In my opinion, the most overrated topic in sales training is the subject of closing. In year’s past, it seems the object of most sales training courses was to fill the heads of participants with as many closing techniques as possible. The logic was simple, if the “Ben Franklin” close didn’t work, you could rummage around in your head for the the “secondary question” technique, the “order-blank” method or the “forced choice” close to tie off your sale. Selling in the old school of training was basically learning 54 or 84 ways to close.
Today, most successful sales professionals know that if you use a consultative sales process, one with a series of selling steps like those listed below, the close (asking for the business) will literally take care of itself. Closing is an integral part of the following; a solid sales process-not a specific stand alone technique:
- Building rapport and trust;
- Obtaining your prospect's attention;
- Probing for problems, opportunities, needs and values;
- Demonstrating products based on the specific needs you have discovered,
- Asking trial closing questions and answering objections, then
- Asking for the business.
By first building rapport with a prospective customer or client, a sales or service industry professional can create the trust that our research shows is vital to consistently obtaining sales success. Through using an attention getting provocative question and then taking away your offer, you can open your prospect's mind to answering your questions and later accept the suggestions that you make in your sales presentation. By asking open-ended, probing questions, you can learn about hidden needs and problems that can be solved by your products and/or services. Through effectively demonstrating your products and/or services, answering objections and asking trial closing questions, you then set the stage for closing the sale. All that is left in this process is to ask for the business.
In my self-directed learning manual entitled Sales Success Strategies, (see www.TheSellingEdge.com/manual1.htm) I explore the steps that must precede a successful close. This unique learning guide won't give you a dozen closing techniques to memorize, nor a list of power words that will impel your prospect, client or customer to sign on the dotted line, because these words and closes simply don't work with today's sophisticated consumers. If you take time to review them and apply them to your daily sales activities, the ideas discussed can make a significant difference in your ability to regularly generate business for your company or professional firm.
VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touché, Bank One, Jefferson Pilot, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publications, Inc. Menlo Park, California. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides.
Virden assists clients through a unique personal coaching (telephone)program. He has taught at the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas and the School Of Entrepreneurship, Marriott School Of Management, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at: Virden@TheSellingEdge.com . or learn more about him at: http://www.TheSellingEdge.com