>I often wonder how many articles, books and millions and dollars have been made trying to help sales people “close the deal.” As if there were some magic phrase, some vital word, or some secret way to ensure the prospect signs on the bottom line. Let me ensure you there is not – engage the prospect, listen and add value – that is how you close a sales call.

The truth is, while the close and actually asking for the business are key to closing the deal, if you do not structure the sales call correctly, put effort into all the other steps, then closing the call will be an extremely difficult thing to do. Why make calling harder than it has to be?

Turning your prospects into customers and your customers into champions, is about creating a long term relationship. To create a long term sales relationship, you need to be interested in selling your product or service to someone who can actually benefit from and wants to buy it. That means doing your research, defining your purpose, asking great questions and transitioning with a meaningful support statement.

However, once you do all that and you do it well, you do still have to ask for the business. You still have to close the sale. You have to make it easy for your prospect to take the next step with you and create desire for them to do business with you. So how do you close the sale?

First, you have to understand that turning a prospect into a customer is actually a series of small closes and not just one big close. Especially, in this day and age when trust, value and connection are key to building long term relationships, prospects need time to get to know you and you need time to prove you deserve and truly want the business. The close needs to be based on and directly tied to your purpose. What did you want to accomplish? How does that translate to a close. For example, if your purpose was to schedule a second meeting and present a proposal for how you can save them money on their banking services. Then that is your close for this call. To schedule a second meeting to present your proposal. If your purpose was to get your prospect to discuss and commit to the proposal. Then your close is to gain their commitment and set an engagement start date. Whatever your purpose is it should tie directly to your close.

Second, your close needs to be the action that moves the sales call forward and let’s you determine quickly if the prospect is interested in discussing this further or doing business with you. So many sales people either ask for too much at the first close or they avoid the close all together not wanting to be rejected. If you ask for too much and do not connect the close to your purpose or what you learned from your prospect then you risk the prospect feeling you are only interested in what you stand to gain. If you avoid the close all together, then you risk not only not closing the sale but looking pretty foolish in front of the prospect. They expect you to ask for business. I mean what have you been doing all this time, just wasting your time and their time? Prospects want to do business with people who are confident and asking for business positions you as someone who will work hard for them.

Third, if your prospect says no embrace it! All you were told was that you did not create enough value or benefit for them to want to do business with you right now. Great, learn from this and change and develop your value add approach for future sales calls. If you work at developing value you will have your shot with this prospect again. We never know what is going on with our prospects or clients really. All the events that are happening in their lives. Often people say no because the timing is wrong, and we did not create enough of a sense of urgency, enough value for them to want to make a move right now. Learn from rejection and use to to improve your future calling efforts.

Yes, the close is key to turning prospects into clients, but if you work the process, if you invest in learning and adding value, your prospects will close the sale for you all you have to do is ask!