The key to becoming a great salesperson isn’t about how many people you contact, it’s about asking the right questions after you’ve made contact; specifically, the right closing questions. While you need to know the nitty gritty details like why the prospect wants the product, or how many licenses they want to purchase, those types of questions aren’t going to truly help you get closer to finalizing the sale.
Everyone who’s vying for that prospect’s business is going to ask those boilerplate questions; what you need to do is differentiate yourself. As such, below are five closing questions that everyone in sales needs to be asking; and don’t forget, you should Always Be Closing.
How do you see your business changing over the next few years?
This is possibly the most important closing question that you can ask a prospective customer. While many salespeople often look at making a sale as a one time event, you should be trying to “make a customer, not a sale.”
As a salesperson, you should be invested in the long-term success of your prospect; after-all, if they’re happy, they’ll say good things about your product, and tell people why they should be using it. There’s no stronger marketer than a pleased customer.
Asking this question, and trying to understand how a prospect’s business could change over time is an excellent way to let them know that you want to take their growth into account, and that you’re not just trying to sell them on a product for the immediate future. Prospect’s want to know, or at least feel like you have their best interests at heart, and this question is a perfect way to put them at ease.
What’s your timeline for this decision?
Understanding your prospect’s timeline is crucial for how you need to approach the sale in general. If they’re looking at your product or service for an immediate need, you’ll know that you can be more direct, and that you can try to push them to a final answer. However, if finding a solution isn’t urgent, you can be more exploratory with your line of questioning.
Asking the prospect what their decision timeline is lets them know that you want to be on the same page, and that closing the sale as soon as possible isn’t your main concern.
Is there anything that’s important to you that I haven’t covered?
Asking this has two benefits. The first is that if the prospect doesn’t have any comments or issues to follow up on, the sale may already be closed. You’ve answered all of their questions, and if they don’t have any objections at this point in the sales process, the door is wide open for you to come in and get them to sign the contract.
The second benefit is that asking this question will likely bring up any objections or pain points that could prevent a sale from being closed, if left unanswered. It’s like the “doorknob” phenomenon that medical professionals face on a daily basis.
“‘The four familiar words physicians always dread come when the office visit is ending, doctor’s pen clipped back onto the white coat pocket and hand reaching for the door.
‘Oh, by the way,’ the patient says.
What comes next could be as innocuous as a harmless freckle – or a bombshell.”
The same is true in sales. While it may seem odd that a prospect wouldn’t ask a necessary question, it’s not uncommon. They could be nervous or simply unorganized, which causes them to leave out a critical detail. And specifically asking them if there’s anything important that needs to be addressed will help bring those questions to the forefront.
What will it take for us to win your business?
If the question before didn’t uncover any objections, this certainly will. Asking this closing question is like pressing a “make it work” button on a game. If there’s nothing standing in the way, their answer could very well be, “you’ve already won our business” and you can proceed to pat yourself on the back. But, if there are still roadblocks preventing the sale from closing, the prospect will certainly let you know what they are.
What do you want the next steps to be?
This question puts the ball in the prospect’s metaphorical court. By asking them what the next steps should be, you’re essentially asking them to close the sale for you; albeit in a non-urgent way. Their answers will be wide ranging, but no matter what they say, the next steps will be clear.
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