May 22, 2013

The “close” is the moment of truth in sales: the time to test whether all of the massive amount of work and dollars spent in marketing, networking, developing coaches, making presentations, and strategizing to make the sale have been worth it. Done right and salespeople make money. Done poorly, and it means they go back to the home office empty-handed.

For complex, B2B sales, some closing approaches are more suitable than others. Here are three, taken straight from Asher Strategies’ sales training courses. I recommend you go over these with your people at the next sales meeting.

Return on Investment Close

The key to using this close is that you must first establish a bona fide, compelling and “hard” ROI.  Once done, ask “Will you look at the numbers and decide for yourself if they make sense?”

What this does is force the prospect to look and make a decision. If the need for the offering has been clearly established, and the ROI analysis is highly favorable, not buying would make her appear foolish. Alternately, if she delays, she would have to admit she cannot decide for herself or does not have authority, which most people do not wish to do.

Pilot Project Close

Most firms are understandably wary of committing to untested solutions. While recommendations from existing happy customers can help inspire some confidence in a product or service, nothing takes the fear of the unknown away like a test or pilot project.

An example of this closing approach in action is to say something like, “I understand you are hesitant to switch vendors at this time. Rather than take a big risk, I suggest we start with a pilot project for 10 early adopter users so you can see the production gains achievable with our system. If we could get this set up by the 15th, would you be ready to move forward?”

“I Recommend” Close

The prerequisite to use this closing approach is to establish a trusted advisor status in the eyes of the buyer. This means guiding the conversation with questions, and listening attentively to the prospect. If he senses that you really understand the needs of his company, and trusts you, he will follow your recommendation.

It’s very simple, but will lose its effectiveness if it is used before trust is truly established. If you have done most of the talking during the meeting, then it’s unlikely this has occurred. Keep asking and listening until he shares his true pain point, and then say, “Now that we have established how much money you are leaving on the table with the existing system, I recommend that we get started right away with our service in order to stop those runaway losses. With your endorsement on the paperwork, I can have someone here Tuesday for the installation.”

The above is just a taste of some of the closing approaches that Asher Strategies’ students learn every day, along with a host of other B2B-specific sales skills. If you find these closes valuable, and would like more training for your staff, please contact us to explore options for your firm.