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Ilise’s Corner | How to Close the Deal, Part Three: Don’t Forget to Ask!

Posted by Ilise Benun on

I’ve talked about the importance of listening and of being prepared for various standard objections that can arise in the course of a conversation about buying (or not buying) your services.

So you’ve listened, you’ve answered questions, and now you have to ask for the sale.

Yet this is where many of us back off. We tell ourselves, "If they wanted it, they would let me know." And that may be true for some, but it’s dangerous (and a huge waste of the time you’ve spent up to this point) to make that assumption.

You must ask for the business. You must "close the sale", as many sales trainers call it.

Here are a few ways to broach that particular issue:

  • Outline The Next Step. "Have I answered all your questions? If so, and you’re ready to make a decision, here’s the next step in the process." Don’t ever leave any doubt as to whether they have made the commitment. Ask them directly, "Are you ready to sign the contract?" or "Are you ready to schedule the first working meeting?"
  • Make It Easy. Do everything you can to make it easy for your prospect to take that next step. There should be an activity they do to make the leap from prospect to client, such as a contract to sign, a questionnaire to fill out, or an invoice to pay — something to make the process official. This also helps engender trust and professionalism. Offer to send this document rather than waiting for them to ask for it.
  • Give A Deadline. People often need to be nudged before they take action, so it’s up to you put create a sense of urgency. Put a deadline on the sales process, such as "This offer is good until the end of this month" or, "We have one slot left for this month and I’d be happy to hold it for you if you decide by Friday." The sense of urgency often tips the scales in your direction. If it doesn’t work, that also tells you there may be something holding up the process and you need to find out what it is. You may have a bit more selling to do.
  • Offer An Incentive. If you’re sure all of their questions are answered, but they’re still hesitating, try an incentive. People are so brainwashed by retail that they sometimes don’t buy unless they get something free. Don’t resist this; go along with it. Offer a discount with a deadline, or a value add if they sign on before a specific date.

Finally, one caveat (and a couple of clichés): Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Manage your expectations, and know that the deal is not sealed until the contract is signed and money has changed hands.

Have you tried any of the tactics I’ve talked about in the last few posts on this subject? And if you have, has implementing them either made you more comfortable with selling or helped close the deal?

  • More in: Connecting, Posts by Ilise, Pricing & Marketing

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