you understand the rippling effects of a problem – who is impacted, how they are impacted, why that is important, and what other fall out is caused by the problem you learn the hidden keys to closing a deal.

This approach doesn’t result in a  cheesy, “So are you ready to sign now?”.  Rather you are working with the customer, exploring with them how your solution is relevant to them.  Asking questions like “How does that impact you?”, “Who else does that affect?”, “If you could solve that problem what could you do?”, etc.

You will soon find the customer asking questions like, “Will we be able to….” or “When we implement this solution will we…” or “You mean this will enable me to…”.

Through this process the customer builds their own justification for closing the sale because it becomes relevant to them. Closing thus becomes a natural part of the sales process instead of an awkward event at the end.

Jody Sedrick
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenewareinc