How to Close a Sale
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Closing the sale is what makes your business profitable. All sales pitches, relationship development, and negotiations lead up to this moment. While there is no easy formula to close a sale, there are a number of sales-closing techniques that can help get your potential customer to the right mindset. It's key to take the lead during the sales discussion with potential customers. Your prospect will not be the one who does it for you, so seize control of the situation and prepare to make a deal.
When making a deal, follow the four D's, as laid out by Jeff Thull, president and CEO of Prime Resource Group:
Discovery: Prospect your customers. Find out what you can do for them and make sure that they are a good fit for your product or services. This is your chance to prove to your potential customers that you can provide what they need, especially if you are offering highly specialized products or services. When preparing to make your pitch, think about the person you're presenting to and their role. What are their wants? What do they want to avoid? Be the best listener possible in this stage.
Diagnosis: This is the stage where you analyze where your product or service fits into your customer's daily life. How can your product address inefficiencies in what they have or are doing now? Convince your potential customers that they have a problem your product or service can solve in a solid presentation. It's a good idea to ask what they liked best about the presentation – these "hot points" will help you in the next stage.
Design: In the design stage of the sales process, you should help your potential customers develop a clear idea of the outcome and their expectations. Find out the best way to reach their desired outcome, what the customer is willing to invest, and provide your own brand of assurances and guarantees that this will work for them.
Delivery: Put together a formal presentation to show the customer the product or service as developed in the design stage. Make sure that your customer is fully satisfied with the finished product, and find out if they are ready to get started today. If so, you can proceed with the final paperwork and close the sale. Try to move as quickly as possible after the "yes" to get the paperwork done, because it otherwise gives your customer time to back out. Create a sense of urgency by offering a discount if they sign immediately.
Sometimes, a sale just isn't closable. Don't beat yourself up if you don't close, because the timing may not be right or there may not be a fit. You should fight hard to land each deal, but don't be defeated if you don't. Every sales process is a learning experience, so you can apply what you learned from that process to the next client.
If you do close the sale, congratulations! It is always a good idea to follow up with your customer after closing the sale. You can learn quite a bit from them by getting feedback on both your product and your sales process. With their feedback, you can shape your pitch and presentation for your next potential customer.