My CPS colleague Joe Foley wrote an article recently on closing a sale. He covered some reasons why salespeople and customers have difficulty closing.
Generally, for salespeople, the difficulty arises from either business reasons or personal reasons.
- Lack of customer knowledge
- Lack of application knowledge
- Lack of preparation
Business reasons are often about not being well-prepared. You can remedy this by doing your homework or getting some coaching.
- Fear of losing
- Lack of motivation
- "I'm having a bad day. Leave me alone."
- Dull customer: "I would rather spend time at the dentist."
- Intimidation: "This customer scares me."
Personal reasons are much more emotion-based. In either case, check what is holding you back and do what you need to do to move forward.
Customers have difficulty committing, too. There are a variety of reasons that customers may be reticent to commit. Among them:
- Fear. "I don't have enough information..."
- Nerves. "I'm not sure I have the authority..."
- Buyer's Remorse. "I wish there was another company I felt better about..."
- Guilt. "I like my current vendor. I hope they don't take it personally."
- Anxiety. "My budget won't cover..."
- Doubt. "Is this the right way? The right time?"
While you may perceive your customer is having difficulty committing, don’t jump to conclusions. Instead, get in the habit of utilizing a trial close.
Conducting a Trial Close
A good trial close provides you with key customer feedback on how well your solution meets his needs. It clarifies what he is thinking and if he truly is the decision-maker. A good trial close signals his willingness to commit and surface any hidden objections.
- Ask for your customer’s opinion.
- Ask about recent buying decisions and criteria used to make them.
- What does your customer like/dislike about your offer?
- Why would he not close? Get him to tell you the reasons.
- Ask him for the top three advantages to your solution.
If there are no objections, you are ready to close.
Joe's article also addresses how to handle objections and match closing techniques to personality styles. Click here to read the whole article.