What are the Magic Closing Words?
“I was wondering if you’d be willing to share your #1 way to ask for the sale at the end of a pitch/presentation, and why you think this way works.”
I just got this request from a freelance writer, but it is not the first time I have been asked for the silver bullet on closing the deal. I can’t tell you how many times, I have turned down requests to do training because a sales leader asked me to teach their team some closing techniques.
First, I need to say, in my world, there are no such things as closing techniques, and it is very hard to close a deal after a “pitch or presentation” in a business-to-business sale. That’s not how it works. Even in a business-to-consumer sale or retail sale it doesn’t work that way. People rarely buy after some type of pitch or presentation, unless they are made to feel stupid, guilty or coerced by a limited time offer or special savings. Most people need to learn, discuss, and evaluate before choosing.
In the words of Bob Miller, co-founder of Miller Heiman, “Mr. or Ms. Customer, I have a solution to a problem that neither you nor I completely understand. Would you like to buy it?” Stupid, right?
No Magic to Closing
There is no magic to closing. There are no magic phrases or ways to ask. Closing the deal is completely dependent on the situation. Closing questions or comments are completely dependent on the situation.
There are no such thing as closing techniques – if you are using closing techniques you are using coercion, trickery or manipulation. Closing the deal starts from the minute I meet you. The way I develop the relationship, the questions I ask, the way I collaborate with you, and the ideas I bring to the table are the reason you buy, NOT the words I use to ask if you will buy. If you have done your job properly, you don’t need a magic close, because you have come to a mutual conclusion that the purchase will be the right choice.
[For more on closing questions read, 10 Tough Questions to Close the Deal]
Yes, You Have to Ask
Having said that, I always teach salespeople to ask for the business when the time is right, don’t leave it open.
I have a great story to illustrate this on a business to consumer sale. A sales VP called me in, because the close ration on inbound sales with a captive audience, was very low. He couldn’t understand how this could be. They were selling a specific type of insurance. The calls came in from either a customer who couldn’t leave the dealer without the insurance or someone who already had this type of insurance and needed a quote. After listening to calls for 30 minutes, I understood the problem completely. I was able to increase their close ration 40% almost immediately by changing one simple thing. The sales reps were doing a great job of asking questions, explaining the product, sharing the value and getting the prospect interested. What they weren’t doing was asking for the sale. They would say something like “OK let us know” Click! They were practically hanging up on people who were asking to buy and in one case, I heard the caller asking to buy as the rep was hanging up the phone. The reps thought that people who were interested would call back if they decided to buy. Instead, the customers just called the next insurance provider on their list. I taught them to say, “Which of the insurance products I described sounds like the best fit for you? (Listen) Good, let’s get that policy started for you right now.” Voila, 40% increase in the close ratio. Once I got them all to do it consistently the close ration increased from there.
So when you and I have come to the conclusion that moving forward with the purchase is the best solution then the logical thing to do is ask, “What’s the best way to get started?” Or “What are our next steps?” Or say “Let’s get this started today.” But even all of that is situational.
It also depends on whether you are talking about a retail sale, a business-to-consumer sale or a business-to-business sale. All of these would come to a conclusion in a different way depending on how many decision makers were involved.
Closing is Complex and Simple
Closing is complex and simple at the same time. It should be easy if you have done your job. At the appropriate time, if your solution is a good fit, you have proven it will work, and all things are agreeable, then people buy.
In my opinion, any sales expert who would answer this question by offering you a sentence or question that would work in all situations is not a sales expert. I told the writer that and asked if she still wanted to include me in her article.
If you have done a bad job of selling, you didn’t do your homework, you failed to identify and engage with ALL the decision makers, there is not fit between your solution and their need, you failed to differentiate yourself, you didn’t understand their goals, your price is way out of line or you didn’t show the value of your price or they just didn’t like you, then you lose the deal.
If you are having trouble closing deals there could be any number of reasons. An analysis of the deals you have recently lost will uncover the reasons, and then you can address those things. I’d love to help you analyze the last deal you lost. Schedule a 30-minute coaching session with me, I bet we can increase your close ratio.
P.S. Sorry about the title, by now you know, there is no magic. You are the magic. Do a great job selling and more deals will close.