Closing the sale is a natural conclusion to a carefully prepared and well-conducted presentation to a qualified prospect. However, the most important factor in successfully closing a sale may not be having the lowest price or even the best product. Your attitude is the crucial factor. You must have an absolute belief in what you are selling, and you must expect to be successful. Salespeople’s negative attitudes and reluctance to negotiate stem from their reactions to the multitude of criticisms and complaints they hear each day from buyer’s remarks that are usually unconnected to the presentation they are making. If you have a feeling you’re not going to make the sale, you listen and store information that validates that feeling. That feeling is, in turn sensed by prospects, who increase their negative input in reaction to your attitude.
Confidence is contagious; it infects prospects and draws them to your side. As a result, they find it difficult to offer weak excuses because of the persuasive power of your confidence. Attitude is the mind’s paintbrush. It colors every situation. If you assume that you will successfully close the sale, the prospect interprets your confidence as reassurance that the product will provide the needed benefits. Your positive attitude makes the difficult decision “Yes, I’ll buy” much easier for prospects.
If you and the prospect have together defined the problem and worked out a solution, the close is nothing more than the last step in a sequence. After all, you have provided a quantity of solid information and helped the prospect study the existing situation and work out solutions to personal and/or business problems. You have been working for the prospect so far as an unpaid business consultant. The close is payday. Confidence at the close allows you to ask for the order in a straightforward manner.
“Mr. Kromer, we have agreed on the capacity of the printer, its speed capabilities, and the cost of supplying paper, and we have clarified your questions regarding the service contract. We could significantly speedup the process if we could settle now on a delivery date. Is Friday okay with you?”
When you maintain a positive mental attitude, a high level of self-confidence, and belief in your product, you create an atmosphere within which you can consistently handle the day-to-day difficulties that are inevitable in the world of selling. When prospects fail to follow your buying recommendation, you know that the rejection is seldom directed toward you personally but is instead a reflection of their own differing opinions about what will best fill their needs or a result of their personal hesitancy to make a decision that they perceive as a risk. In other words, you have lost nothing except a little of your time, but the prospects who say no have lost the opportunity to benefit from using your product or service and of being your personal customer.
Persistence is another extremely important outgrowth of a positive attitude. the idea is to be graciously tenacious – without being obnoxious. You should push, but never be pushy. Your goal should be to make repeat, meaningful calls that demonstrate to prospects you are not going to give up. Successful salespeople never take “no” for an answer unless it is in everyone’s best interest to do so.
If the business is worth having, it is worth going after repeatedly with, repeated calls or repeated attempts to close in a single call. This extra effort and persistence often spells the difference between success and failure. How many times do you ask prospects for their business? The answer often given is “one more time.” Realistically, you should be prepared to ask at least four times. Studies done among sales professionals in a number of major industries report these findings:
• 46% of those interviewed ask for the order once and quit
• 24% ask for the order twice
• 14% ask for the order three times
• 12% give up after the fourth attempt
The most disturbing statistic in the study, however, shows that sixty percent of all sales are made only after the fifth closing attempt. Yet 96% of the salespeople interviewed give up before the fifth attempt.
In summary, a successful sale is a natural result of a carefully prepared and well-conducted presentation to a qualified prospect. Failure to get the order is more often a matter of attitude than of skill. Learning the basic types of closing techniques is a relatively simple task; adopting winning attitudes about closing seems to be more difficult for many salespeople.