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Apr 04
2006

Five Keys for Closing Sales

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Successful selling is the lifeblood of any business. Every salesperson and business owner wants to close as many sales as possible. By developing five key habits, you can dramatically improve your closure rate.

To succeed in sales, you must first learn how to present strong, compelling arguments quickly to your customers. "'Present your case,' the Lord says, 'bring forward your strong arguments'" (Isaiah 41:21, NASB). A salesperson has one or two minutes to connect with a customer. If you miss that window of opportunity, the prospect is often lost. Develop a one- or two-sentence opening statement designed to establish rapport with your customer. Be prepared to state what you and your company do well. Know your competitive advantage and hit it solidly. As you make your statement, watch the customer's reaction. Experiment to see which phrases connect the best.


Sue knew her product line well, but she could see that prospects lost focus after a few minutes. When she developed an effective opening, she was able to hold her customers' attention, present her products, and close more sales.


Ben had developed what he thought was a good opening, but he became frustrated as sales continued to elude him. "I seem to get customers on the hook," he said, "but then I lose them at the last minute." What Ben needed to do was develop the habit of effective listening, the second key to closing more sales. Your customer is often your best source of information, but to get that information, you have to listen. Often, even when we're trying to listen, we spend more than half our "listening time" thinking about what we're going to say next. As a result, we miss the clues and cues that the customer gives us. King Solomon wrote, "He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him" (Proverbs 18:13, NASB). Develop questions designed to draw out information that you can use to offer the best possible service or product. If the prospect hesitates, ask, "What do you think?" The more questions you are able to get answered, the better information you can develop.

Another key principle is to keep the conversation on target. King Solomon said, "The fool multiplies his words" (Ecclesiastes 10:14, NASB). Fewer, well-focused words hit the mark far better than endless chatter. Practice making your key points clearly and concisely in one or two sentences. After you've made your point, stop. Better to allow a moment of silence than to start rambling. Don't let your key points get lost in the clutter of too many words. Fourth, develop several key questions designed to get a "yes" from your customer. Often, the process of closing a sale involves getting the customer to agree to several preliminary or intermediate points. Ask questions such as these: "If I can deliver the product and save you money, would you be interested?" "If I can improve delivery times, would that improve your operation?" "Since quality is an issue, if I can show you how we can improve quality, would you be interested?" "If I establish that our new press will reduce your labor time by 20 percent and pay for itself in eighteen months, would that help your bottom line?"

Develop your own set of questions, but remember that the best path to closing a sale is often to bring the customer along one step at a time. Finally, ask for the sale. Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given to you" (Mathew 7:7, NASB). Though Jesus was speaking about spiritual matters, the same principle applies to closing sales. Most often, sales are lost by an ineffective introduction or by failing to ask for the business. Kindly, gently, but directly, ask for the sale, and then be quiet and wait for an answer. If the answer is noncommittal, determine what additional information is needed to help the customer make a decision. If the answer is no, endeavor to find out why. The more information you can gather about lost sales, the more effective you can be in the future. Adopt these five key principles and prepare to close more sales!

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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