While a great deal of B2B marketing has shifted online, sales remains very personal, as do the various techniques and tips for how to close a deal. Despite predictions, AI salespeople do not rule the roost. I would say, apart from face-to-face meetings, telephone sales are dominant. Selling via video conference has not taken off in a meaningful way, and when conversations start on LinkedIn, they generally evolve into phone conversations.
Selling via phone presents challenges in how to close a deal, however. The visual component is missing, so you cannot break the ice by mentioning something in the buyer’s office or on her desk. You miss a lot of the cues which indicate the buyer’s shift, such as leaning forward or stroking chin.
You can still be very successful when selling over the phone. Here are a few tips for how to close a deal when all you have is a voice at the other end of the line.
As customers and followers of my blog know, I preach often that the first requisite in selling is to build rapport with the buyer. Since you cannot bring up something you see in the immediate environment, a good ice breaker is to mention a mutual connection or something else which you might have in common based on your research. Believe it or not, even talking about the weather still works in this day and age!
Don’t rush into a close just because you are on the phone. Knowing how to close a deal means taking the time to get the buyer to relate to you and like you.
Mimicking body language is an excellent way to connect with buyers. It’s impossible to do on the phone, of course. Instead, try to match the buyer’s tone of voice and pace. For many, this means you have to s-l-o-w down. For others, your buyers will exhibit so much energy that you’d better stand up and smile in order to amplify your own energy (buyers can perceive this).
On the phone, you should acknowledge more. Since they cannot see you, add more “mmms” and “uh-huh” so they know you are listening. Use “Okaay,” “I see,” “go on,” and other soft phrases to encourage them to keep speaking.
Close for a face to face appointment where possible
Some products and services can be sold over the phone easily. But most would benefit from a face-to-face meeting. In this case, try to close for a personal visit. The famous Alternate Choice works naturally here: “Would you prefer Tuesday at 2 pm or Friday at 3 pm?”
Shutting up after the closing question
Exactly as in face-to-face sales calls: after you ask the closing question, be quiet. Make a little noise every few seconds, such as a deep exhale, a low clearing of the throat, or a quick sniffle so they don’t think you’ve passed out. But let them answer first or you interrupt the sale.
For more techniques on building rapport and how to close a deal, read my book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method.