The Truth About Closing - Part 1
Furniture World Magazine
By Cathy Finney
The surprising reality about closing is that your salespeople probably don't need to learn how to close.
If you’ve ever wished that someone could visit your store to teach your salespeople how to more effectively "close the sale" you are not alone.
The reality of the situation is that your people probably don’t need to learn how to close. They need to be taught how to open! If you can’t open, you can’t close. It’s as simple as that.
Now let’s make it even more simple. Salespeople tend to focus on the word, “close.” We dwell on this little word and it takes over! The word close becomes synonymous with choke. “Oh, no. Now I have to ask for the close. Gulp! Shake! Sweat! Stutter and stammer.” Now, it may not be that bad. But that is exactly what it feels like when you’re on the firing line facing “Ethel” eyeball to eyeball. Do you see what I mean?
Aren’t you and “Ethel” in this together? Closing is something you do “to” someone. Instead, you should be building a relationship. You should be “confirming” an agreement. That is something you do “with” someone.
THIS IS A “PROCESS” IT IS NOT AN EVENT!
This “process” starts the moment you open your mouth.
Your professional performance begins when you head for the door. It’s the decisive moment. When it is your turn to be UP, you are ON. The curtain just went up and the spotlight is on YOU! This is your craft.
Lights, camera, action. Are you ready for your close up? Are you smiling? Are you glad to see them? Are you happy that they came in or are you just reciting your lines and going through the motions by rote? What does your opening dialogue sound like? Do you take your cues from the personality of the consumer? Do you make them feel welcome? Do you get them to “play”?
It’s not about being phony or fake. It is about being professional and prepared. It is about being an entrepreneur in charge of your company, “Me, Inc.”
YOU SET THE SCENE
Question! Gather! Listen! Collect your props. Help this “person” steal the show. Make her the “main attraction.” The plot revolves around her wants and needs for her family and her home. We’re not selling furniture. We’re fulfilling dreams. We’re creating magic. We’re bringing the rooms in her home to life! It’s the “nest.” It’s where she relaxes, recharges, and re-energizes. Let’s get her comfortable so we can start the “confirming” process and help her create her home. To accomplish this you must get the answers to these five questions:
•WHO they are.
•WHY they’re here.
•WHAT they want.
•WHEN they want it.
•HOW you can help them.
When you get this information, the process has begun.
“EAT THE DESSERT FIRST” CLOSE
Now that you know WHO this person is, let them know:
•WHO you are.
•WHY you are here.
• HOW you can help them.
Dessert is to eating as closing is to selling. You decide. Which would you rather have, lima beans or cheesecake. It’s the best part. People are surprised. Tradition says do it last. I say do it first. Tell them WHY you are there and HOW you can help them, UP FRONT. It’s the three P’s: Present the Program for your Production.
•“I’m here to assist you and save you time.”
•“I want to establish a long-term relationship with you.”
•“I’m here to make this process easy, painless, and fun!”
Stating your objective puts the consumer at ease. It lets her know that “I’m not here to sell you. I am here to help you with this important decision.” It establishes credibility and respect. It lets them know immediately that they are dealing with a “pro.” Now you are on your way to a meaningful exchange, and you’re building rapport.
Everybody needs a good LISTENING to. Listen closely and you will hear an SOS. She is “Sending Out Signals.” Buying Signals. You should be on “Owner Alert!”
She is interested. She is asking questions. She wants more information. She is getting involved, so pay attention, very “CLOSE” attention.
•She says: “Can I get it delivered before Thanksgiving?”
•She says: “How long does it take?”
•She says: “When can I get it?
•She says: “How much does this cost?”
•She says:“I don’t know if I can afford this.”
•She says: “How can I pay for this?”
•She says: “How much do I have to put down?”
•She says: “Do you have financing available?”
•She says: “Would you repeat what you just told me?”
•She says: “Tell me again about the warranty.”
•She says: “Is this the best way for me to go?”
•She says:“Can I see that sample again?”
Respond to the buying signal. Answer her question.
•When She says: “Is it available in blue?”
•You Say: “Would you like it in blue?”
That’s right, she just bought a “blue” one!
Many salespeople don’t answer questions; they talk all around them. They say, “Sure, we have it in blue. It’s also available in green, red, yellow, and purple.” That doesn’t answer her question. We start “spraying and praying.” You know, we keep “spraying” all this information and “praying” something will stick! We end up making real sure that she never owns a “blue” one! Yep, we talk ourselves right out of it.
•When She Says: “What is your delivery time?”
•You Say: “How soon do you need delivery?”
This is a confirming question. Recognize that she does in fact want it.
People do not like to be sold. People do not like to buy. They do not like to spend. They like to own. Give them “ownership.”
•If She Says: “When could I get this new living room delivered?”
•You Say: “Would you prefer Tuesday or Thursday for the delivery of your new sofa?”
LISTEN WITH YOUR EARS & YOUR EYES
When she picks up the fabric, again, or walks back and tries the sofa, again, or goes back and touches the table one more time… she just bought it.
Touching is possessing. When she starts touching, remember to stop talking and start writing.
In the August/September issue of FURNITURE WORLD, this discussion of closing the sale will continue with additional closing tools and techniques.
Cathy Finney is President of Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T." She is a noted motivational speaker, sales trainer, and management consultant. Questions can be addressed to her care of FURNITURE WORLD at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathy Finney, effervescent sales educator, motivator and management consultant was a longtime contributing editor to FURNITURE WORLD Magazine. Cathy helped retail furniture store sales and design associates to turn customers (she called them Fred and Ethel) into clients. An enthusiastic mentor and friend to up-and-coming salespeople, she told them to remember that they are skilled professionals and that “Ethel” needs them to get the best possible result for her room or project.
Finney got her start in the furniture business with Ethan Allen where she worked closely with Furniture Hall of Fame member Nathan Ancell. Her company, Ancell Affiliates \"T 'N T" resulted from that close relationship. She passed away at 59 years of age after a long struggle with Multiple Sclerosis. For more information about Cathy and here work email email@example.com.
Read other articles by Cathy Finney