Closing Time – Making a Specific Proposal is Key to Closing a Sale

From time to time, I see it as my duty to dismantle some of the old myths of selling. How about this one: ‘ABC — Always Be Closing’. What on earth does that mean? Don’t buy it. This is an Abstract Bleedin’ Cliché, and At Best Codswallop.

If you check online you will find 50 types of closing techniques, all of which reek of pressure sales. This is not banking or insurance; we are not selling door-to-door. The ‘alternative close’, the ‘hurry-up close’ and the ‘puppy dog close’ will not cut it. These American Tony Robbins style techniques make me hurl. But, more importantly, they will grate on your average buyer and potentially backfire. In grocery, we want something a little more palatable and collaborative.

The real issue in gaining agreement is that too many times sales people fail to make a proposal. The first step of selling, we all know, is to clarify the customer’s needs. Once you have demonstrated to the buyer that you have understood their needs and explained the features of your idea in that context (ie the benefits) then they want to know what you are proposing they should do, and how much money they would generate if they did. Therefore, the “if you do this, you will generate that” is essential.

A proposal should be specific, two-sided, and end with a pause for response. It acts as a question, allowing a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and therefore could potentially close the sale right there. For sure, the reality with our lovely customers is that questions on assumptions and probably negotiation or objections follow. But without this specific proposal the close isn’t even possible. Sadly, buyers are made to listen to long- winded, one-sided recommendations from the supplier, and then have to assimilate and make a proposal of their own. Give them a chance; give them something to which they could say yes!

After a clear, specific proposal has been discussed and interest confirmed, closing is then about agreement of actions to make it happen. Simply restate the needs met before suggesting next steps.

ABC? Yuk! Always Be Proposing I could live with, but ABP doesn’t quite have that same ring to it, does it?

Sentinel Management Consultants deliver sales, negotiation, planning and finance training courses for our clients worldwide.