The phrase should really be opening an opportunity because that’s exactly what you should have achieved.
In past decades, sales people have been taught various ploys to secure a signature on an order. Most of these ploys are manipulative and insult the intelligence. There are far too many to list here.
The best way to close a sale is to have a thorough but flexible sales process which can be tailored to the prospect. After all, if the prospect says yes after each stage of your tailored process, they’re far less likely to say no at the end of the process.
The prospect needs to feel that you have their best interests at heart. They will also need to see the financial benefits of doing business with you, as business is about money. If you’re a good fit with their culture, as well as helping them reach their goals, they’re more likely to work with you.
As you should have already ascertained the prospect’s timescales, a start date ought to be fairly clear. However, if there’s any doubt, all you need to ask is “When would you like to make a start?” or words to that effect. No pressure or manipulative tactics are needed.
If there’s reticence on behalf of the prospect, it might be for the following reasons –
1) Your value proposition is not sufficiently clear or beneficial.
2) They may still doubt your company’s ability to help them.
3) A competitor may be pitching hard for their business.
4) Their purchasing or legal departments may be sitting on your proposal.
However, it could be that the prospect simply realises the time has come when all that’s left is to sign. Psychologically this can be daunting for them, especially if a lot of money is at stake or fear of making the wrong decision grips them. Often it’s best to step back and let them think it over for a month.
Ultimately, if you get no answer from your prospect, it’s best to write or email them withdrawing your proposal. This seemingly drastic step often stimulates a reply. After all, potential bad news is better than no news.
You can’t afford to clog up your sales pipeline with reluctant brides.
Please comment below on your experiences of closing a sale and opening an opportunity.