Closing the Deal

By Lain Ehmann

Closing is not an event, but a gradual process that begins the moment you make contact with potential customers, says Mary Delaney, vice president of sales for Here are her steps to make closing a natural part of the conversation, instead of a sweaty palm-inducing moment of pressure.

1. Earn the right. In the first 2 minutes you must demonstrate your knowledge of the client, the market and the industry. Establishing trust and rapport early in the conversation sets the tone for the entire interaction.

2. Gather data. Stop close-ended questions, leading questions and manipulative questions before they make it past your lips, says Delaney. Ask appropriate, insightful questions – don’t do a data dump. Your goal is to create a need for your product in customers’ eyes, and the only way you can do that is to understand what they’re facing. Delaney suggests asking questions such as: What top three activities consume your time daily? What is the ideal way to spend your day? What would you like to do better?

3. Present solutions. Before your prospects can move to a buying mode they need to understand how your solution fulfills their most pressing business needs. “Realize that the only reason people will buy your solution today is to solve their biggest challenge. If you can’t help them with their biggest challenge, they won’t have time for you,” Delaney says. Take the information you gathered in step 2 and connect the dots for your customers.

4. Count costs. Costs don’t just refer to the price of your product; costs also refer to the expenses prospects will face if they don’t buy your product or choose an alternative. “Help them see there’s a gap between where they want to go and where they’re going to go if they don’t change anything,” says Delaney.
Delaney says these four steps will lead you and your prospects on the painless road to closing. If you address each step thoroughly, she says, “The closing just happens.”
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