Do You Know When and how to Close a Sale?

  by Rick Segal


When trying to determine when it’s time to close a sale, there are certain signs or signals — both verbal and nonverbal signs — that we look for.

Verbal Signs
When a customer says any of the following, it is a verbal sign to start closing the sale.
“I really like this one.”
“How much is it?”
“This really feels good.”
“This just feels right.”
“I see what you mean.”
“Good suggestion.”
“This is just what I was looking for.”
“This goes great with _____.”
“Do you deliver?”

nonVerbal Signs
When a customer is smiling.
When a customer touches or holds the merchandise.
When a customer nods his/her head in approval.
When a customer demonstrates excited body posture.
When you see a customer grabbing his/her cell phone to call family or friends.

When you see any of these things occur, start closing that sale. A common error is when a salesperson suggests an add-on item before the first item is a completed sale.
When you make another suggestion without tying up the loose ends, you run the risk of losing the initial sale. Make sure the first item is sold before attempting to sell any add-ons.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean you have to technically ring up a sale, but you have to feel secure that the item is sold.

Tie Downs
One step in closing a sale is the use of “tie downs.” A “tie down” is a way to gently direct a customer to agree with the positive benefits of the product. You want the customer to agree with you and simply say “yes.” The following are a few examples of the “tie downs.”
“________ (or You) certainly will get enjoyment from it, don’t you think?”
“________ is (or You are) going to love it, don’t you think?”
“This [item] is everything you asked for, isn’t it?”
“The price is better than you expected, wouldn’t you agree?”
“This is one of the best deals you ever got, don’t you agree?”

Types of Objections
and how to answer them
Part of closing a sale is answering objections. Rule No. 1 is to always compliment a customer for making an objection by saying something like:
“You bring up a good point.”
“That’s a good idea. I am glad you said that.”
“I didn’t think of that. Let’s discuss it.”

Remember that consumers shop because it feels good; shopping is a feel-good experience. When a customer disagrees with something, he/she might expect some type of confrontation. When you compliment the objection, you diffuse any possible minor hostilities.

One of the best techniques to use in overcoming objections is a technique referred to as the “Four ‘Fs’” — “feel,” “felt,” “found” and “felt.”
The four Fs are used when a customer is confused or not quite ready to make a commitment. This how it goes:
“I know how you feel about making the big decision about buying this ______. I felt the same way, but I found (here’s a place you can use your own experience to relate with the customer). After I made the decision, I felt so much better.”

What happens when a customer says, “The price is too high”?
You suggest a less-expensive item. Whatever you do, do not start negotiating price with the customer at this point. You might have to adjust the price later on, but this is not the place to do it.

When a customer says, “I want to think it over,” your next line should be, “Excellent idea. Now tell me exactly what you want to think over.”
By asking that, you can sometimes reveal the true reasons why a customer is not buying. Even if this doesn’t help in making the sale, it will give you valuable information about various products.
When a customer objects to a product, simply show him/her another product. If you know the original product is the best option, don’t be afraid to reintroduce that product again later in the sale.

When does a salesperson become a salesperson? When a customer says “no.”
Sometimes we need to make the decision for the customer, when he/she is afraid to make a commitment. We step forward and say, “This is what we’re going to do.”

When a customer is being unreasonable, the line to use is, “I wish we could.”

When a customer says, “It’s not in the budget,” the salesperson smiles or chuckles a little and says, “A budget is only an estimate. Some things are going to be higher, and some things are going to be lower. In this case, you’re a little higher.”

Pros and Cons
One of the classic types of closing techniques is referred to as “The Benjamin Franklin.” That is when you have a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. Put the pros on one side and the cons on the other.
In other words, the reasons to buy are on one side, and the reasons not to buy are on the other side. Make sure when you do this that there are more reasons to buy than not to buy.

Appealing to their vanity
The last type of close is specifically designed for the status-seeking customer. This is when you say, “Everybody’s buying it.”
For some people, keeping up with what is hot and trendy is the most important thing. Just be careful where you use it

Remember that closing a sale should be as natural as possible. The goal is to sell people items they want or need — even when they don’t realize they want or need them.

Rick Segel is a passionate retail business development specialist, public speaker and author. His diverse business background and expertise enable him to counsel businesses in a number of industries by identifying universally applicable secrets of success that are essential for making a business succeed.
As a speaker, he has enthralled audiences in 49 states, in 10 countries, and on 5 continents. He is a member of The National Speakers Association (NSA) and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).
Mr. Segel has written 13 business management books, including the best-selling Retail Business Kit for Dummies as well as Laugh & Get Rich, Wowing Them Into Your Store, Becoming the Vendor of Choice and Essential Online Solution.
His most recent book — The Retail Sales Bible — a retail-sales training book was released in March. A collaboration between Mr. Segal and Matthew Hudson, Ph.D., this book is comprehensive yet concise, easy to understand, user friendly and written in a way that makes the materials stick. This article is an excerpt from the book.

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