The Greatest Salesman in the World Can’t Close.
I know what you are thinking…LIES…how can someone who has generated over $50,000,000 in the last 5 years, bought and sold 2,158 units/properties of real estate in the U.S. from Canada and built Canada’s largest real estate seminar company not be able to close?!
Well…it’s true, I don’t know how to “close”, that is to say that I don’t know how to ‘conventionally’ close.
This is the 21st century. The days of telling a prospect he must buy now as it’s the last car on the lot, or telling someone you’ll discount your commission only if he/she signs right now or it will change tomorrow or pressuring someone out of guilt just don’t work. We can easily pull out our smartphones, verify facts, credibility and reviews within a swipe of a screen. Information has never been so accessible.
Ti’s the death of the salesman
Well sort of speak. We’re in the 21st Century, and consumers are way smarter, well… think they are way smarter. And the days of using manipulative, shady, pushy sales strategies simply don’t work anymore.
The horrible salesman that just knocked on a door will be on the neighbourhood watch social media page within minutes being pushed to all your neighbours smartphones within minutes warning of the horrible intruder.
Times have changed and it’s time to re-invent ‘sales’ as we know it.
Allow me to share with you 3 simple strategies that is guaranteed to double your closing ratio on the existing clients and leads you currently have without using phrases such as “are you ready to move forward now before it’s to late?” or “sign here right now or it will be sold tomorrow”.
People hate “Salesy”
I grew up around sales my entire life. My parents were real estate agents and we were no exception to a family run business.
Before and after school I would shadow my mom and dad around all the time as they would work long hours when other peoples didn’t.
Before long I became a great in-home consultant. While I worked with my parents, I would pick up the experience of dealing with people, experience walking through homes and become an expert in home to make rooms look bigger.
But it took a while to realize that they were never being paid for these in-house consultation and that their objective which was to sign ‘listing contracts’ in order to make money.
There simply was no system or strategic approach. They were winging it every time, leaving the control in the customer’s hands waiting for the customer to ask my parents if it would be ok for them to sell their home.
This was truly wishful selling. Waiting and hoping the client knew what they wanted and would ask.
It’s crucial to understand that…
There’s a step-by-step System to Selling
My parents, just like everyone of your customers grew up listening to snakes trying to sell anything to anyone. They promised themselves, for great reason, to never be salesy.
And their interpretation of not being salesy was to be nice, cater to clients but never ask for the sale as the client will not like you and find you pushy creating even more focus and fear around rejection.
Customers Need to Be Guided
I began my selling career the way most people do, working a summer job while in school.
I gave it a shot, I really did…I tried to close people on buying snowboards, bindings and/or boots in a mall with 2 other competitors.
It just didn’t work.
They would always buy from the competitors.
I tried it, but it just wasn’t me.
Sales was going to be my career, so I was quick to pick up every sales book I could find, took weekend courses, a few seminars and bought lots of audio tapes and cd’s.
I jumped in real estate with my folks, and tried everything I had learned that my parents weren’t doing with the fear of being salesy.
But everything they taught was about pushing the customer to an emotional point where they must buy.
What I observed was that I would just repel customers away from purchasing instead of inspiring them to make the purchase that they WANTED to make.
So I Tried This
I started to change my introduction, I mean “Hi, is there anything I can help you with today” wasn’t really setting me apart from my competition.
So I did this, I would confidently and enthusiastically ask them “what product can I get you information on today?” and then proceeded to introduce myself while pointing to my name tag.
How does changing your introduction relate to closing??
You might be wondering, “I’m reading this cause you said you can’t close, not cause I care about your first job”….well, you see, that’s where it started.
My goal was to:
- Separate myself from others
- Demonstrate that I knew what I was talking about and was eager to help them make the best decision possible.
I wanted to move away from my “salesy” tactics. I wanted to provide as much value as I possibly could, and I wanted to not get caught up in stalls, objections or knee jerk reactions (I call them Automatic Repelling Answers, but I will explain later).
And that is where it starts
So I spent the next few years working on my greeting, pitch, asking for the close….but doing all of this from a perspective of adding value and servicing my customer.
You see…closing isn’t about waiting until the end of your presentation and then confronting the customer about making a decision or in my parent’s case, not asking for the close at all…
Closing is about pre indoctrinating your customer from a position of authority.
Closing is about removing a buyer’s limiting beliefs.
Closing is about building a logical case.
Closing is about building an emotional case.
When you do that, you won’t need 100 closing tactics in your toolbox…customers will literally ask you how they can purchase your product or service.
Before I Give You Those Strategies….
Listen, you can’t be the best at what you do if you have not identified with being a salesperson. If you haven’t already done that, if you aren’t 1000% certain that you can add TONS of value to a customer’s decision making process then STOP reading this article RIGHT NOW.
You’re still reading. Good!
Ok, so let’s jump into the 1st strategy that I have developed over my career…positioning yourself as an authority figure.
Look to social media first. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and whatever social media outlet that I am missing.
Well, word of mouth is always the best way to advertise and your powerbase is the first place to start.
Not sure what a powerbase is, or want exact details on the key elements of your social media profiles? Check us out at stevemartel.com.
Second reason why you need to start closing through your professional image is that customers will for sure…undoubtedly…always…Google your name before buying from you. This is natural; people don’t buy from people they don’t know.
Also, remember that people ALWAYS want to make the best decision possible and it starts by doing some due diligence into whether or not you are credible.
Is It really an Objection?
Here’s the 2nd strategy to closing more deals that I am going to give you…how to recognize the difference between an objection and an Automatic Repelling Answer or A.R.A. for short.
If you read my last article than, 1. You’re a smart person! 2. You already know about Automatic Repelling Answers (if you haven’t, it’s not too late click here).
If you haven’t, let me break them down for you…
…You need to understand where the customer is coming from. WE ALL get taught certain beliefs throughout our childhood….”don’t talk to strangers”…”don’t trust salespeople”…”always get 3 estimates”….sound familiar??
So the approach that you need to take is…
- Don’t take them personally & don’t take them at face value. You need to understand that these are “knee jerk” reactions. The customer doesn’t mean what they are saying…what the mean is “don’t pressure me into making a decision that I am not comfortable with”.
- Acknowledge the ARA and move past it. By agreeing with the ARA, assure them that they are right and then transition to your offer of providing them with information, and at this stage that is providing TONS of value to them.Here is a quick example of what that would look like…
Prospect: “We are just looking”
You: “I understand, most people that visit us don’t buy right away. What I would like to do is provide you with as much information as I can so that when you are ready to buy, you can make the best decision for you and your family. By the way, my name is Steve, what’s yours?”
Analysis: We acknowledged their ARA, we set them at ease by letting them know that they are not alone, we are providing value by offering information, and we proactively tackled one of their core desires (to make a good decision).
This is where it gets dangerous</p > Listen…the first couple of strategies were meant to change your perspective by helping you to realize that the close begins before you even meet the customer and that, despite what they are telling you, they came into your store or office to make a deal.
But what I am Going to Teach You Next needs to be used very carefully!!
These next aspects of this article basically outline how I was able to raise $26.9 million dollars from investors to build Canada’s largest real estate seminar company.
It goes far beyond positioning yourself as an authority figure, it takes more than being able to recognize an A.R.A., it really comes down to understanding how we communicate as humans.
Over 90% of how we communicate is through body language and tonality; essentially it is not what we say but how we say it. Check out the link below to fully understand what I mean.
(Link to How I Met Your Mother clip)
If you want to close with more certainty, and take control of the sale then you need to speak to customers on a subconscious level to PROSUADE them to move past their limiting buying beliefs.
What does that mean?
As you can see from the clip, we can completely change the meaning of the words that we use through body language, tonality & intonations.
Knowing this allows us to not only change how we communicate but it allows us to properly understand what our customers are saying.
There will be a point in the sales process where you need to understand WHY your product/service solves their problems and customers may not be so upfront of what their WHY is. Knowing how we communicate as humans will give you that edge of being able to determine what your customers need and how you can deliver it.
The Mind and How We Receive Information
I will attempt to explain the mind as much as I can without writing a novel here. Essentially the mind consists of three parts; the conscious, sub conscious and unconscious. Webster’s dictionary defines them below:
Conscious: perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation.
Subconscious: existing in the mind but not immediately available to consciousness.
Unconscious: not knowing or perceiving: not aware.
What does that mean? Basically it means that our conscious mind is used critically to make decisions, our sub conscious mind impacts our decisions without us knowing it through our programming that we have learned from our experiences, and our unconscious mind makes important decisions for us regardless of how we are programmed (example, breathing).
When a customer uses an ARA, “I’m just looking”, it is a conscious statement that is caused by a subconscious belief (don’t talk to strangers or don’t trust salespeople). So in order to help customers to move past their limiting beliefs, it is VITAL that YOU learn how to speak to their subconscious mind.
I Repeat, THIS IS DANGEROUS
I will not teach this subject to salespeople who are out to simply make a quick buck, or are willing to take advantage of someone in order to advance themselves. I literally teach everyone in my company to qualify our students to ensure that they are honest people looking to add MASSIVE amounts of value to their client’s lives.
Understanding is one thing, application is another
Now that we are gaining awareness about the mind and how we make decisions, let’s dive deeper into some tools that I have developed over the years to speak to people’s subconscious mind.
Law of Prosuasion #1: The law of Congruence
As humans, we love consistency and congruency, particularly with our actions and our beliefs. When our actions & beliefs don’t align, there are two things that will occur. 1. We change our actions. 2. We change our beliefs.
Let’s use the example of a doctor that smokes cigarettes. By now, we all know that smoking cigarettes is detrimental to our health, and we would expect the health care professional to know this above anyone else. So, as previously mentioned, something has to give, either the action or the belief, and in this example it is the belief.
The doctor has rationalized with herself that the cigarettes are beneficial to helping her cope with the stress as a result of her job. Belief = cigarettes are good for her.
Use these tips so that you can close more deals!
I gave you this example so that you can learn to close “without closing”, like I have been doing since 2004. How can you use this within your sales process?
By getting small commitments along the way. These can be verbal but the most powerful is a written agreement. When we make a commitment, we then justify commitment (our action) because we need it to be aligned with our beliefs.
Use It When Confirming Meetings
So when you are calling either warm or cold leads and you are able to get them to agree to getting face to face with you, ask them “is there any reason that you can foresee that would prevent us from meeting?”.
Because you you want them to make that final commitment of removing all excuses from why they may have cancelled the meeting. Once you get that commitment, you are virtually guaranteed that the meeting will happen.
Law of Prosuasion #2: The law of reciprocity
Have you ever been watching that movie or show about law enforcement and wondered why the “good cop” always offers the suspect a can of pop or a bite to eat??
It’s not because they give a shit if the suspect’s is hangry or not, it’s because the detective understands that subconsciously the suspect will feel obligated to return the favour…and they hope that the favour is returned with a confession.
The law of reciprocity is used so frequently within business that you may not even be aware of when it happens to you.
The contractor offers a free estimate in exchange for your time.
The realtor offers a free home evaluation as a way to get a foot in the door.
I personally took 30 minutes out of my weekend to cut my neighbour’s lawn because they received a parcel for me in my absence and saved me having to drive to the post office to pick it up (which is 5 minutes away!!)
Right now, I’m writing this article full of free content in hopes that you will continue to read my material.
Once you have realized that I have over delivered on providing value, I am hoping that you will turn to me and my team when you have a problem that we can help solve.
The law of reciprocity is one of the most frequently used methods of accessing the subconscious mind within the sales process.
Why? Because it works! It is hard for humans to receive a favour and not to return one. Accepting gifts or favours without attempting to return them is universally viewed as selfish, greedy, and heartless. It is because of this internal & external pressure that people give in to the law of reciprocity.
I hope that it’s starting to click for you and that you are understanding that the close doesn’t happen at the end, it is consistently happening throughout.
Think of a box, and the customer is inside of the box. They have 4 “walls”…
- Emotional case
- Logical case
- Buying beliefs
- Action threshold.Until you have touched upon building an emotional case, building a logical case, you’ve removed their limited buying beliefs (laws of prosuasion), the customer won’t reach their action threshold.
The Action Threshold…Continued…
The action threshold is where most salespeople would recognize where the “close” takes place.
However, now that you have made it this far into this article, I hope that you are beginning to see that the traditional model of pressuring a customer to buy or even worse, never asking for the close AT ALL just doesn’t work in today’s world.
I’ve heard it said that the sale doesn’t start until you receive the first no…
…Well I’d argue that the sale starts before the customer sets foot in your store, it starts when the customer begins to form their opinion of you, your company and your product/service. They are building their impression of you and it continues past the signing of contracts (more on what a stick campaign is later).
It is time to abandon the “pushy” closing tactics. Waiting until the end of the sales process to push for the close, to be aggressive, to convince them to make a decision is… DEAD.
Honestly, my closing lines are terrible…by design. I don’t want to be like everyone else, I don’t want to give them what they expect to have happen and has happened anytime that they’ve looked to make a purchase.
It is time to be proactive with the close, it is time to start investing in your knowledge of how and why customers make the decision.
Simply put….It is time to skill up!
#1 Reason salespeople don’t ask for the close
We have all been there, we have all done it….dread asking for the close! And that is normal, it is expected, and it is the result of 1. Creating a climactic moment that everyone expects 2. Fearing rejection.
When you start to approach the close from the beginning, you alleviate both of those symptoms of failed close attempts.
Wouldn’t you feel more confident if you were able to know exactly how your product will solve the customer’s problems, that you’ve…
…eliminated their limiting buying beliefs
….that you’ve built micro agreements throughout your time together
…that you have been creating a call to action throughout your time together
…and not just at the end and that you have created a scenario where they are either going to buy from you or not at all.
Here’s The Bottom Line.
Closing is all about getting the customer to take action.
Just not in the way you’re used to.
You can’t bludgeon people with pitches and offers and expect it to work.
But if you have an understanding of how to effectively communicate to your customers sub conscious …you can see your sales grow like nothing before.
If you want something like that.