Salespeople should bring a sales call to a close with authority. So show authority to close a sales call effectively.
We don’t think about it, but the reason why we assent to a doctor’s prognosis and diagnosis is because we believe him to have authority to do both. So much so that even quacks get away with it. Now you, the sales person, are not so lucky as to enjoy that automatic authority. You need to show authority to close sales deals. In any case, if they don’t buy you, they won’t, the product you are selling. To close is to get commitment of purchase from potential buyers (prospects). Typically this comes in the form of a signed contract, issuance of an LPO or, or, and this is the preferred and conclusive one, cash payment. Now, there’s three ways to show authority.
Three ways to show authority
- Demonstrate industry and product knowledge
- Instigate the close
- Take rejection in stride
Importance of knowledge in sales
There’s something about knowing what you are talking about that bestows authority on you. And, the converse holds true. Sadly, even if you do know your stuff (product and industry knowledge) but struggle to articulate it, you fail to inspire the buyer with confidence and assurance and a sale is lost. Or, it is lost because of your well-articulated knowledge. And that’s OK too.
For instance, the Sales Engineer refusing to be badgered into acquiescing to a discount says, “I’m sorry I’m unable to sell, let alone install, that pump for you. The wiring in your house cannot support it. And in a few months it will blow or, and I hope I’m wrong, may cause an electrical fire. If you say, you can buy and get it installed cheaper elsewhere (competition), that’s OK. Should you change your mind, I’ll be happy to sell, and install this one I’m recommending.” When the humbled prospect comes back in five months holding the fried pump, you give him a dignified exit, and proceed to sell, and install your pump without so much as an, “I told you so.”. After all, you are now in the zone; your authority is now cast in stone.
So show authority to close a sales call; if you know, you know
Interestingly, the calmer and assertive you are about exuding your knowledge, the more confident and therefore authoritative you come through as. So, no, you don’t have to bang the table or speak loudest to be accepted as credible. Show knowledge like a doctor. And just like a doctor, do not overwhelm your patients, sorry, prospects, with your fountain of knowledge. They already consider you an authority. So know your product intimately but share only what is necessary. However, take caution. Coming through as a guru in your knowledge will bestow authority on you but product knowledge in itself is not enough to close. You must still instigate the close.
Instigate the close to show authority to close a sales call
The close, like a kiss, will not happen by itself. Someone, typically the boy, has to show authority to close sales opportunities, sorry, make the kiss happen. For whatever reason, buyers will rarely say, kiss me now. Sorry, “Close me now”. In fact, any seasoned buyer that hears these words, much as that is exactly why he is there, doesn’t jubilate but becomes sceptical instead. He is keenly aware that for a close to happen it must be instigated.
Attempt to kiss her, sorry, close
So he shows authority with attempted closes. Like the waiter that asks, “Would you like to order now, Sir?” Or, the savvy insurance agent that asks, “Would you like to sign with the blue pen or the black one?” Or, the hawker that tells you, “Kujaribu ni bure.(It’s free to try on)”. Show authority to close the sales order by knowing your product and instigating the close, to close sales quickly.
Of course, such instigation happens after you have noticed buying signals from the prospect. For instance, his eyes light up on seeing a particular pair of shoe, or she doesn’t pull away when you touch her; or she asks, “Do you have them in red?”, or, she unconsciously fidgets around you. It could also be you mention ‘budget’ ahead of doing the strategic planning session, and the executive leans forward, convinced that you know what you are talking about. More authority.
Show authority to close sales call. Take rejection in stride.
“It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.” If ever there was a show authority to close sales call quote, that would be it. It’s from the movie The Godfather. If you are confident as you go about from car to car hawking your windscreen wipers, unfazed by the occasional rolling up of the window to close it, or, the casual “Hapana” (No), or the curt, “Nkt! Sitaki!) (I don’t want!), then those rejecting you, as counter intuitive as it sounds, actually respect you! The more if you show up the following day, the day after that, and the day after that. The silent message you are passing to each other is, “It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.”
It’s nothing personal, it’s just business
You see, today’s suspect is tomorrow’s prospect. As I’ve shared here before, those refusing wipers today will likely roll down the window tomorrow because they are in a receptive mood or because the same hawker is selling bananas or lanterns or something they need. After all there are no perfect products, only perfect prospects.
Many former life insurance agents, now selling, say loans, will tell you of prospects that hitherto rejected them but are now eager to meet, stating, “Sasa hiyo twaeza ongea. Njoo”(Now for that we can talk. In fact, come now.) Now if the sales person had held a grudge and made it personal, relinquishing his authority in the process, this opportunity to close would have been lost too. If you don’t close the buyer on why he should buy, he’ll close the opportunity on why he shouldn’t. Power (authority) hates a vacuum. So manifest authority by bouncing back from customer rejection. Painful as it may initially feel, “It’s nothing personal, it’s strictly business.”
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