Closing Sales & Retaining Customers With 7 Simple Steps

There are virtually thousands of different methods that can be used to close a sales pitch, but any professional salesman will tell you that none of them is the absolute single way to do it. Your pitch can center on the product itself, the benefits your company offers as opposed to its competitors, or simply your ability to relate to your prospective customer.

While your sales pitch will depend largely on the product or service you are selling, there are some universal truths that go along with any pitch that you can ensure you are doing in order to better your chances of closing the sale.

1. Prepare for the close

Although there is never a guarantee of closing a deal when you are meeting a new customer for the first time, you should always go to the meeting with the proper tools and documents you need to complete the close. This also means being fully prepared for your pitch by having documents, presentation material, and evidence demonstrating your company’s success with the product or service being pitched. Knowing you are prepared for the pitch and have everything that you need to close the sale can have a huge effect on the outcome of your pitch because it can increase your confidence in pitching the customer, allow you to focus on the pitch, and allow you to relate the product to the customer face-to-face and be prepared for any objections they may throw your way. 

2. Sell the value

Many customers today are extremely wary of paying too much money for a service that someone else could provide at a better rate or for paying for something that they don’t actually need. The internet has also made it easier for prospects to discover more information about your product and company, as well as the rates that your competitors offer for the same service.

When money is a big factor in whether or not you close the deal, be sure to sell the value of the product and demonstrate to the customer how paying for your more valuable service will get you a higher quality product and potentially save them money in the long run. A car salesman, for example, who is looking to sell the more expensive unit of a pair of cars you are considering will attempt to steer you in that direction by highlighting what the more expensive model has as opposed to the other model by way of gas mileage, warranties, safety features, interior comfort and quality, and maintenance requirements.

3. Maintain strong rapport

Your personal rapport with your prospect is another key factor that can either make or break your ability to close a deal. When you are speaking with a prospect, it is important to be as human as possible. Customers do not want an overpowering, high-pressure salesperson to come to them and force their business on them without taking the time to fully answer their questions and thoroughly walk them through the product. This is your chance to relate to them on a personal level and to demonstrate your own enthusiasm about the company and the product you are selling. 

Use a personal story about how the product helped you or why you chose to come and work for/represent this particular company.  If you can show that you have extensive knowledge about the product, current industry trends, and similar products available in the market, your ability to engage and impress the prospect will be that much greater.

4. Praise your competition

Regardless of what industry you are in or what company you are working for, how you relate your product and company to your competition will play a big role in determining whether or not you get the sale. If a prospect begins to talk about similar products from other companies, or other companies in your industry, do not jump to discredit either them or their product. Instead, assure the prospect that your competitor, whoever it may be, is a very credible company with an excellent track record and take the time to point out the strengths of the company in question. In order to maintain their interest in your company, however, it is best to highlight what services or products your company offers that the competition does not. This will keep the prospect interested in you and your company because you have provided them with (seemingly) honest information about your competitors and did not put the prospect in the position of having to defend another company’s product or service in relation to your own.

5. Let them do the talking

There is a famous saying that goes with the close of any sales pitch: once the pitch is done, the first one to talk loses. After your pitch is finished, you should feel comfortable in asking the prospect for their business, but once you have asked, let them respond. People in entry level sales positions often make the mistake of talking themselves right out of a sale, so just as there is a danger of not saying enough in order to convince the prospect to buy your product, there is also a danger in saying too much.

If you continue to talk after the pitch is finished, you increase your chances of bringing up reasons for the prospect not to buy the product, or you simply come off as desperate for their business. Remember, the prospect will naturally be hesitant to give you an automatic yes, but they will also not want to rush to turn down your business for fear they will be missing out on a great opportunity. You may feel obligated to fill the silent void between you and the prospect after your pitch is finished, but if you can learn to keep your temptation to speak in check, your sales will most likely begin to drastically improve.

6. Under promise

While your goal in a sales pitch is to highlight the perks and benefits of having the product or service in question, you should make a point of not over-emphasizing the products value to the prospect. You also do not want to get into the awkward situation of making promises you or your company can’t actually keep. If a prospect expects the product to perform a certain function that you know it cannot, the best way to sell it is not by falsely “assuring” them that it will perform that function, but rather by being honest and highlighting how the product’s other features can make up for that missing component.

For example, if an insurance company states they will process their customers’ claims in only three days, then take the time to ensure the claim is processed in that time or even sooner. If it takes longer than the time the customer was told to expect, they may begin to lose faith in both the product, the company, and in you.

7. Over deliver

Just like under promising is important to your success, over delivering on the product or service is a great way to maintain customer retention and increase your referral rate. Once you have acquired your prospects business, it is now your job to ensure you do everything that you can in order to retain them as clients. If you have succeeded in under selling the benefits of the product, then over delivering on the service becomes even easier for you.

For example, if a cable company receives a maintenance request from a customer and tells the customer they cannot get to them until a certain date, making an extra effort to get to them sooner or offering some kind of discount or incentive for their wait will make the customer more likely to stick with your company.