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The No. 1 Key to a Successful Close

December 13, 2011 by Ken Dooley
Posted in: closing, In this week's e-newsletter - Sales & Marketing, Special Report - Sales & Marketing

How your salespeople open a sales call is more critical than how they end it, according to a survey of purchasing execs. If they don’t create interest immediately, they won’t be given the chance to close the sale. Here are four keys to a killer sales call:

  1. Make your opening statement short, understandable and credible. The goal is to start a dialog rather than a one-sided discourse in which you preach about the features and benefits of your product or service. You must establish who you are, why you’re there, and why the prospect should be interested in what you have to say. There are many ways to open the call, but the common objective of good openings is to lead the prospect to agree that you’re allowed to ask questions.
  2. Ask questions that will help you pinpoint their problems and your opportunities. You can’t assess the prospect’s real needs without having an understanding of the problems involved. Establish your role as the seeker of information and the prospect’s role as the provider of information. This is the most critical stage. You can’t close business without understanding the prospect’s issues.
  3. Let the customer do most of the talking. The more they talk, the better you will understand their needs. Listen carefully to their responses, trying to uncover unrecognized problems and come up with unanticipated solutions. Give the prospect the opportunity to ask questions, and focus on what’s in it for them.
  4. Resist the temptation to offer any immediate solutions until you have a complete understanding of the prospect’s needs. The more a salesperson knows upfront, the more comfortable prospects feel in exchanging sensitive business information. Summarize or re-emphasize key points. Then propose an action that advances the sale.
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