Allow me to introduce myself as this is my first column on the very general concept of “business”.
You see, most things in this world are relative. So, while views may differ on love, peace and whether or not the Hyatt should be erected, there are certain fundamental truths when it comes to business and the way in which it is conducted.
When applied, these form the foundation of a successful salesman, CEO or market vendor. So, first up: how do they do it? Those slick salespeople, some in suits selling cars who then change into shorts on the weekend, sipping martinis and enjoying the fruits of their labour. How do they close sales?
Let’s get one thing clear: we’re all in sales, whether we adopt the title that goes with it or not. In essence, sales is persuasion. Each day, in some form or fashion, you sell. But today’s topic deals with the hard sell, but in a soft way.
Okay . . . so you’ve spent lots of dollah-dollah bills in wooing your client. From the presentation to the vintage bottle of wine that was hand-delivered, you’ve doled out the dough. Pretty impressive! But – the main question is . . . have you CLOSED?
If you don’t close in sales, you mean nothing to your boss or your business. That’s the entire point of a successful sales person. So how do you get it done? Here are three top tips when it comes to closing like you’re a sales-ologist. (That’s a new word for today, by the way!)
1. Ensure you have exactly met the expectations of your client. The client understands that he’ll get a whopper, so don’t give him nuggets, get it? Don’t create a contract with a tax-exclusive figure, only to have the contract sent back, with the client stating that the figure agreed upon was intended to include tax! That’s just an example, but you get the drift.
2. Give your client a deadline and a reason. Here’s where fear sometimes makes us shy or stupid. We’re scared or “feel funny” to demand an answer at a certain date or time. Remember though, the deadline for signature is not an ultimatum. So, make it fun! If you want the signature back in two days, give the client a benefit. For example, “this offer lasts until Monday, so please sign as soon as you get the chance to do so.”
3. WALK WITH THE CONTRACT or booking order or sales sheet . . . whatever piece of paper it is that needs the client’s signature, walk with it when going to meet the client. After you ask the golden question, “Are you ready to come on board?” Pull out the sheet and your pen (a nice-looking one, please . . . no chewed up excuses for pens!) and offer it graciously to your client.
At the end of the day, you want to meet expectations, determine the way forward and get your client’s consent. Of course, the biggest time spent in closing is way before you even interface with the client; the preparation part. I didn’t want to state the obvious, but you do know that you need to prepare well for, well . . . everything, right? So, focus on your client. He or she is the most important person to you in the world at this moment, right here, right now.
(Veoma Ali is a broadcaster, writer and advertising executive)