Closing depends on the method of presentation. If the presentation is successful, the sale comes to close, more or less automatically. In such cases, no sustained efforts are required on the part of the salesman to close a sale.
However, in many instances, the sale may not come to a natural close. In such cases, the salesman is required to stimulate the decision process of the buyer. Besides, the salesman has to pursue and persuade the prospect to close the sale.
There are certain methods for stimulating the decision of the buyer with a view to close the sale. It should be pointed out that there is no single method or technique of closing which can be used successfully under all circumstances.
The adoption of a particular policy depends to a great extent, upon the nature of the product to be sold, the characteristics of prospects, and the circumstances of the sale. Following are some of the important methods used by the salesman for closing the sale:
1. Getting a Series of Positive Answers:
Moving towards closing a sale, the salesman should ask the prospect a series of questions in the process of the sales talk. The questions are asked in such a way that the prospect also provides a series of ‘yes’ answers. This method aims at getting a series of positive answers to all questions and ultimately making the sale. This method is also known as ‘continued affirmation technique’.
Under this method, the salesman puts his whole hearted efforts and tries to reverse the prospect’s resistance or ‘loss’ into a favourable attitude or ‘Yes’ towards a purchase. Questions asked under this method are generally related to the utility, durability, service of the product, etc. and also about customer’s choice, financial position, etc. Once the prospect affirms that the utility, durability, service of the product suits his need, choice and financial capability, subsequently he can hardly deny purchasing the product.
Hence, an intelligent salesman can take the advantage of such a situation and can close the sale successfully. However, this method can be applied only to frank and responsive prospects who have eagerly participated in the sales talk. While making queries, the salesman should always use positive questions and avoid negative questions.
2. Narrowing the Choice:
This method of close is particularly suitable to tackle undecided prospects. Many prospects find it really difficult to choose a specific product when they are offered a wide range of products. This happens particularly in case of ladies selecting sarees and dress materials, gents selecting suit clothes.
Usually, it is difficult to select the right product out of a wide variety of products available. To make the consumer’s selection easy, an intelligent salesman cleverly narrows down the choice of such products by removing the least wanted and the unwanted varieties.
This helps the prospect to focus their attention on a few selected varieties and thereby can make their choice quickly and easily. Consequently, the salesman is also able to close the sale easily. This method is sometimes called ‘option elimination technique’.
3. Summing Up of the Selling Points:
At the closing stages of the sale, when the salesman feels that the buyer is still undecided, he can explain the main features and benefits of the product again. This is done to remind the prospect of the benefit which they will be acquiring by the purchase of the product. At times, such reminders change the attitude of the undecided prospects and they may finally decide to buy.
4. Offering Inducements to Buy Now:
The salesman, in order to close the sale, can offer certain inducements to the prospect. Now days, it is a very common method of closing a sale. Such special inducements may be in the form of discount, price reduction, free home delivery, after sales service, guarantee, pre-budget prices, etc. By offering such concessions, the salesman can also try to close a sale.
Sometimes, the prospects are told about the possibility of price rise in near future. The prospects, in such cases, are induced to buy the product immediately in order to avail such additional benefits as against losing the same in future.
5. Asking Direct and Indirect Questions:
The salesman may try to close a sale by asking the prospect directly if he has finally decided to purchase. When the salesman comes to know that the prospect has almost reached a decision to buy the product but is not disclosing his decision, he can ask questions about his final selection.
Indirect questions may be, ‘How many will you need?’ or ‘When do you need it?’ These types of questions can be asked only when the prospect has not expressed his decision. The salesman should be very cautious while putting such questions. Care should also be taken to leave sufficient time gap in between the presentation and putting such questions.
6. Assuming the Choice:
Under this method, the salesman assumes that the prospect has already decided and is going to buy. Accordingly, he tries to assess the eagerness of the prospect. Typically, he can ask questions like, ‘Which colour do you prefer—the light blue or the dark blue?’ or ‘Where do you want this to be delivered?’ In this way, the salesman tries to close the sale by assuming that the prospect has already decided to buy.
7. Complimenting the Choice:
This method of closing a sale is most suitable for silent, unresponsive and thoughtful prospects. When the salesman finds the prospect is having his eyes fixed on a particular article or touching one article several times, he may start complimenting about his (prospect’s) choice. Typical complimenting sentences are like ‘How right your choice is’, or ‘Things are meant for best people’ and so on. Thus, a salesman can impress the customer as well as close the sale by complimenting the prospect about his choice.
8. Suggestive Close:
Sometimes a salesman uses suggestions to close a sale. For example, he may say, ‘If you send your employee who will operate it, I shall explain a few things right now’, or ‘This painting will suit the decor of your drawing room.’ Such kind of suggestions may bring the prospect to the brink of purchase and hence the salesman may indirectly close a sale.
9. Closing on Minor Points:
Under this method, the salesman tries to get the decision of the buyer over minor points. Some typical minor points to be decided by the prospects are colour, size, brand, delivery date, payment schedule, discount, etc. Any one of these points can be used by the salesman to close the sale. For example, the salesman may ask, ‘Do you want a 100 gram pack or a 200 gram pack?’ or ‘Do you prefer the light blue or the dark blue?’
Sometimes the salesman has to appeal to the prospect to buy in order to close the sale. For example, he can say, ‘this is my appeal to you sir, please enquire anywhere, our terms and conditions are definitely better than others.’ At times, such type of appeal works like a miracle. When the prospect is undecided about a purchase, this method can be used as the last ditch effort to close a sale by appealing to his sentiment.
Thus, there are various methods of closing a sale. The decision to choose a particular method or a set of methods to close a sale successfully depends entirely on the salesman. The salesman, in order to decide about a particular method of closing has to depend upon the circumstances at the time of closing, type of articles to be sold and the taste and temperament of the prospects.