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The four stages of a sale are approach, probe, present and close. Let’s focus on the last one: Closing is the culmination of extraordinary probing and your ability to present solutions that solve your prospect’s problems. Xerox research has shown that when three needs are uncovered that are important to the prospect, a sale occurs 86 percent of the time. After your queries, you must present solutions in the way your prospect or client wants to hear them.

There is no special way to close. In fact, if you haven’t first solved problems, closing hard will only cause the prospect to feel buyer’s remorse later. The best close is the culmination of implementing your proposed solutions. But a sale without a close is just an educational experience. Nothing happens unless your prospect or client takes action.

The trial close

If you overtly close by asking them to buy now, you run the risk of killing the sale. But if you trial close, you can test the waters before you pull out the paperwork. Ways to trial close are:

  • “Am I on the right track?”
  • “Does this make sense?”
  • “Do you agree with this approach?”
  • “Do you think this can work for you?”
  • “How does this sound so far?”

There are three great ways to close. One close is good for the less affluent and another for the high-net-worth variety. Your success in closing may be dependent on employing the right close for the right demographic. Here are two: 

1. The implied consent/assumptive close

$50,000 to $80,000 income; up to $100,000 net worth

In this process, you identify your prospect’s problems through probing questions and then present solutions they agree will work. The reason this close works so well is that after the trial close, you produce the paperwork and then ask the prospect to sign. What you should not do is ask if they would like to buy, or would they like to move forward. It is simply part of the discussion process. The de-facto rule is this: If they don’t stop you, they made a purchase.

2. The “I recommend” close

$80,000 to $150,000 income; $100,000 to $250,000 net worth

Like the assumptive close, this is also a logical conclusion approach. It makes use of the great probing job you did. As you probe, you list all of the needs the prospect mentions. You then ask how committed they are to solving those needs. At that point, you list the problems and concerns they have and say, “Based on these (needs), I recommend that we (state solution).” This is a very effective close for those who believe in your expertise to solve their problems.

For more from Kerry Johnson, see:

Advanced persuasion techniques for top producers, part 1

Create a great elevator speech

Selling the kinesthetic way