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When to Close?

My question, which I have only had one person ever answer adequately is the following: When specifically should you attempt to close the sale? By that I mean what needs to have happen, specifics please, in the sale for you to go in for the close? - by Harold
My question, which I have only had one person ever answer adequately is the following: When specifically should you attempt to close the sale? By that I mean what needs to have happen, specifics please, in the sale for you to go in for the close?
When you say you've only had one person answer adequately, are you saying that you didn't agree with it completely?

In my opinion, the simplest answer, though maybe not the most complete, is that you should attempt to seek agreement with your client all along your discovery/presentation on whether your product or service is an appropriate fit/solution for your client based upon what you've uncovered during your explorations with your client.

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
My question, which I have only had one person ever answer adequately is the following: When specifically should you attempt to close the sale? By that I mean what needs to have happen, specifics please, in the sale for you to go in for the close?
I close when the customer is read to buy and gives me indications like;
  • Positive Body Language
  • Increased Customer Involvement
  • Customer Asking Leading Questions

... then trial close, handle any last objections then close.

There is no "specifics" otherwise someone would have written a book on how to sign up every customer. - by MrCharisma
I close when the customer is read to buy and gives me indications like;
  • Positive Body Language
  • Increased Customer Involvement
  • Customer Asking Leading Questions

... then trial close, handle any last objections then close.

There is no "specifics" otherwise someone would have written a book on how to sign up every customer.
Thanks for your response. However, I would point out that if a prospect exhibits positive body language, has increased involvement and asks leading or even buying questions, none of these objectively confirm that a prospect is ready to buy. All three of those behaviors could indicate a number of things and could occur at almost every point in the sale. Therefore, none are reliable enough to signify that the prospect is truly ready to buy, because each is based on the subjective feelings of the seller, which may or may not be correct.

Yet, I also thank you for your opinion saying that there is no true specifics that will allow a sales person to truly know when to close. Does anyone disagree?? Do others agree?? I would like to hear from others because I think this is an important discussion that has large ramifications. - by Harold
My question, which I have only had one person ever answer adequately is the following: When specifically should you attempt to close the sale? By that I mean what needs to have happen, specifics please, in the sale for you to go in for the close?
Harold, can you give a solid example of what "go in for the close" looks like? Not everybody here agrees on what closing is.

If you can, you might be able to get some better replies to your question.

If you examine Rattus' reply, you'll find that he views closing as a process rather than an event. "Going in for the close" sounds like a paraphrase of "going in for the kill" which constitutes an event, and draws a word picture that would not be congruent with how many experienced salespeople view closing. - by Gary A Boye
none of these objectively confirm that a prospect is ready to buy...
I guess in this scenario, the only way to know the prospect is confirming they want your product or service is when they say;

"Where do I sign up?"
OR
"Can I organise that with you now?"

Maybe it's just my experience but you will never know exactly if the prospect is ready to buy without first assuming the sale or checking the prospects buying temperature with a trial close.

"Based on what we've covered so far, what are your thoughts?"

No objection, close the deal...


Great discussion point though Harold thmbp2; - by MrCharisma
I guess in this scenario, the only way to know the prospect is confirming they want your product or service is when they say;

"Where do I sign up?"
OR
"Can I organise that with you now?"

Maybe it's just my experience but you will never know exactly if the prospect is ready to buy without first assuming the sale or checking the prospects buying temperature with a trial close.

"Based on what we've covered so far, what are your thoughts?"

No objection, close the deal...


Great discussion point though Harold thmbp2;
I tend to agree with most of that although "close the deal", like so many other references to closing. hardly describes how you do that.

One of the things that is seldom discussed here, and is often discussed among really successful salespeople, is the "taking ownership" factor in selling. I believe that is probably the definitive answer to Harold's original question. A successful sales process leads to that event, but it is an act of volition by the buyer as a result of the seller's fine efforts. "Assuming the sale" as it is popularly talked about (as a close), is usually weak, counterproductive, and transparent. That is not in reference, BTW, to Mr. Charisma's use of the term. Certainly one can assume the sale when there is evidence that the buyer is in the process of assuming ownership. It is not things like body language that we look for, it is a shift in conversation by the buyer that shows that he/she has assumed the ownership in his/her mind. - by Gary A Boye
Perhaps some clarification is needed. By close I simply mean, ask the prospect to purchase. I completely agree that closing is built upon a progression of consent. However, there is a time in the sale when it is appropriate to ask the prospect to purchase. This is different than a trail close or any other questions up to this point in the sales process. My question is simple, when is time to ask the prospect to purchase and how to you know?

This is an important discussion. Please feel free to share what criteria, specific criteria please, must be met for you to ask the prospect to buy. - by Harold
I'll take a step back.

First, I think the challenge of closing is overcoming the fear of asking for the business or next step. In other words, overcoming the fear of objections and rejection.

This challenge is met by effectively working the Sales Process (which means a number of things depending upon the complexity of the sale you are involved in):

(1) Gaining incremental committments to you and your solution by facilitating any internal decsions prospects need to make and asking trial-close-questions;

(2) Resolving any objections you uncover; and,

(3) Asking for the order or specific next step with confidence in the knowledge that you have collaboratively worked the Sales Process with your prospect.

OK, so "when specifically should you attempt to close the sale?"

From my experience, prospect's normally do tell you if you pay attention. This is when "concrete" buying signals come into play. Concrete buying signals take many forms, but they often deal with price, financing, availability and other things related to getting what they want - "as I want it", "when I want it", and at "the price I want it".

Whenever you hear buying signals it's time to ask to gain commitment to the order. - by Neil Porter
This is a difficult question to answer with a sure fire answer. When the sales process is completed perfectly it is a natural progression for the sale to close with little effort to ask for the sale. A perfect completition would be inclusion of all aspects that interest the buyer (client) to make a decision to move forward. The steps to complete this situation are determined by the buyer that the sales professional discovers and the process seems to flow in the direction that allows the client's emotional stance to ignite and allow for the mental decision to be made with facts moving to a completed sale.

For those that do not close with natural ease the sales professional is required to go extra steps to reach that final close or ask for the right to do business for ( LOL Gary) the ownership exchange(taking ownership).

There may be a series of trial closes to make sure the process is heading in the right direction. Body language, facial expressions, and client stated words give meaning to the location of the process. Have I discovered the real issues that concern the client? Does the client have faith and belief in the solution? How much trust have I developed and how much more do I need to have the client in a comfortable place to make the best decision that is possible with me. Where is the client’s perceived value in comparison of the dollars required to complete the sale. If not how do I start moving in that direction with items that is important to the client. Have I kept this process about the client or has it swung to me and if it has I must move it back to them and immediately. Lessen my talking and increase the clients talking. Give the client what they want and that is a viable solution that makes their life easier and better.Ask for the sale.

Closing is a progression sometimes it is a natural progression and others times I am required to earn it by other means.
- by rich34232
From my experience, prospect's normally do tell you if you pay attention. This is when "concrete" buying signals come into play. Concrete buying signals take many forms, but they often deal with price, financing, availability and other things related to getting what they want - "as I want it", "when I want it", and at "the price I want it".

Whenever you hear buying signals it's time to ask to gain commitment to the order.
Can you share with our members a few actual examples of what these "concrete buying signals" sound like. - by Gary A Boye
I don't want my point about the prospect assuming ownership confused in any way with Rich's preference to use "ownership exchange" in place of "sale". They are not the same.

The topic was "when to close." The clues to timing will be in the prospect's tendency to assume ownership in the conversation. - by Gary A Boye
I don't want my point about the prospect assuming ownership confused in any way with Rich's preference to use "ownership exchange" in place of "sale". They are not the same.

The topic was "when to close." The clues to timing will be in the prospect's tendency to assume ownership in the conversation.
As in "I'm buyin this thing....!"

Aloha... :cool: - by rattus58
That is a real good question, In my marketing the two times I completed a sale I didn't have to close. I simply told my prospect if they saw something they wanted I could easily give that to them. I tried canned-close methods in the past and they never worked, in fact it made people around me more uncomfortable.All I can say if the person wants what your offering they will purchase it and the resistance of price never comes into the conversation. The only frustrating part is a lot of people I present myself to decide they want to purchase at a later time. I do my follow ups but usually every four weeks to see if their situation changed and they were ready to move forward. - by ronniebryan
Can you share with our members a few actual examples of what these "concrete buying signals" sound like.
For example, when I was in the business of selling training programs/projects etc. A concrete buying signal for me was when the prospect started to quiz me on the availability of certain trainers. Another concrete signal was after the proposal submission with price etc, the prospect would request an opportunity to sit-in on a particular course or a particular trainer's delivery of a course. In both these cases I would use trial-close-questions such as "Can I assume that if we can work out the dates you will proceed with this course" or "If the trainer meets your requirements can I assume you'll go ahead?" - by Neil Porter
For example, when I was in the business of selling training programs/projects etc. A concrete buying signal for me was when the prospect started to quiz me on the availability of certain trainers. Another concrete signal was after the proposal submission with price etc, the prospect would request an opportunity to sit-in on a particular course or a particular trainer's delivery of a course. In both these cases I would use trial-close-questions such as "Can I assume that if we can work out the dates you will proceed with this course" or "If the trainer meets your requirements can I assume you'll go ahead?"
Those are very good examples. - by Gary A Boye
I'm not worried about when the customer is ready to buy, I just go for a close right after they make any kind of agreement with me.

So, that means your out of contract right? Customer says "Yes" or customer shakes head up and down. Then I say "How do you spell you last name."

I say Does that make sense? customer says "yes" or shakes head up and down. Then I say before you get it just let me tell you about it okay?

Whoever says a customer has to WANT a product before they buy it? I don't care if they want the product or not, I only care if they can be closed. - by cs80918
So much helpful information and sound advice, but in the end in my opinion, is your instinct.

I think you just know when your closing sale is going to be a success or not. - by Michael Dalton Johnson
I would agree with Michael above. It's not as simple a process as making sure all the boxes on the list are checked.

I would also add one caveat. If you are dealing with an experienced buyer, then he/she will be already aware of all the tricks in the book, so if you try to be too "smart" with the close, then you risk getting knocked back for what the buyer sees as trying to insult their intelligence. Keep it straightforward and simple with no ridiculous "pressure tactics". - by category management
I would agree with Michael above. It's not as simple a process as making sure all the boxes on the list are checked.

I would also add one caveat. If you are dealing with an experienced buyer, then he/she will be already aware of all the tricks in the book, so if you try to be too "smart" with the close, then you risk getting knocked back for what the buyer sees as trying to insult their intelligence. Keep it straightforward and simple with no ridiculous "pressure tactics".
You are referring to something you call it. What is "it". Do you mean the "closing question?" What do you think a "close" is? Something that takes place at the end? Can you give us examples of a bad "it" and a good "it?"

Also, why do you think that "making sure all the boxes are checked" is simple? That phrase is usually used for an effective and sometimes sophisticated and well thought out process. - by Gary A Boye
Harold

Assuming you are in a B2B sale, one of the fundamentals of the art of closing is to start with the notion that, given that the buying process is long, one must close on every call for some commitment that moves the sales process forward.

So, for example, if you were in the early part of the sales process you "close' might be to ask the person to whom you are selling to help you get a meeting with a senior person in the company.

On each call, the best practice answer to the "when" to close question is to close once at the end of the call. - by richard ruff
I tend to agree with most of that although "close the deal", like so many other references to closing. hardly describes how you do that.

One of the things that is seldom discussed here, and is often discussed among really successful salespeople, is the "taking ownership" factor in selling. I believe that is probably the definitive answer to Harold's original question. A successful sales process leads to that event, but it is an act of volition by the buyer as a result of the seller's fine efforts. "Assuming the sale" as it is popularly talked about (as a close), is usually weak, counterproductive, and transparent. That is not in reference, BTW, to Mr. Charisma's use of the term. Certainly one can assume the sale when there is evidence that the buyer is in the process of assuming ownership. It is not things like body language that we look for, it is a shift in conversation by the buyer that shows that he/she has assumed the ownership in his/her mind.
From my experience and research, this paragraph above not only illuminates the psychology of sales but reveals where the core motivation in communication itself resides.

Assuming ownership is a state of "being" that the seasoned sales rep is looking for beneath the verbal and body languages. For these "languages" are observables that function only as catalysts, along with the immediate environment, to develop a single holistic hidden process called communication.

What is our relationship with a shopping cart when meandering through the isles of our local store? What would happen if someone accidentally grabbed your cart: you would bring this to the attention of the "criminal" and he or she would relinquish your possession with humble apologies. So, now you not only expressed ownership but the transgressor agrees!

In this scenario, you assume ownership of that cart and its contents even if it is temporary. Yet, the cart belongs to the store and you have not paid for the food. So, what do you own? How can you claim the cart is yours? Yes, you were using it but that (use) is not what gives you the power to demand possession. It is the motivation linked to the innate capacity"ownership."

What would happen if you were at a local convenience store and placed a Coke on the counter and someone behind you reached out grabbed it for themselves? Everyone in the line including the clerk, would demand that it be returned because of the mental state of "assumption of ownership" which we all feel. And, you were not using the can.

The actual transfer of the object in sales, is only a token indicator of a prior state of mind. That is why the assumptive sale approach can work with some prospects as it signals to the customer the relinquishment of ownership paving the way for the customer to assume ownership.


- by John Voris
You close when both you and your prospect know that their problem is solved with said product or service. - by GivetoGet
Wrote, in part -

If you examine Rattus' reply, you'll find that he views closing as a process rather than an event. "Going in for the close" sounds like a paraphrase of "going in for the kill" which constitutes an event, and draws a word picture that would not be congruent with how many experienced salespeople view closing.
I agree.

What most salespeople refer to as "Closing the Sale" is a fiction that they want to believe. In reality, the only one with the power to close a sale is the buyer.

In our sales process, the salesperson has a list of 20 to 30 pre-determined, mutual agreements and mutual commitments. It takes an average of 40 seconds to discuss each one. A preponderance of positive answers result in a high percentage of sales. - by JacquesWerth
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