How to Overcome the Fear of Closing

Businessmen shaking hands
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Your palms begin to sweat. You feel your heart begin to speed up its pace. Your stomach begins to churn and words seem to stumble their way out of your mouth. You feel nervous and overly concerned about what words you choose and how you say them. You wonder if your arms are being held in the right position and if you did a good enough job making sure your breath is free of any odors.

No, this doesn't describe how many feel while preparing to deliver a public speech or those building up the courage to ask someone out on a date. This describes how many sales professionals feel when they are trying to close a deal.

Why All the Drama?

Sales is a tough way to earn a living. You put in a lot of work prospecting, qualifying, building rapport, designing a proposal and delivering presentations. At any step in the sales cycle, things can (and sometimes do) go terribly wrong. A prospect, that you were excited about, turns out to have an objection that you can't overcome, or simply cannot afford your product or service.

But when things go well through the sales cycle, you arrive at the final step. The Close!

And when it's time to close the deal, all your work is put in jeopardy and could all be lost if your prospect says "no."

When it comes time to close a deal, a lot is riding on how well you close and what your prospect decides. No wonder so many either hate or avoid closing all together!

A Different Point of View

The cause of most "closing" anxiety is to your point of view or attitude. If you enter a closing conversation, knowing that you have not over-promised and do not run the risk of under-delivering, then you should view the close as a natural part of the business cycle. While you shouldn't fall prey to the attitude of being "owed a sale," you have earned the right to getting the business and should not feel anxious about asking for it.

If, however, you took shortcuts during the sales cycle, have potentially made promises that you are not certain you can deliver on, then, by all means, start feeling nervous!

The Close is Not the End

Another cause of closing-anxiety is the belief that the closing is the final step of the sales cycle. Closing is certainly not the end but should be seen more as the beginning. Once you ask for and earn a sale, you have a customer. One that can be a positive reference for you in the future. One that may become a loyal and repeat customer. Once you've closed a sale, you have created the most important thing to any business: A Customer!

Three Rejections

The funny thing about closing a sale is that it usually takes three attempts before finally getting a "yes." If you ask for a sale and receive a "no," that only means that you either haven't answered all of your prospect's questions or haven't built enough value around your product or service.

The problem is that most sales professionals stop after the first "no." You need to keep building value, building rapport and showing your prospect that you and your product will provide the solution to her needs. Stop after one "no" and you might as well have not asked for the sale at all.

When to Give Up

If you have approached a closing opportunity with a positive attitude, knowing that you have delivered your best and that your proposal is a sound one that makes business sense and your customer simply says "not interested," it may be time to move on.

If you asked for the sale a few times and can't get the prospect to become a customer, you may need to regroup, develop a new strategy and take some time away from the prospect. Anxiety is often caused when trying too hard to close a deal or trying too often to close a deal that just can't be closed.

While you may be one of the best sales professionals in the world, understanding that no one can close every sale will take an awful lot of pressure off your back. And the more relaxed you are during a sales-close, the better off you and your prospect will be.