Sales Training: How to Know When to Close
Knowing when to close is critical to being able to close. If you do not learn to test if your prospect is ready to buy, then your closing percentages will suffer. Close too soon and your prospect will start resisting and possibly start saying no, and negative momentum can be difficult to reverse. Start closing the sale too late and the prospect may start to develop an “I’ll think about it” mentality and positive momentum may have been lost.
The simplest way to test if they are ready to buy is to ask the prospect their opinion. In each sales training, we continually emphasize how important it is to master a variety of questions.
Three Questions to Control the Sales Process
The first question to ask is “What is most important to you about _____?”
The second question is “What needs to happen for you to (feel, believe, see) that you will be getting _____?”
The third question allows us to test if the prospect is ready to buy. The third question is “In your opinion what do you think about _____?”
If they answer with a strong and favorable reply, chances are they are ready to purchase. If this is the case, move toward asking for the order and writing it up.
If the reply is middle of the road, chances are they need to be heated up a bit more. Keep helping them build the story of how they will be a star choosing your product, and thus benefiting from the purchase. When you test again and observe strong buying signals, start to move to the close.
If they answer weakly or vaguely it is usually a signal that they are undecided, questioning value or weighing things out. If this is the case avoid rejection and resistance by not asking for the order at this time. Instead ask more probing questions and go back to building more value.
Think of the question “In your opinion, what do you think about _____?” as a thermometer. It is testing if they are hot, warm or cold toward buying. When it’s hot, that thermostat alerts you they are ready to buy. Anything less lets you know a bit more value development is needed.
Sales Tip: Why Asking for Their Opinion Works So Well
In our sales training programs, we have specifically emphasized asking for their opinion. This is because people like being asked their opinion, as well as sharing it. You may have noticed many people are more than happy to jump in and give you their two cents, even when they aren’t asked. Furthermore, many people find their teenagers and spouse no longer ask their opinion, and the same goes for their boss. When you ask someone for their opinion, you are elevating their importance. Inside, they have been looking for an opportunity to be heard and to share. When you give them that invitation, they open right up.
Listen to what they share. Let them keep talking. If they are hot, they will tell you all the things they want to be closed on. If they aren’t fully ready but are opening up and sharing their thoughts, you will learn what else is needed to see if your product or service is the best fit to satisfy their needs.
When the prospect lets you know they are hot and ready, go for the close and the likelihood of the sale is high. When they give clues to what else they need, the path to a sale is outlined, and once again percentages soar if you are a good match with their needs.
As an alternative, sometimes we ask people to “share their thoughts”. We love getting their opinion, but “thoughts” works well too. Having a variety of ways to get them to open up is helpful.
1. Start asking prospects about their opinion of your solution to their problem
2. Notice if it is a hot’ warm or cold answer
3. Start closing when you get hot reply and build more value if reply is warm or cold
4. Use the phrase “in your opinion” on at least 10 sales presentations this week