Most people involved in selling acknowledge that this part of the selling process is the most difficult. Closing the sale is the point when the seller asks the prospect to agree to make the purchase. It is also the point at which many customers are unwilling to make a commitment and, consequently, respond to the seller’s request by saying no. For anyone involved in sales, such rejection can be very difficult to overcome, especially if it occurs on a consistent basis.
Yet the most successful salespeople will say that closing the sale is actually fairly easy if the salesperson has worked hard in developing a relationship with the customer. Unfortunately some buyers, no matter how satisfied they are with the seller and the seller’s product, may be insecure or lack confidence in making buying decisions. For these buyers, salespeople must rely on persuasive communication skills that help assist and even persuade a buyer to place an order.
The use of persuasive communication techniques is by far the most controversial and most misunderstood concept related to the selling process. Why? Because to many people the act of persuasion is viewed as an attempt to manipulate someone into doing something they really do not want to do. However, for sales professionals this is not what persuasive communication is about. Instead, persuasion is a skill for assisting someone in making a decision; it is not a technique for making someone make a decision. The difference is important. Where one is manipulative, the other is helpful and designed to benefit the buyer. And as we noted, persuasion does not always occur. Many times buyers take the lead in closing a sale since they are convinced the product is right for them.
For salespeople, understanding when it is time to close a sale and what techniques should be used takes experience. In any event, the close is not the end of the selling process but is the beginning of building what may be a long-term business relationship.