Articles on Selling by Robert Seviour



Sales Training Courses

Next Dates

Sales Training Manuals

Articles on Selling

Delegate Feedback

About Robert Seviour

Keynote Speeches

One-On-One Sales Coaching

Custom Sales Training Manuals




How to Close the Sale

For salespeople there is always tension as you approach the final stage of the sales process. It isn't until you ask that you can be sure whether you are going to hear, 'Yes, I'd like to go ahead' or, 'No, I'll get back to you if I'm interested.'

A typical closing ratio for many products is 1 in 3, meaning that two times out of three you don't get the order. Although you have done all the work each time by this point, the big difference is that twice you don't get paid for it. If you push your closing ability up a little and win a sale from time to time that you would otherwise have lost, you are well paid for any effort this has cost you.

Turning more enquiries into firm sales is a highly-geared activity. Here is a refresher course on what it takes to close professionally.

Do your homework

  • Become an expert on your product and the industry you sell into.

  • Read trade magazines and other literature which gives you insights into topical developments in your field.

  • Make sure that your presentation is well-rehearsed and that samples, documents, sales aids are all in tip-top condition.

  • Before calling an existing customer, review your notes about previous meetings – future requirements, history of products bought, names of other individuals involved in the purchase decision.

  • Ask your colleagues if they have any fresh information about the prospect or their industry.

  • Read more about selling whenever you have a chance, attend seminars.

  • Learn good answers to common objections, e.g. 'I want to think about it'.

Have a good reason for contacting the prospect
Are you introducing a new product, or a new offer? Is this the time when the prospect indicated that a new development in his company would occur?

Arrange an appointment and confirm it before travelling
If your contact can't see you for some reason when you arrive, is there someone else it would make sense to meet, or another prospect in the area that you could call on instead?

Make sure that there is nothing that you need to apologise for when you get to your meeting. This is so important, yet many salespeople make the mistake:

Don't be late!     

In fact make sure that you are a little early, and if travelling by car, sit there and review your notes until the appointed time.

Being absolutely punctual creates a strongly favourable impression with many prospects. The reverse also applies; if you are late, it implies a degree of untrustworthiness.

Similarly, if you say that you will phone someone at 9:15 on Friday, do it. Don't call a couple of days later and say, 'I was too busy".

Check your appearance in a mirror. People judge by appearances, if you look a mess it is going to hurt you in the wallet. You need to be trusted, so the ideal appearance for a salesperson is to look a tad more conservative than the prospects that he meets. That goes for haircut, clothes, accessories.

Have you got all the documents you need with you? Always keep spare copies of key ones, such as contracts, in your car.


Are your samples clean and in good working order?

Don't try to get by with scruffy items, do something about it. And if for some reason what you need can't be obtained from your company, if necessary spend your own money to have impressive items to show your prospects.

When you go into to see your prospect
Pay close attention to the first remarks he or she makes. If there is an important issue on her mind, register what it is; this may be potent information when it comes to closing.

Develop empathy by mentioning the topics you may have discussed before, or talking briefly on shared interests. Ask some good open questions and listen carefully to the answers. Find out for sure if your prospect has the authority to make a buying decision on his own, or whether others will be involved in deciding. Does he have a budget? Ask, 'What is the decision-making process in your company?'

Price condition.
For example, 'Mr Smith, I'm sure you are going to want to know what this costs. And I will work that out precisely for you once I know what your exact requirements are, but in recent months the equipment we have supplied to other customers in your industry has ranged between $X,0000 and $Y,000. Is that the sort of figure that you were expecting?'

Ask what time-scale the prospect has in mind. Clearly establish the prospect's buying motivations. If there is one, find out what problem the client is trying to solve by getting your product or service. Use a trial close to see whether if the purchasing criteria can be fulfilled, the customer will place an order now.

When you describe your product or service to your customer
Explain how it is going to help him / her. Talk about the benefits, limit how much you say about features. Use a trial close to see if a feature / benefit is relevant to the customer. 'Mr Jones, this unit is dual voltage – would that be of use to you?' Ask, 'How do you like it so far?' Then review all the aspects of the product or job and ask if they are what the client is looking for.

Ask,    'Are you happy with what we have discussed?'

Wait for the answer and don't interrupt at this point.

'Then would you like to proceed?'

If there is an objection, isolate it like this
'That's a good point Mr Smith. If we are able to resolve it to your complete satisfaction, is there anything else that would prevent you going ahead today?' A list of objections means that the prospect is a time-waster, but you are unlikely to have got this far unless he or she is really interested.

If you enjoyed this article, take a look at my book. It contains a distillation of 30 years of success selling technical products and consultancy.

The Selling for Engineers manual

About the Selling for Engineers Manual



More articles on better selling




Questions/comments - drop me a line at



Sales Engineer Training Courses | Sales Training Manuals | Articles on Selling | Delegate Feedback | About Robert Seviour | Client List

One-On-One Sales Coaching | Custom Sales Training Manuals | Contact | Privacy Policy | Site Map

shopify analytics ecommerce