Many professionals experience anxiety or self-imposed pressure when it comes to seeking client approval and closing the deal. This may be because they are afraid of their fee or proposal being rejected or of not meeting company-imposed sales quotas or targets. Some hope the client indicates their desire to proceed on their own while others may push or try too hard and turn off the prospective client.
Many professionals do everything right in terms of providing information, demonstrating technical expertise, talking about similar previous projects, but when it comes to asking for the sale and getting commitment, they sometimes avoid “the ask” altogether.
I’m going to assume that you want to be the type of engineer, architect, accountant or consultant who is seen as a seller/doer, not just a doer, within your organization.
If you set the “ask” up correctly, the client will generally be open to exploring some type of agreement or next steps especially if they are anticipating good value, positive outcomes, and a benefit of working with you and your firm.
Closing the deal, or securing commitment as I prefer to describe it, is the logical final step to conclude a business conversation. Note, I stated “business” – regardless of your professional designation, you are engaged in conducting a business transaction, and selling is one part of that.
Let me share a technique I teach those who are regularly closing deals in the tens of thousands through to millions of dollars.
If you are already applying my Sales Diamond™ process, you’ll know that I state the client is expecting you to close the deal and seek commitment because you have “earned the right” to ask. Think of closing as the logical conclusion and final step to a well-designed business meeting. Your asking won’t be a surprise to the client!
Next sales presentation or BD meeting you’re in, set up the close by saying to the client “I will be asking you to make a decision at the end of our meeting. This decision will relate specifically to your choice of what we do next. I will ask you this question after I have gained an understanding of your needs and requirements and once I have presented you with some options and solutions that specifically address your requirements.”
By saying this at the outset of the discussion you create an expectation of how the meeting will conclude and prepare the client for the “ask”. Perhaps more importantly, you create a framework that enables you to logically conclude the meeting without pressure or manipulation by linking back to your statement about asking for a decision. Remember, you told them you were going to do this. It’s no surprise.
I have found this approach to be very effective and powerful. It also removes the worry and fear of the dreaded close right at the outset of the discussion. The benefit to you? It clears your mind to focus on asking questions; listening carefully; responding intelligently and proposing relevant and valuable options or solutions for the client to select rather than worrying about when and how you’ll close.
So, if you’ve felt salesy and pushy in the past when closing the sale, you’re going to find that you feel more empowered with this approach because it’s simply a conversation between two professionals who respect and value each other.
After trying this strategy, clients tell me how easy it was and how confident they felt by setting up the request at the outset. More importantly, they are closing more deals, securing more project work and making more money.
Go ahead, try it, it works. You can do this – it’s logical!