Here’s a question that was recently asked on an online business forum I frequent, and it really resonated with me:
Q: (From a business owner) Okay, here’s a quick question: After discussing details of a project with a client who is a prospect, how do we smoothly go to closing the deal without making our client feel rushed?
My answer: Just assume the sale
I’ve talked to so many professionals that feel uncomfortable at this pivotal step in their work with prospects. Contractors that can take on any building challenge, attorneys who are fearless tigers in court, inventors whose innovations could change the world – and they are scared to death of asking people to become their clients!
Most of us have been exposed to so many “clever” sales closing techniques that we cringe at the thought of actually trying any of them on an actual person. And with good reason. Most feel sleazy and actually go against human nature.
Really, there is no trick, no fancy turn of phrase, no uncomfortable moment needed at all. You just need to move forward as if it is natural and inevitable for the prospect to become your customer.
No need to wait. No need to feel uncomfortable (if you do, it’s a signal – more on that below).
- Provide an awesome product or service (if you don’t then reinvent or close up shop) …
- Have thoroughly qualified the prospects and interviewed them to make sure that what you have is what they want and need …
- Have made sure they understand the product or service and how it benefits them …
- Feel that you are a good fit for them and they are good clients for you …
… Then, why wouldn’t your prospective client want to begin now? Unless there is a special circumstance, why wait? To delay is doing them a disservice. You cannot do great things for people if they don’t buy from you first!
The facts are clear
The prospective clients know why they are with you. They know what you do. They accepted the appointment and have given the time and attention to listen to you. They want to purchase services like yours. They are hoping that you will deliver everything you’ve just described. And, if you’re reading this column, I am sure you do great work so you know they will love what you can do for them.
Note: If you feel uncomfortable asking them to buy you have to stop the process. Something is wrong. You either have doubts yourself about the product and its suitability for the client or you are hurting everyone by being too shy about moving forward.
If there is a doubt about the product tell the client you’ll get back to them and why (trust me, they’d rather you honestly pause a few times rather than moving forward when things are not settled). It’s OK to politely decline and withdraw yourself from consideration.
If it’s you that’s slowing things down then it’s time to just stop worrying and go to the next step: Assume you’ve made the sale.
Assuming the sale means telling (not asking).
Simply state: “OK, here’s what we need to get started …” Nothing pushy, just moving forward. They’ll let you know you if there are issues to address.
So, from now on, just assume a successful outcome every time you present. You’ll be amazed at how often things move smoothly from then on.
What About You?
Have you tried this technique? How has it worked out? Any tips or advice I missed? I look forward to hearing your comments below!
Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net