By Mark Landiak
October 1, 2015 - For all the emphasis put on effort and diligence in sales (forecasting, planning, greeting the customer, needs assessment, asking for referrals, etc.), one of the more overlooked and assumed aspects of the sales process is the actual closing of the deal. Sales is sometimes viewed as very cut-and-dry in that regard. When it comes time to close the deal, it's a case of “just do it.” But what does that actually look like? What kind of structure can we (as wireless managers) give to the closing aspect of the deal?
We often hear about salespeople having a “killer instinct”, like closing is some kind of innate ability that they just have and just do. As a result, closing is often construed as being a talent that is just second nature. This is only part true. Some of the best salespeople indeed have an innate talent for socializing, speaking, and persuading. But those closing skills are still learned and groomed. That's where role play becomes pivotal.
As wireless sales managers, we have to practice the same way we play. When it comes to closing the deal, this means we have to incorporate those closing techniques into our role play scenarios and ensure that our sales associates get enough repetition so that they do in fact become second nature. Wireless sales is incredibly nuanced. As a result, the bulk of the customer conversation is spent in the needs analysis stage. It's important to accurately diagnose your customer's issue and prescribe them the proper solution. But once you reach the point where both you and the customer have identified the solution, it's closing time. Here are a couple common techniques to incorporate into your role play scenarios and drill into your associates:
The Indirect (Soft) Close: The most basic kind of close is the indirect or soft close. It's also typically considered best practice to lead with this type of close as it seems less pushy and still steers the customer in the direction of making the sale. Soft closes are more open-ended. Some examples of an indirect (soft) close in wireless: “How does this rate plan look to you?”, “Do you like this headset?”, “What do you think of that accessory package?”.
The Direct (Hard) Close: The other most common kind of closing technique is the direct (hard) close. It's generally discouraged to lead with a hard close because it can come off as pushy and assumptive (especially if the customer isn't quite ready to make the sale). Direct closes are just that: very direct. They steer the conversation towards point of purchase. Some examples of direct closes in wireless: “Shall we start up on your activation?”, “Would you like me to write up that contract for you?”, “If you follow me, I can ring up that accessory package for you over here by the register.”.
One more thing to remember when role playing on closing techniques: Coach in the moment and remind your reps to not talk themselves out of the deal. If you see any inconsistency, pull them aside and reinforce it as a true coaching moment. Inform them that once they've closed, there's no longer any reason to keep trying to persuade the customer. Ring them up, get a referral, and get them out the door happy and willing to come back next time!