I love how some people say that “closing just happens.” They say that all you have to do is get a bunch of yeses throughout the sales process and eventually the client will sign the contract. No, they won’t! You have to ask.
Closing is like skydiving. The reason the instructor is strapped to your back when you go skydiving is first to make sure you don’t die, but second to make sure you jump. Most people would chicken out when it was their turn at the edge of the plane. The instructor is there to give you a little nudge and lean forward so you follow through. It’s the same with closing. Closing is not natural and it takes practice.
There are two main types of closes: hard and soft. Both are necessary since depending on the people or the scenario, different closes are appropriate. Both have their pros and cons, too. The point is: we need to learn, practice, and use both.
Hard closing is direct, requires immediate response, and usually maintains control. The problem with hard closing is that you may over qualify, it’s unappealing to “indirect” people, and it can ruin rapport.
The soft close is more natural, keeps borderline opportunities alive, and is non-confrontational. The problem with soft closing is that it wastes time, makes it hard to forecast, is unappealing to “direct” people, and can also sacrifice rapport.
A key to effective closing is to be proactive rather than reactive. I used to wait until I felt it was the right time to close. I relied on my gut, which wasn’t always accurate and it resulted in missed opportunities. Now I plan it out and I am much more effective because of it.
I’ve written before about how I think the best way to improve is to A/B split test everything. This includes closing. Here are some closing techniques you can split test and practice with in different scenarios:
- DIRECT: “Will you sign the PO today?”
- OBJECTION: “If we can address that concern, will you sign today?”
- REVERSE: “Why don’t you think you should sign today…?”
- NEGATIVE: “I don’t think you should sign today…”
- ASSUMPTIVE: “When do you want to begin implementation?”
- TRIAL: “If you had to make a recommendation today, would you endorse us?”
- CHOICE: “Do you want this with A or B?”
- PORCUPINE: “Does that come with X?” “Do you want it to come with X?”
Closing isn’t something that just happens at the end of the sales process. It happens all the way throughout. For your next call with a prospect, think of something you can close for, write it down, identify the close you’ll use, and try it out. See what happens. The more you practice, the better you’ll get. Make it Happen!