Today I’m going to give you 3 concrete ways to double your closing rate in one week – no matter who you are. This is for anyone who is watching, listening, or reading right now. The concept is very simple, but it is hard to put into practice. I find that to be true in […]
Today I’m going to give you 3 concrete ways to double your closing rate in one week – no matter who you are. This is for anyone who is watching, listening, or reading right now. The concept is very simple, but it is hard to put into practice. I find that to be true in most successful ventures. There’s not some big idea you don’t know which will bring success. Rather, there are simple things you probably don’t want to do because they are really hard. The three methods are a stair-step approach.
#1. If you are not closing, close. Really, really simple, right? But many people with whom I’ve talked go into a business with the concept, “I’m just going to keep talking until the prospect tells me ‘no.’” Are you asking for the business every single time? Often there are restraints such as…
the business owner needs to talk to the business partner or the spouse.
the owner doesn’t have a statement here.
Whatever the constraint is, in your mind you’ve decided that gives you a license not to try to close for the business. So, many sales people with whom I work literally don’t even close. They really don’t ask a closing question. Let me explain some options for how you would do that. Every single time you talk to a business owner, don’t leave until you’ve said something like, “Bob, it’s been such a pleasure speaking with you today. I really appreciate your time. I know there are a few concerns to be addressed. But based on what we’ve looked at so far, I really want to get started. Have I earned your business?”
Just close the sale. Ask for the business.
Often the prospect will say, “No.” That’s sales. People say “no” sometimes. But you’ll be surprised how many times a prospect will say, “Yes.” If you are not even closing, you’ve got to do some kind of a close. Do SOMETHING! Try the assumptive close. Get the paperwork out and say, “With your permission, Susan, I’m going to go ahead and get a little bit of this paperwork filled out here. What did you say the legal name of the business is?” Start writing the legal name of the business. Close. If you are not closing, close.
#2. For those of you who are closing once by asking a closing question, here is the next way to double your closing rate; are you ready? This is going to blow you away. Try to close twice. I know you think, “James, why am I reading this? Why am I listening to this? I could have figured this out on my own.” Are you doing it though? Do you ask for the business twice every single time you are in the business? Is this a follow-up? That doesn’t matter. Are you closing twice?
“James, how can I do that?” You have to lower the level of commitment. Use the normal closing question, “Bob, it’s been great talking with you today. I know we can help you and that I personally am going to value your business. I promise you no one is going to work harder than I am to do a great job and make you happy. With that in mind, I’d really like to move forward. Have I earned your business today?” Or you could say, “Let’s go ahead and give it a shot. What do you say, Bob?” Close with whatever your closing question is. Then as people often say when you try to close the deal, you’ll get a “no.” Or if the prospect doesn’t say “no,” the frequent response is, “Well, I’d love to move forward. This really does look great, but…” The prospect gives you what I call the “but objection.” It always starts with “but” and is always followed by something that makes absolutely no sense, such as, “I have to talk to my business partner.” Really? Although I wouldn’t say so to the prospect, I just don’t buy that. This is not that big of a decision. How should you deal with these “but objections”? You should lower the commitment level. How does that sound?
PROSPECT: James, you know I’d love to move forward, but I need to talk to my business partner.
ME: You know what? I certainly would never want you to make a decision you are not comfortable with. [Start with a buffer. That makes prospects feel warm and fuzzy.] Let me ask you this: obviously, you and your business partner want to have the best information possible in order to make the right decision, don’t you?
PROSPECT: Well, of course, we want to have the best information. Of course, we want to do that.
ME: Okay, great. Let me just float an idea, and you tell me what you think. I’d like to start you on a trial program. I’m not asking for you to make a long-term commitment at all today, but here is my thought. Since we don’t really know each other and have never worked together, rather than cancelling your current provider, why don’t you just unplug their terminal and put it under the counter? We’ll just do a little swap and put my terminal in its place. Let’s just put my terminal in for a month, just thirty days. Then what we’ll do at the end of the thirty days is meet together with your business partner and look at the statement. That way you don’t have to look at just my promises. You can actually see the service and the rates I’ve provided. If something goes wrong during the month, obviously, you just cancel with no hard feelings. I think that way you would have the best information possible. I’m sure you’ve done trials before as a way to make sure you are making the right decision. That makes sense to you, doesn’t it?
Do you see what I did? I came right back in with a second close. Now, all of a sudden, the prospect is in a position of wondering how to respond. The prospect may say, “Well, you know what, James? I don’t know. I still can’t make a decision.” However, if you take the commitment level down enough, many people at that point will say, “Okay, yeah, we’ll give it a shot.”
You are never going to guess what my third tip is to double your closing rate; you are just never going to guess. Do you know what it is…
#3. Close three times. In my entire career of different industries, I’ve only worked with about five people who actually did this, and I’m one of the five. To close three times takes an enormous amount of skill, creativity, discipline, and self-confidence. There are so many things that go into this. It sounds so simple. However, imagine this next week that literally every single business you walk into for a follow-up or a first visit, you absolutely refuse to leave until you’ve closed three times. Imagine that. Some of you can say, “Oh yeah, James, I close once.” A few of you can say, “Yeah, I close two times.” But I guarantee that hardly any of you listening, watching, or reading right now close three times. Do you know why? Because it is really hard. It’s embarrassing for one thing. At this point, the prospect has already said something pretty forceful such as, “You know, James, I appreciate the offer for the trial and everything. But I really want to talk to my partner about this. I just want to make sure I’m making the right decision.” So, now you are stuck in a very awkward position. To close a third time, you are really going to be going at it pretty hard. You are going to get some really solid “No’s.”
I can’t tell you HOW to close three times. There is too much variation. Your response depends on your first two closing questions and the prospect’s responses. There are a million things prospects could say. The third close just takes a lot of skill; you must have the mindset of, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to try.” You have to accept the fact that often you are going to over-step; you are going to step over the line. The prospect is going to get upset with you. There is just no way around it, and you are going to have to learn how to do this. If you DO, I promise you’ll double your closing rate again.
The reason why you want to do this is not just because it dramatically increases your closing rate, although it does.
The third close does something much more important than that. It also dramatically shortens the sales cycle time. Right now many of you have ten business owners in your pipeline who are interested. Of those ten, probably two or three of them are going to say “yes” at some point in the future. When is that point going to be? It depends on how often you close. It could take you a month, six months, or a day. It just depends. If you went to all ten of those today or tomorrow and attempted to close all of them three times, you would get seven “nos” and three “yeses.” Then your pipeline would be empty. So, do you know what you would do the next day? You would go prospecting because you don’t have any follow-ups.
The problem many of you face and the reason you’re not closing very many deals is you follow-up too many times before getting prospects to the point of saying “yes” or “no.”
Many of you don’t close at all. Many of you close once and some close twice, but hardly any of you close that third time. However, no matter how creative you are, that third time is when the people who are on the brink and are seriously thinking about the deal are pushed over the edge. They’ll say, “Okay, fine, let’s give it a shot, James. Sure, why not?” That’s also when the ones who are teetering but are going to say “no” eventually will say, “You know what, James? We are just not interested.” Then you reply, “Okay, so sorry. I apologize; I don’t mean to over-step or anything. If you ever need my services, here is my card. I hope you have a great day.” You might think, “Oh James, that’s terrible. I just lost a sale.” No, you didn’t. What you did is gained an hour of your life back. You don’t need to follow-up with that person until you finally get a “no.”
If you want to double your closing rate, close. If you want to double it again, close twice. If you want to double it again, close three times. That’s how you can double your closing rate in one week.