Over thousands of years of evolution, our gaze has shifted from fire, fig-leaf, wheel, and industrial chimneys to those with the gift of understanding people’s needs and developing great communication skills.

I am talking about the sales professionals who – day in and day out – look to claim their existence from customers, a species which is equally observant about not lowering its guards. And the sweet battle performs itself across the globe … daily.

Sales people face natural resistance from customers

In times when sales professionals come across a natural resistance from the customer, is truly when great sales people step up to the challenge and shine while remaining candor, competent and focused on the buyers needs.  If you speak to a couple of dozen astute sales professionals, chances are that you will get a number of different closing approaches from them.

There are many closing approaches

Out of a wide range of closing tips you may have received, there are a few fundamentals that are worth reviewing. So let us take a look at 5 very effective tips of closing a sale.

5 time-tested tips for closing sales deals

Tip 1# Summarize the benefits

Continue to highlight the buyers benefits that meets the buyers needs throughout the sale and in particular ensure you close with the benefits.  Sales professionals often make the error of assuming that the person on the other side is just as well-versed in the subject and therefore the seller focuses more on the features or forgets to summarize the benefits / return on the investment at the end.

Before Apple introduced the iPod there were a number of MP3 players in the market who led with the selling message of having a Gig (GB) of memory in the buyers pocket as opposed to Apple who sold the concept of buyers having a 1,000 songs in your pocket. You tell me which company was more successful?

It is not just summarizing the benefits of a product or a service, but the benefits of purchasing from YOU and your company. As the buyer may still intend to purchase but it may not necessarily be with you. Reinforce the benefits of how you have delivered for similar type of customers (Industry specific where possible) and the results/ outcomes. This makes the buyer feel confident that your going to deliver and support them not just in closing the sale. People buy from people they trust, get a long with and feel supported after the sale transaction has taken place.

Going back to the Apple iPod example, my son recently had an issue with his iPod that I couldn’t solve by simple repair. I took it back to Apple and they replaced it for me swiftly with such great service. It was such a positive experience for both my son and I that we continue to be great advocates of the Apple brand. Apple lives up to their buyers promises, does your company? If yes, make sure you lead with this message in your close!

Tip 2# Tell a compelling story

Use a narrative, a story that captivates your audience, which buyers can relate to and they will be more likely to seek meaning out of your product or service.

Keep the story running as you reach out to the point of closing, focusing on the buyers outcomes. As mentioned earlier leverage your existing customer stories of their challenges and how you solved them and more importantly the business outcomes.

Tip 3# Leverage Data Points

With more complex sales opportunities, make sure you understand the decision making process (map it out) and the key stakeholders involved including their individual needs. I learnt from a brilliant CEO that I worked for that Data Points are KING. Meaning if you have vital information about the deal from at least 3 key stakeholders, decision makers or influences and the information they provide is consistent you can then correlate and work effective with this information.

Time and time again, I see sellers fail to close because the buyer they were primarily dealing with and sourcing information from was not the key or only decision maker.  Suggestion, where possible ensure you have at least 3 key stakeholders you are dealing with to ensure the information you receive and make forecasting decision on… stacks up!

On a side note, it is always best to have more than 1 key contact within a sale…why? If the person leaves the business or changes roles you will still have the support within the business. This is another common error I see, the seller has worked hard to win the sale and then the key relationship within an account leaves and this can leave the seller exposed. It may take more work upfront, but you a building a strong relationship platform for not only now but for the future that will save you time and money in the long run!

Tip 4# Show genuine concern

Focus on buyers and their needs, not on products or services. Understand buyers problems and why they matter. If you look to close sales this way, you will have a higher strike rate on closing deals.  Ask the buyer, where they see value in solving their challenges.

It is important for the seller and buyer to understand what are the consequences of not making a decision or not going with you and your company.

Tip 5 (A bonus tip)# …the Zig Ziglar’s way

Leverage Zig Ziglar’s magical line, “Why settle for the ‘get by’ when in the long run the good costs less?”

Closing a sale is not a moment in time, it is a process. The buyers value must out way the cost, time and effort involved. If you have dug your well properly, great chances that there will be sweet water and more waiting for you. Not only will you benefit but your buyers too!

What method do you use to close a sales deal?