1. Basic Rule — Talk to the customer alone, then step away for a few minutes to think about him and what he said. Analyze him as well as you can and use that information to determine your closing strategy.

2. The customer loves to hear his own accomplishments admired and his name mentioned over and over again. It's all music to his ears.

3. Every customer has a weakness or “hot button” somewhere in his make-up. The customer is well aware of it, so he will be over protective in this area (especially in the first meeting). Sometimes the closer must find this weakness to get any action out of the customer. A sudden increase in objections or excuses from the customer is an indication that the closer is about to touch on the customer's spot. The customer is really only fighting what he knows is his emotional “hot button”; when he feels the closer is getting too close to the sale he will put up his greatest resistance creating the final, last ditch obstacles.

4. To make the customer feel more comfortable, the closer should speak clearly and pronounce the buyer's name distinctly — spell it if need be. This draws the customer nearer to the closer. The closer should remember the customers' names and use them a few times while initially getting to know them. This will develop a camaraderie with your customers. If the closer didn't hear a customer's name he should be polite and ask him to please repeat it. If the closer forgets a name he can use the trick of asking the customer how to spell their name. This way the closer doesn't disclose he has forgotten their name, as he goes through the motions of writing it down. This may all seem very basic, but it has to be done correctly to improve your chances of getting a sale.

(Note: There is a school of thought that says a first-name basis is too friendly; if the closer is too friendly he might let the customer off easily and lose a sale. This thinking does have some merit, but if the closer has built up a good rapport with the customer, first names should always be used. A lot more pressure can be applied to the customer by a closer who gets familiar and uses first names than by a closer who is formal and uses only last names.)

5. The customer who talks all the time will eventually tell everything about himself, his family, his home life, business, etc. The closer should get the conversation going, then sit back and take mental notes. They will be useful as future ammunition.

6. The closer should treat every single customer as though he were the last one he will ever get. The successful closer must always give one hundred and ten percent to his own future, and that future lies in satisfying his customers.

7. When the initial conversation is going on between the closer and the customer, the closer should never let the customer's small talk go off in the direction of some far and unknown horizon, or the closer will lose control. The closer should encourage small talk but he shouldn't let the customer talk too long — the sales presentation will end up vanishing in the background somewhere.

8. When the closer first meets the customer he should be alert to any little thing the customer might say, that both the customer S thhoug and closer could relate to. Example: “Mr. Customer, I understand you're from upstate New York. That's where I used to go fishing with my father; it's beautiful country you are from, I envy you.” This kind of statement can work magic on opening up the customer.

9. The closer should never say, “I'm going to be your representative,” or “I'll be your salesman,” to a customer. The customer already knows this and a stupid statement will only scare him more than he already is. The closer should meet the customer as an equal and then go to work. Both the closer and the customer will feel more comfortable. It's a good idea not to broadcast, “I'm a master closer” to the customer, but rather to project yourself as a regular guy and more as a friend.

10. It takes only two individuals to make a sale, and both parties have to have trust, respect, understanding, and some friendship between them if any type of contract is going to be signed and honored.

11. If the customer is a referral from another customer, the closer should use a soft-sell approach, and go lightly until he understands the situation thoroughly. It's easy for a closer to trap himself if he proceeds to give a sales presentation to a referral without finding out some facts first. Don't assume that the referral customer is automatically an easy sell just because someone liked you enough to refer him.

12. If the closer has a team customer and only one member of the party is present (the husband or wife is absent; this is sometimes called a “one-legged unit”) the closer should just give a brief and informative sales pitch. The closer should use a lot of personality and enthusiasm, touching on the highlights of the product, always keeping it simple. This information should spark enough enthusiasm in the customer to make him pass along the sales pitch to the absent party. After giving the brief presentation, the closer should simply re-schedule the customer for another time, when both parties can be present for the full sales presentation.

(Note: This is very important for a closer to remember regarding a husband and wife team when both parties are not present for a full sales presentation. The closer might be able to sell one of the parties, but the chances for a cancellation are tremendous. The reason for this is basic: When the buying party gets home and tries to explain the new purchase to the other party, tempers and friction usually materialize because the party at home didn't have a chance to get involved. So the buying party will try to cancel, just to have some peace at home. Basically the party left out of the buying decision wanted to give some opinion, or knew the family's financial situation better or didn't like the whole idea in the first place — all these negative reasons cause unrest and unwanted pressure until the buying part ends up calling the closer to cancel his purchase or contract.)

13. If the closer has a customer who has been drinking heavily or a customer who is in a big rush to go somewhere else, the closer should be polite and try to re-schedule a new meeting time. The closer should not waste his time when these negative factors are present.

14. If a closer ever asks a customer to buy his product without first programming him, or giving enough product information — the answer will always, and I mean always be “No.” The closer must ca Slos orrefully shepherd the customer through the whole sales presentation, feeding him organized, understandable product (or service) information, to achieve a positive buying answer. All the little questions and tricks the closer uses will lead up to a great and well-delivered presentation. It's just like a staircase: to get where you want to go you can't miss one single step.

15. If the customer looks scared or overly nervous the closer can “break the ice,” with one maneuver: The closer should walk right up to the customer, look very serious, and say, “Which one do you want to buy?” or “How many do you want?” or “Did you call me?” This approach will throw the customer off balance for a second. The closer should immediately smile sincerely and say, “I'm just kidding, my name is John, may I help you?” or something to that effect. This approach works and will help break down that invisible defensive customer shield.

16. If a closer feels uncomfortable with his customer, for any reason, he should politely excuse himself, go somewhere alone for a few minutes and rethink his approach. The closer should try to figure out the problem that exists, then return to the customer with a new and better attitude.

It is easy to get upset if a customer has a chip on his shoulder or is rude, but the closer has to control his feelings and show professionalism at all times if he wants to close a deal with this type of neurotic buyer. (Note: Being a master closer isn't always easy.)

17. Another way for a closer to deal with a customer who makes him uncomfortable is this: The closer can frankly tell the customer that he feels somewhat awkward. The closer should ask the customer for his help in trying to resolve that feeling. For example: The closer can say in a nice, friendly manner, “You know I've never been around South Texas people before, and I'm not sure how to deal with you,” or “This is the first time I've ever been in a coal mining community and it sure is different from where I'm from.” Statements like these that fit the closer's situation will work wonders on the customer if delivered with a tone that reflects, “I need your help.” The customer will usually come to the aid of the closer every time. The customer will give local information, tell stories, and generally open up. (People love to help other people who sincerely ask for it.) The closer ought to use this approach whenever he can; it's a winner.

18. The closer should never be afraid of the customer. Remember, the customer needs the answers the closer has. Besides, the customer is just another ordinary man. The closer should approach the customer with self-confidence and belief in himself. The closer should walk right up to the customer with pride — pride not only in his product but in himself. Then the closer should look the customer straight in the eye and say to himself, “I'm going to get a sale, I'm going to win.”

19. Here is a great way to disarm the customer on the first meeting that is fun and easy. The closer should approach and greet the customer in a joking, slightly confused, disoriented manner. This approach will catch the customer off balance because the customer expects a more serious and professional closer. All this “bit acting” on the closer's part will make the customer feel he is not threatened, and he will smile and let his guard down. (It's the good old “country fox” trick, but it works.)

mmunheight="1em" width="0em">20. When a closer first meets the customer he not only has to take the lead, but he has to give and understand more than the customer, he has to appreciate more, he has to think more and he has to love more.

Note: There is no certain time or set place in the sales presentation to actually close the customer. The master closer is continually (from the first second he says “Hello” to his customer, until the sale is made) going after the sale with every question and statement he can think of. The master closer knows that every single “Yes” or positive respo

nse he gets from his customer is a step that much closer to getting the sale consummated.

This concluded my lesson covering the first meeting of the closer and his customer. Sam said I had just started to learn about sales closing in its actual form and this lesson was only the first step towards perfecting the final close.

Well, I knew one thing: I had learned so much up to now that I was excited about studying the additional tidbits Sam was going to teach me. I think Sam knew how I felt.

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