This week's article will focus on how to increase your sales without closing. When a sales professional effectively works with a customer, the customer sells himself or herself. Doesn’t that sound a whole lot easier than trying to convince people that they need your product?
There is an alternative to traditional closing that will not only generate more sales for you but also build relationships that last a lifetime and differentiate you from your competition.
I like to refer to "closing" as "commitment." This change in the thought process is important for three critical reasons:
- "Closing" is defined as "to bring to an end; to terminate." The last thing we want to do with customers when we desire a long-term relationship is to close or end the relationship!
- At the end, there are commitments from both parties. These commitments include what the customer is agreeing to and what the salesperson is going to do to complete the sale (e.g., follow up, provide testimonials, rush or process an order, etc.).
- Since "closing" refers to finality, or an end, this often conditions the salesperson to think the job is over, which is not likely the case. In many ways, this is where the salesperson's job really begins if long-term relationships are truly the goal.
To expand on this point, put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Do you think your customer is sitting around the office just waiting for you to solve a specific problem? Of course not. As sales professionals, it is our job to determine the needs of the customer and to help the customer understand the consequences those problems are having for the organization. This develops the explicit needs of the customer.
At this point, the customer has not been sold on your product or service. This happens when you ask the right questions during your demonstration so that the customer has to explain how your solution would improve his or her situation. Here is an example:
Salesperson: Mr. Customer, how do you feel about the total solution we proposed today in meeting all of your needs?
Customer: It looks pretty good. If everything you say is true, we would be able to start generating a profit sooner and be ahead of schedule.
Salesperson: Well, I am glad to hear that would be a benefit for you. What will it mean for your organization to be able to start generating a profit sooner and be ahead of schedule?
Customer: We will definitely be able to ensure that we meet our organizational goals for the year, and our CEO will be very impressed. This would also be a major morale booster for my department because we have been working under a lot of pressure, and there has been a lot of concern about reaching our goals for the year.
What is happening in this example? The customer is selling himself. You are not trying to trick the customer into a sale. You are providing value by being professional, having integrity, showing concern for the customer, and really trying to help the customer solve his problems. This is value—value that the majority of people in sales are not providing.
The keys to having the customer sell himself or herself are:
- Properly evaluate the customer and his or her needs.
- Deliver a demonstration that focuses on the customer's situation.
- Get the customer to verbalize the value your product or service would provide.
As you learn how to develop customer needs and how to get customers to verbalize the value of your product or service, you will find your customers are selling themselves. You will no longer have to use those uncomfortable closing tricks that are outdated and cheesy.
The sales process has changed. Customers are more educated, and we need to adjust to these changes in order to sell more effectively and more professionally. When these skills are mastered, you will not only notice that your sales are increasing but also that you feel better because you are providing a better value to your customers. This activity makes your job much easier than the old, worn-out tricks.
About the Author
Henry Pellerin is the president and founder of VantaEDGETM Inc. and co-author of The Strategic Selling Process. VantaEDGETM, Inc., provides customized sales training, consultation, and facilitation services. Henry personally has had more than 17 years of experience in sales, sales management, and business development, and he shares his expertise with clients to help them receive the same results he has attained year after year.
You may want to sign up for the VantaEDGETM monthly sales tips newsletter, VantaEDGE Monthly, from which you'll receive valuable selling tips each month along with the special report "Avoid the Top 10 Selling Mistakes That Lose Sales." To do so, visit www.vantaedge.com. Henry can be reached at 864-254-9300 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.