By Jeff Beals
Remember that closing a sale involves a series of small commitments before you get the big commitment to buy.
These little commitments are sometimes referred to as “miniature closes.”
By simply agreeing to meet you, a prospect makes a mini commitment, and that’s a mini close for you. Similarly, you complete mini closes when prospects agree to review your proposal, introduce you to a second decision maker at their company or admit that they need to change their current situation.
Similar to mini closes are “test closes,” techniques you use to gauge how interested prospects are and how seriously they are considering doing business with you. If someone answers a test close in a way that’s desirable to you, they are essentially making a commitment to you. So not only do test closes indicate whether you’re on the right track or making progress, they also help move the prospect closer to the final buying decision.
How do you do a test close? Often, they begin with simple words such as:
- “If you…”
- “What would happen if…”
- “Before we move on…”
- “If I understand you correctly…”
- “In your opinion…”
Here are some examples of how each of the above language options can be used in actual selling situations:
“If you implemented this system, would it be easier to hold your team accountable?”
“What would happen if you didn’t make this change?”
“Before we move on, if we were to work together, what parts of the program most appeal to you?”
“If I understand you correctly, the most beneficial result of using this product would be speeding up your product launches, right?”
“In your opinion, would it be worth an extra investment to get 50 percent more performance?”
Instead of crouching ready to pounce on a close, focus on the next step in the process (the next small commitment.) Each time you get one of these commitments, you’re a little closer to the end prize. A test close can make the process flow easily.
Just keep working the prospect through all the steps in the selling process in the proper order, with adequate time at each step.