Ask any salesperson what the most stressful part of their job is and they will probably tell you it's closing a sale.
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The closing is where the rubber meets the road. It's the moment you discover whether your weeks of preparation will pay off or whether it's all been a big waste of time.
Sales techniques and gimmicks can be helpful, but you can't rely on them to close the deal. A successful closing always comes down to one thing: Knowledge. The more you know, the more likely it is that you will be able to sign your client.
At a minimum, there are at least six things you must know to close the deal:
- Know when to close - Bad timing is a major culprit behind unsuccessful closings. Go for the close too early, and your client might think you're only interested in their money. Close too late, and you give the competition a chance to steal the sale. So when is the right time to close? When both you and the client have all the information you need to make the right decision.
- Know your client - Relationship and rapport are key elements in a closing. The better you know your client, the easier it will be for him to say "yes" when it comes time to seal the deal. Even more, the process of getting to know your client will help familiarize you with his needs, providing you with an arsenal of reasons why your product is the best product for his circumstances.
- Know the competition - In a perfect world, there would be no competition in small business. But since we don't live in a perfect world, you need to do whatever it takes to gain an advantage over your competitors. If you know the ins and outs of the competition, you can go into the closing with confidence, equipped with reasons why your client should put your product at the top of the list.
- Know your leverage - Cost is important, but it isn't the only factor clients consider when making a buying decision. Customer service, product quality, and other considerations may also be factors. In some cases, they may even be more important than the bottom line dollar figure. Know how to match your strengths with your client's priorities, and then be prepared to use that knowledge as leverage in the closing.
- Know your product - If you don't know your product, you will probably not close many deals. But knowing your product isn't only for the sake of your client. It also helps build your confidence in the product, and a product you believe in is always easier to sell than one you don't.
- Know what makes you unique - Whether you know it or not, your company and your product are unique. You will be able to offer your client things that no other company or product are capable of delivering. Instead of trying to convince your client how standard your company is, learn what makes it unique and be able to communicate it at the closing.