In the selling profession, closing is the winning score, the bottom line, the name of the game, the cutting edge, the point of it all. We all know plenty of techniques for prospecting, meeting new people, building rapport, qualifying, demonstrating our vehicles and services, and overcoming objections.
But, if you can’t close, you’re like a football team that can’t sustain a drive long enough to score. It does you no good to play your whole game in your own territory and never get across the other team’s goal line. I’m here to tell you that if you don’t love the closing process enough to master it now, start falling in love with it because, this is where the money is.
True professionals are closing most of the time.
They close for names and contact information. They close for appointments. They close for opportunities to demonstrate vehicles. They are constantly trying test closes, and they can kick into their final closing sequence anytime they smell success.
Average salespeople get so wrapped up in their presentation sequence that if the buyer decides to invest before they’re through, they won’t let them have the vehicle. They just keep going in their set pattern of telling, telling, telling – instead of selling. When you’re new, doing that is understandable because you lack experience. After you’ve had the opportunity to work directly with potential buyers, you need to become flexible enough to alter your presentation according to their needs.
Some clients get sold quickly. If you keep talking instead of getting the final agreement, you might unsell them just as fast. More talk triggers more objections. Pay close attention. When the prospect is ready, stop talking and start filling out those forms.
I’m going to give you the eight most important words in the art of closing. These are the most powerful words spoken on the complex, demanding, and well-paid art of closing. If you’re just skimming this article and haven’t marked anything yet, get your highlighter out now. Here they are:
Whenever you ask a closing question, shut up!
The important words are “shut up.” That is why the late J. Douglas Edwards used to shout them at his audiences. I was sitting in the front row the first time I heard these words. I was already jumpy from the excitement of the seminar, and when Doug shouted “SHUT UP!”, I dove for cover. That memory is carved into my mind, along with those words. They explain the single most important element in turning my disastrous sales experience at that time, into the record-breaking success it soon became.
Ask your closing question then – keep quiet! It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, it isn’t. I had a real challenge in this area and I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing wrong until I heard J. Douglas Edwards say those words.
The first time I tried to ask a closing question and then keep quiet, I was prepared for the prospect’s reaction. I expected them to keep silent. What I hadn’t prepared for was the intensity of my own reaction: The silence felt like wet sand being piled on my chest. My insides were churning, I had to bite the inside of my lip, and I was acutely aware of every nerve ending in my body. It was a gargantuan struggle not to fidget. Finally, the prospects did decide they would invest and I never again dreaded that awful silence after asking a closing question.
Why is it so important to keep quiet?
Say the prospect hesitates for a few moments, wondering when they should take delivery. You become uncomfortable and assume they are questioning the investment so you blurt out that you’ll see if your manager will let you reduce the investment, when that wasn’t even the issue. You can’t know what they’re thinking when they’re quiet so don’t try to guess. Just sit and wait.
The average salesperson can’t wait more than ten seconds after asking a closing question. If “Mrs. Jones” hasn’t answered by then, they’ll say something like, “Well, we can talk about that later,” and go on talking, unaware that they have just destroyed the closing momentum. And it’s probably not just the one close that is destroyed. “Mrs. Jones” can certainly keep quiet for a few moments—almost all undecided buyers can. If you’re true Champion material, you can sit there quietly all afternoon, if you have to. It takes concentration, but the actual silence after asking for the sale rarely lasts longer than 30-40 seconds.
Having the skill, courage, and concentration to sit still and be silent for at least half a minute is the single, most vital, skill there is in selling. Practice this until you get a feel for how long 30 seconds is, and then it won’t be so nerve-wracking when money is riding on how calm and quiet you remain in a real closing situation.