Asking sales questions that close the sale can be unnerving for some.
If you are comfortable connecting with people, sales activities like outreach and sharing features of your product or service can all seem quite natural.
But when you move to asking for the sale, even some of the best salespeople can get a bit squeamish.
What is the best question to ask?
When is the best time to ask for the sale?
How can I transition from our current discussion to asking my question?
Anyone can become comfortable asking sales questions that close the sale, but first you’ll need to equip yourself with the right questions — and know when to ask them.
How to Close the Sale
Closing a sale is all about timing.
Can you imagine if, immediately after arriving at a car dealership, the salesperson came outside with paperwork and said, “just sign here and this blue car is all yours.”
Clearly, you need to discuss their interest, their budget, and their timing before you can think about closing. But how do you recognize WHEN to pivot and start to ask sales closing questions?
Typically, this happens at the point when the buyer has suggested some level of interest.
They’ve asked some questions about how the product or service works.
They’ve inquired about availability or pricing.
Maybe they’ve asked about testing or trialing the product or service.
These are all signs that a customer is considering a product or service that you sell.
Unfortunately, what’s not always clear is whether they are still researching other products or services or whether they’ve narrowed down their research to a select few.
Asking some clarifying questions can help with making this determination.
When you are trying to confirm where the buyer is in their decision-making process, you need to ask questions to clarify.
These questions allow you as a sales professional to determine where to take the conversation and what to present to the customer.
Some examples of clarifying questions include:
Have you been considering this product/service for long?
What other similar product/services have you been looking at?
Are you still researching other options?
Have you narrowed down the features that matter most?
Have you decided on a budget for this purchase?
Each of these questions is designed to help you determine if the buyer is still researching or if they are now entering the considering or buy stage.
Recognizing this will help determine whether to continue sharing information or if it’s time to shift to closing questions. In many instances, the shift to closing questions begins with transition statements.
As conversations with your buyer evolve, opportunities to use closing statements will sometimes be almost natural. If, for example, a buyer asks you “so what will this cost me?” it’s a sign that it’s time to bring out the closing questions.
But not every case is this simple.
In some instances, you’ll need to transition your buyer from the conversation you’re having towards the close. To do so, you’ll want to use transition statements.
These statements can be used to steer the conversation in the direction of a close and can be quite powerful.
Some examples of transition statements include:
“Let’s discuss the budget you had in mind.”
“If we can take a minute, let’s discuss the specific outcomes you’d like from this product/service.”
“Let me paint a picture for you as to what this might look like.”
“Now might be a good time to discuss the specifics around this project.”
“If we could, let’s transition to discussing how we will approach this for you.”
In each of these examples we’re transitioning our buyer from wherever we are in our discussion to a place in which we can begin asking closing questions.
Let’s get to some of the most common and effective closing questions.
There are dozens of questions you can use to close any sale. The key is ensuring they are relevant to your situation and your timing is right.
Asking closing questions too early can turn a buyer off. Waiting too long to ask closing questions can result in a lost opportunity.
If you follow the steps above, however, you’ll be well positioned to ask any of the following closing questions.
“What does your decision-making process look like?”
“Who is involved in the decision-making process?”
“What is your timeline for making a decision?”
“Is there a specific budget you had in mind that we should work within?”
“What will it take for us to win your business?”
“What else would our solution need to do for this to be a success?”
“Is there anything that would stop us from moving forward with this?”
“What support will you need for this to be successful?”
In some instances, your buyer won’t provide you with a direct answer. I call this skating.
When a buyer skates, they aren’t sure yet that they want to make the investment in whatever it is you’re selling. In this instance you have two choices:
1. Return to asking more open-ended questions to attempt to uncover their objection or question.
2. Use an assumptive close to flush out what their objections might be.
Let’s discuss a few assumptive closes.
The assumptive close is valuable in that it either directs the buyer towards sharing their objections or prompts them to close.
It’s one of my personal favourites when it comes to closes, as it’s a great way to test where the buyer is at in their process. Be wary, however: using these questions too often or too early can lead to buyers seeing you as too assertive, which will turn some buyers off.
Some examples of assumptive closes:
“Shall we send the invoice and get started on Monday then?”
“Let me get this proposal finalized, and then we can start on Friday.”
“We’ll have it delivered tomorrow, and I’ll send the final paperwork along with it.”
“Sounds like we agree. Would you like us to get started this afternoon, and I’ll send a signed copy?”
“It looks like this will work for your schedule. I’ll send the deposit invoice and we’ll get started.”
You can see in every instance we’re assuming that the deal is done, and we are moving forward.
Powerful Questions Close Sales Faster
There are always nuances that exist with every buyer and in every situation.
This said, by using the questions above, you can quickly transition from where you are to closing a sale.
All it takes is using the right questions, at the right time.
Which of these questions will you use in your next buyer discussion?
© Shawn Casemore 2022. All rights reserved.
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