Your Prospect Will Remain a Prospect Until You Close

Part eight of a 12-Part series highlighting the development of a proven New Home Sales Process.

As a salesperson, you can turn closing the sale into an exciting and positive event. Make no mistake, closing is the bottom line. The result is that you have a paycheck to deposit.

Common Selling Errors

Failure to ask for the order:

It’s hard to believe, but the main reason people do not buy is that they are not asked to own. Up to 60-percent of all sales calls end without salespeople attempting to close even once.

Only a small percentage of salespeople possess the technical ability to ask for the order multiple times. The average, not-so-successful salesperson waits until the end of the presentation, then nervously shifts back and forth, asking for the order in the following timid manner: "Is this what you had in mind? Or the classic, "Well, what do you think?"

Talking too much:

Most salespeople know how to stop talking. They just don’t know when. There is such a thing as overselling. When it happens, it’s like knocking on a turtle’s shell, trying to get him to stick out his head. The prospect is not dazzled-but dazed-by a salesperson with loose lips.

The superior salesperson questions skillfully and listens attentively to the prospect’s needs. She asks her way into a sale; she doesn’t talk her way into it. And her words inspire, rather than tire, the buyer.

Talking past the close:

When you ask a closing question and your prospect confirms that he is ready to own in your neighborhood, the conversation stops, your presentation ceases, and you start preparing the paperwork.

For example, you say, "The current production schedule guarantees your new home delivery by the end of August. Is that satisfactory?" Your prospect answers, "Yes, it is." At that moment, he has made the decision to own. End your presentation. Move swiftly to prepare the contractual agreements.

Arguing with the prospect or customer:

When you receive objections or challenges to your claims and you defend your product, you are in essence telling the customer that he is wrong. People dislike being told they are wrong, even if they are. Remember, when people have objections, respond to them in a positive non-threatening way.

Knocking the competition:

Avoid referencing your competition. If, however, something is said about the competition-negative or positive-simply reply with, "They are a fine company, and seem to do a good job."

When to Close. How to Close.

The most appropriate times to close are during a presentation and at the end of it. You don’t put off asking for the order later in the day or week. After the presentation, maybe during, the prospect usually has 100 percent of the information available and is emotionally closer to making a decision than at any other time.

Have Your Closing Material With You…Always

Be ready to close anytime, anywhere-the moment your customer acknowledges acceptance. Keep your closing forms, calculator, pen and all other materials with you at all times. Take them with you wherever and whenever you are with a prospect.

When you receive commitment, but decide to process the paperwork later, I promise you that the client will have additional concerns you will have to address, and in some cases, you virtually will have to start your presentation over again. As difficult as it is the first time around, the second time will be worse because the emotional odds will be against you.

Learn to Talk on Paper

Ink it, don’t think it. Delegate to document. When delivering a presentation, perform an interactive pad talk. In other words, display the presentation and its highlights in written form. The salesperson writes any key benefits, warranties and assurances on his or her talking pad and then lets the prospect view it during a planned oral presentation. Combine a verbal presentation with the power of the printed word.

To increase your closing effectiveness, always carry a legal binder, which contains your contracts, calculator, pen and any other materials necessary to close.

Ask and You Will Receive

Those of you who are hesitant to ask for fear of appearing like hard-sell, high-pressure salespeople, should know that asking for the order is the fundamental quality of the top new home and neighborhood sales professional. The critical closing instruction is to ask for the order. Ask enthusiastically. Ask confidently. And continue to ask until your invitation to own is accepted. Then have your paperwork ready.

The Final Instruction…SILENCE

Why is it necessary to remain silent after asking a closing question? If you say anything prior to receiving a response, you take the pressure off the prospect. By remaining silent, one of two things will occur:

    Your prospect answers the closing question, committing to own.
    Your prospect answers the closing question, giving you the reason (s) he will not own.

Either answer is acceptable. If he commits, it’s just a matter of completing the paperwork. If he does not commit, you know why. This allows you the opportunity to overcome the objections (not conditions) and continue with the closing process until you conclude the sale.

What Are Closing Techniques?

To understand what closing is, let’s discuss what closing is not.

Closing techniques are not tactics of the cunning used to manipulate people into purchasing homes they can’t afford or don’t want to own, in a neighborhood where they don’t want to live.

Closing is a skill the professional salesperson possesses that leads people to make decisions that benefit them. Understand, the closing technique is designed to move the decision-makers past a moment of tension, indecision or fear.

"I Want to Think About It" Close

"I want to think about it," and "I want to think it over" are the most common objections a salesperson will encounter, regardless of the product offering. The prospect says, "I want to think it over" for three reasons:

I. It’s a Brush Off — Many times you are told "I want to think it over" because it’s a nice way for them to send you on your way without hurting your feelings.

II. Buyer’s Remorse in Advance — Their fears cause them to back away and say, "I want to think it over."

III. Financial Resources — They tell you they want to think about it because of the
price or terms surrounding the home/homesite.

Superachiever: "That’s fine. Obviously you wouldn’t take the time think about it unless you were genuinely interested, would you? Since you are interested, I can assume you will give this careful consideration, won’t you? Just to clarify my thinking, what phase of the offer will you be considering? Is it the area? Is it the community? Is it the home/homesite? I sense your hesitancy, do you mind my asking, is it the money?"

The Alternatives Close

This close automatically concludes the sale by offering the prospect two or more alternatives. You offer a choice between something and something, rather than a choice between something and nothing. You never ask the prospect, "Do you want this or not?" This allows the prospect to say "no." Instead, you say, "Would you prefer item A or B?" Either answer is a "yes" decision.

Delivery: "Closing on your new home/homesite could occur on the 15th or the 30th of the month, which would you prefer?"

Finances: "The initial investment is to be secured by cash or personal check. Which would you prefer?"

Options and Features: "Which do you feel would best compliment your new kitchen, the oak or maple cabinets?"

Appointments: "I have either Monday or Wednesday available for this week. Which works best for you? My office or yours? How about 10 a.m. or 12 noon for lunch?"

My Conditional Close

Prospect: "This seems to be the perfect solution, but before making my final decision, I need to run this by my lawyer (or accountant, banker, committee, friend, advisor, etc.)."

Superachiever: "I can understand. Then, am I correct in assuming you are totally satisfied, and there is no question in your mind that you feel it’s the right thing for you to do?"

Prospect: "Yes, I’m satisfied. I just want her to look it over."

Superachiever: "Great, then the only question is whether your lawyer or accountant says it’s the right thing to do. Is that correct?"

Prospect: "That’s it."

Superachiever: "Mr. Prospect, may I ask you a question? (pause) If your lawyer were present at this very moment, and she advised you to take advantage of this offering, would you act today?"

Prospect: "I suppose I would."

Superachiever: "Unfortunately, she is not with us today, but prior to your speaking with her and to facilitate the transaction in a timely fashion, let’s prepare the paperwork now and we will make the sale ‘subject to’ her final approval. This way, the process has begun and if by chance she doesn’t agree, we will simply start over. That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?"

Next installment: Do You Give-Up or Clean-Up On Follow-Up?

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