You started with prospecting, moved into building rapport before identifying needs and delivering your presentation. Next, you moved on to overcoming objections before earning the right to close the sale or get the job. If you've done a good and thorough job during each of the previous steps, closing the sale may be easy.
Or it could be the hardest, most challenging and difficult step that can leave you scratching your head and thinking about changing your career.
Where the Rubber Hits the Road
If you are in sales or trying to get a sales position, closing sales is what you get paid for or will be hired for. Don't close or don't close enough, and you'll join the ranks of the unemployed. The simple fact is that your employer hired you to bring in revenue by closing sales and turning prospects into customers. Closing is where the rubber hits the road, and you prove your worth and those who believe closing sales is something belonging to the old school ways of sales will quickly discover just how wrong they are.
Closing is also where most sales professionals experience anxiety, lose confidence, try to hard or simply avoid having to close at all. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of closing tips & tricks, the best way to close a sale is to complete every step leading up to the closing step flawlessly.
Easier Said than Done
So how do you know if you've done a good job in the first 5 steps of the sales or interview cycle, and more importantly, how can you learn from one cycle to make the next even better? The simple answer is to pay very close attention to how your prospect responds to your closing questions. If they seem confused, hesitant, reluctant or even offended, your task is to review each of the previous steps and analyze what you may have missed.
For example, if you didn't uncover and overcome all of your prospect's objections, you will most likely not be able to close the sale. If your prospect seems confused about exactly how your product/service/skills will solve their needs, you should review your presentation skills.
Each step in Brian Tracy's sales cycle leads to the next step. This logical progression has built-in checks and balances that, if followed, help to ensure that you are indeed ready to move to the next step. However, just because you move from the presentation step to the closing step does not necessarily mean that you've covered everything in the step that your prospect needed. Often, sales professionals advance a cycle before making sure that their prospect is ready to advance. When this happens, sales don't happen.
Getting the Job
For those interviewing for a job, the closing step is when you ask for the job. Questions like "When do I start?" may seem pretentious but bold questions deliver a message to the hiring manager. Bold questions tell them that the person they are interviewing is interested in the position, if confident and is not afraid to ask for what they want. At the same time, asking a bold question without having earned the right to ask for the job, comes off as overly aggressive, sloppy and seldom results in getting the job.
The Best Closing Advice
Begin with the end in mind. While this advice may seem simple, it puts you in the correct frame of mind as soon as you begin a new cycle. Knowing that you are prospecting to separate suspects from prospects prevents you from spending your valuable time calling on people who will never become your customers.
Building rapport with people that are struggling to make their payroll may earn you a friend, but will probably not earn you a customer. Delivering a presentation to a business that is using your time and resources to build leverage against their current vendor may help you improve your presentation skills but will do nothing to improve your bank account.
Each step leads to the next, and each step needs to be viewed as its complete cycle. A great and powerful sales technique is to close the prospect after each step before advancing to the next. Closing on a step assures you that the prospect is on board and recognizes the value that you present. Closing on each step also is a powerful way to uncover objections.
There's an old expression in sales that is summed up by 3 simple letters: ABC. This stands for "Always Be Closing." What this means is that you shouldn't save any closing questions to the Closing Step, but should make use of trial often closes, early and certainly before advancing to the next step in the cycle.