15 Strategies for Closing the Sale

Must of the readers here know I’m a big supporter of the Questioning Model of selling. And, due to this preference I don’t place a lot of emphasis on closing the sale – a favorite of the traditional sales person using the Presentation Model of Selling.

Yet, I have found several readers who are positioned with companies that are pressing the sales people to use the older models of b2b selling. So, in the interest of fair play today I will share the top fifteen closing techniques.

So here on Friday the Thirteenth are the 15 Closing strategies to use…

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Use the Columbo Technique to get b2b Sales Results

Peter Falk as ColumboOkay, today I’m showing my age since most of you will not have a clue about this guy “Columbo” anymore than you would about “Perry Mason.” Yet, the technique works like a charm and will get results – either new information or a close – with the worst case of keeping the sales process moving forward.

So, who is this Columbo character?

A couple of decades ago there was a weekly detective drama starring Peter Falk as Columbo. This guy was a character. Smoked cigars, drove a Metropolitan automobile (now I’ve really aged myself!), had a huge and lazy Beagle for a pet and yet, he solved crime after crime as a great detective would. He wasn’t flashy, he was just very good at solving crimes. (Much like the Sales Superstars just get more b2b sales results.)

The Columbo Technique came from his method of appearing to leave the number one prospect (crime rather than customer.) when the bad guy was not responding to questions or was becoming difficult. So Columbo would pack up and actually leave the room on several occasions, just to return to the bad guy – mention he had only one more question and it was probably meaningless, yet, duty called for asking the question.

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Eight Buying Signals for B2B Sales

Several sales people have asked me about what are buying signals they need to recognize. While for some b2b sales people this is more of an instinctive activity, it never hurts to review the eight basic buying signals.

Before I list the eight buying signals, I want to say I have been with many sales people who completely missed the buying signals. When asked about this lack of action I got several excuses, such as…

  • I wasn’t sure if they meant it.
  • I don’t want to take action too early
  • I felt it was too risky at the moment to ask for the business
  • I didn’t want to cause a problem with our great relationship!
  • I really didn’t notice, were they sending out buying signals?

Okay, you catch my point. I actually feel the last excuse is the most common issue. The sales person is not paying attention to the buyer and completely misses the signal. I have seen this when a sales person is taking dictation rather than watching the actions and body language of the buyer. Your job is to pay attention to everything a buyer is doing especially when they are sending you buying signals.

So let’s list the eight most common buying signals you need to know and recognize…

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The Controversial Takeaway Close

While dealing with a stalling client last week, I remembered having a similar situation whereby no matter what I did, the prospect had an excuse or reason to ignore my solution. After allowing this to go on and wasting hours of my time and resources, I decided to use the takeaway close. And, it worked. I got the business contract and the client got what they needed.

Now, if you noticed in the title I used the word “controversial” ahead of the takeaway close. Why is it controversial? Because many sales people and sales managers would never, ever, take doing business off the table with a prospect. Think of this as the old skiing mantra – “No Guts, No Glory!”

Please before you go willy-nilly into the world of customers taking offers off the table, let me explain when and how to use it properly.

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Give Options in Proposals

Looking over some old proposals over the weekend and then checking to see which ones were accepted, I noticed a trend regarding the ones accepted the first time offered. The accepted proposals had options or alternatives in the offers which closed the sale based upon the Contrast Principle and Giving the Customer exactly what they valued.

Now the gurus of consulting and sales training have been talking about this for a long time, yet here is my version of why you use options in your proposals especially in B2B sales.

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