5 Tips for Closing a Sale | Company Activities & Management > Sales & Selling from AllBusiness.com
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5 Tips for Closing a Sale

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Do you find yourself struggling to close the sale? Many entrepreneurs, especially those without prior experience in sales, believe closing is the most difficult part of the sales process. It doesn't have to be that way. Here are five tactics to help you successfully close:

1. Close from the beginning. Don't do a hard sell; the cutthroat approach alienates many potential customers. Instead, explain your agenda. Tell the prospect exactly what you're selling and how it can benefit their business. Being upfront about your intentions promotes an honest, mutually respectful, and rewarding discussion - paving the way for a smooth close.

2. Learn to recognize when potential customers are ready to buy. A customer might indicate they're ready by asking questions about the product or the buying process: "How long would delivery take?" "What colors does it come in?" or "Is an upgrade available?" Other signs include complaints about previous vendors and interested comments such as "Really?" or "Good idea."

3. Don't respond to questions with a yes or no. Answer your prospect's queries with questions of your own. Carefully chosen, these return questions can help lead to a sale. For example, instead of answering the question, "Does this come in black?" with merely an affirmative, you could say, "Would you like it in black?"

4. Use free trials. They often lead directly to sales. In the sales world, this approach is sometimes called the "puppy-dog" close, after the attachment children develop to a puppy after keeping it overnight. This strategy works well for all sorts of businesses and is used frequently in magazine subscriptions, where you can receive one month for free; Internet services, where there are often free 30-day memberships; and car sales, where potential buyers are offered test drives.

5. Suggest specific terms. Rather than asking whether your prospect wants to buy, suggest a specific buying scenario and then ask if your customer agrees to it. For example, "We can ship 150 units on Tuesday for $1,000. Do you want us to do that?" addresses three separate questions: the number of units to be shipped, the price of the shipment, and time it will be sent out. If your prospect is uncomfortable with any of the specifics - for example, he wants shipment on Monday - he will say so. You've offered him a chance to let you make decisions about details that otherwise would delay a sale. But be sure you know enough about your customers' needs to make reasonable suggestions. Otherwise you'll sound uninformed and pushy.

By implementing these five simple tactics, you'll find your success rate quickly climbs.

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