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Tips for Closing a Sale: Always Focus on the Customer


How adept is your sales team at closing a sale? Some sales reps excel at generating leads, while others are superstars at providing quality customer service. But above all else, your salespeople must be able to close the deal.

Sometimes it seems price is the roadblock to a successful sale. But, says business writer Jake Newfield, this can be "ruled obsolete by the clout of the salesperson to directly influence the deal using his own interpersonal prowess." Put simply, Newfield adds: "Price is only an issue in the absence of value, and value is only an issue in the absence of salesmanship."

In case your sales team could use a mini-refresher course on strategies and tactics, here are tips on closing a sale (both proven techniques and a few new ideas) to share with the team:

Be Upbeat at All Times

A positive, upbeat attitude can often make the difference in a transactional situation. People want to buy from other people who are enthusiastic about their product or service, not from someone who appears beaten-down, depressed, or otherwise unpleasant to be around. Your optimism and positive outlook are contagious (in a good way!).

Learn When to Stop Talking

Generally speaking, the best approach with prospects is to listen rather than talk, and to ask questions, rather than drone on about your product's many bells and whistles. The right questions lead to fruitful conversations, which in turn lead to a better understanding of the customer's needs and challenges. Maintaining your focus on the customer is key.

Build Empathy

Prospects want to feel like the person selling to them "gets" their business and genuinely has their best interests at heart. Empathy is the basis for a meaningful customer relationship, coming naturally out of being able to listen to what the customer says (and what goes unsaid) and offering the most efficient and cost-effective solutions available.

Serve as a Valued Resource

Prospects appreciate any assistance that makes their lives easier. As author and speaker Geoffrey James notes, "The holy grail of customer loyalty is to become a 'trusted advisor' who's seen as a valuable resource beyond the specific area where you're selling." Whenever possible, share the expertise you have (even if this doesn't directly lead to closing a sale), because over time you'll establish a bond that makes selling and closing easier.

Be Closing From the Outset

As a rule, the hard-sell strategy rarely pays off. An honest, forthright approach can be far more effective. Let the prospect know that your intention is to sell a product that will genuinely benefit his or her business, and that you plan to conduct the sales process in an atmosphere of honesty and mutual respect. By eliminating any sense that you are engaged in some sort of cat-and-mouse game, you pave the way for a close that feels like an organic conclusion to the process.

Know the Buying Signs

An assertive salesperson can sometimes miss clear buying signals from the prospect that indicate the deal is nearly done. Questions such as, "Can you tell me how long delivery will take?" or "Are additional upgrades available?" suggest the prospect has made up his mind and is ready to move forward.

Sometimes salespeople sabotage their own best efforts by continuing to "sell" after they no longer need to do so. Upon gaining a verbal commitment, refrain from tactics such as attempting to cross-sell or upsell another product or feature. As Jake Newfield says, "Your urgency to close deals should never overpower the necessity of maintaining a healthy relationship with the client."


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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