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Popping The Question

February 22, 2005
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Download Popping The QuestionBy Linda Richardson

A REAL CLOSER ASKS FOR WHAT HE/SHE WANTS AND

IS NOT VAGUE ON NEXT STEPS.

Valentine’s Day is a day to “pop the question.” In the spirit of that, let’s focus this month on closing.

Just as a sweetheart’s answer should not come as a shock to the one asking, you should have a strong indication of how the client will respond when you close. By asking for feedback throughout the dialogue with questions like, “How does that sound?” or “How will that work?” you can gauge where you are and gain the confidence to close.

Closing isn’t an all or nothing one-time event in love or business. It is an incremental process and by checking throughout the dialogue and then popping the question, you can be an effective “closer.” Avoid the “non-close” close.

“No closes” at the end of a sales meeting sound like this:

· “Why don’t I send you …?” (More work for you – But is it what the client wants? Is it warranted?)

· “I’ll write this up and send a summary to you.”

· “Let me work on what we have covered today and get back to you with …”

· “I’ll call you to set a time to get back with you.”

· “I’ll call your assistant to set up our next meeting.”

· “I’ll get back to you.” (Too loose – when?)

· “I’d like to bring in my specialist to meet with you to learn about your needs.” (Did you qualify this opportunity?)

· “I think you’ll agree … will benefit you.” Silence (But what does the client think?)

· “I think this will be great for you in …” Silence (But what does the client think?)

· “I know you’ll want to think about this and discuss it with your team. I will call you.”

Of course, some of these closes may be appropriate under the right circumstances – provided you are clear about how the client feels about the meeting and it actually is the best next step to maintain momentum and get you to the point of closing.

A “real close” may feel more risky. By using the feedback you have gotten from checking, it will help you close more business.

To be a closer:

· Before each meeting, set a measurable action step that guides you toward your close.

· Begin to close with Global Check (you have already been checking throughout) by asking the client for his/her feedback on the meeting and asking a direct question such as, “What do you think of what we discussed today?” Few salespeople we see do this. Ask this question and listen. Your goal is to understand the “good, bad, and ugly!” of how the client feels about the meeting and what you positioned. This is the basis for your close. (The only time you don’t need this is if you have checked extensively throughout and you are absolutely

sure how the client would answer. But even then I like it as a lead-in to the close.) More importantly, the Global Check gives the data you need to confidently close.

· Position a concise summary of tailored benefits that focus on the client’s needs.

· Request an action step/next step. This can range from asking for a next meeting and

setting the date or setting the next step, to asking for the business. For example, a next

step is, “May I get a copy of your … so I can …?” Asking for the business is, “We are ready

to start. All we need is your go ahead” or “We can have … to you by … May we begin?”

A real closer asks for what he/she wants and is not vague on next steps.

Many, many salespeople opt for the “no close.” Closers close faster and more often. In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, get to your client today and pop the question, whether for a specific next step to move the process forward or to ask for the business. Remember, everyone loves a closer!

http://www.richardson.com/resources/resources_TIPS0205.html

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