Many of our SCORE clients have told us that they have trouble closing the sale.  They indicate that they have prepared their “pitch” yet find it difficult to get the order. They want to know what they are doing wrong or better yet, what can they do to get the sale.

Several SCORE volunteers meet regularly for coffee and these comments summarize that discussion and offer some advice.

Trust is the basis of any meaningful and lasting relationship. It doesn’t matter how good your presentation may be; if the person you are trying to convince doesn’t trust you, then you won’t sell them anything. However, if you do have their trust, you can realistically expect a positive response more often than not.

There are four basic steps that should be followed to build rapport to ensure a favorable outcome:

Step 1: Mirror their Body Language

You must be a chameleon and adapt to your environment. Take note of your prospect’s posture, gestures, facial expressions, speech patterns and accent. If he or she talks fast, then so should you. People feel comfortable when they are around someone who looks, acts and sounds like them. You don’t want to appear to be mocking them, so be careful not to overdo it. This is a practiced art and the more you do it, the more natural it will become for you.

Step 2: Ask a Question

Begin the process by asking a question that requires more than a yes or no answer. The goal is to get the prospect talking. You must engage in a conversation before you get down to business.

You want them to come to know you as a person. If they don’t trust you, there is no way they will buy from you. Once you hear some trigger words, use them as leverage to continue a conversation purely about their interest. An example would be if you hear that they like sports, get into a conversation about sports.

Step 3: Introduce Whatever You are Selling

At the appropriate time, discreetly bring up whatever it is you’re selling, intertwined with your conversation.

Learn how to make proper transitions and be careful with the way you reference it as you don’t want to set off their salesman alarm.

Your goal is to get them excited and to ask you questions about your product or service. If you have done your homework and understand the client’s needs, it shouldn’t be difficult to steer the conversation to how you may have the answers and solutions.  Build on solutions and satisfying needs.

Step 4: The Close

If you have followed steps 1 through 3 precisely, then by the time you are at step 4, you and the prospect should be having a productive conversation.

One of the most common mistakes someone in sales can make is a failure to ask for the sale. In most cases, it stems from a fear of rejection. You must learn to overcome this fear or begin to look for another line of work. Every customer experience has value.

If you fail to close the sale, ask yourself several questions. Did I talk too much and listen too little? What didn’t I say that could have made a difference? Someone good in sales thrives on successes and learns from their mistakes.

There are many other techniques involved in persuading someone, but as you can see, the core is about building rapport. Once you gain their trust, you are well on your way to a successful relationship.

SCORE is a nonprofit organization that has a chapter located in the Treasure Valley. Volunteer business counselors provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners and for individuals seeking to start or purchase a business. To schedule a free session with a business mentor, click here. To sign up for an upcoming workshop in marketing, business fundamentals, and more, click here.

Closing the Sale