Five Easy Closes for Consulting Sales

You’ve had conversations with a client. You’ve moved the lead along and now you think it’s time to close new consulting business. What’s the best way to close? Try using old-time sales closes and you’re likely to feel manipulative and even a little slimy. Besides, tricky closes like “The Ben Franklin” and “The Porcupine” (don’t ask) destroy your chance to create the trusting client relationships you need to bring home a successful projects.

Here are five easy closes we teach in “The Power of Partnership” training:

1.The Summary Playback Close
At the end of your conversation(s), play back the broad decisions that you’ve already agreed upon. Verify again that you have an agreement upon each. Then ask if you’ve missed anything, or whether the client has any remaining concerns or questions. This is an easy way to surface any last minute objections or misunderstanding. Finish with a closed question: “Are you ready to move forward to a contract?” Or, “Do we have an overall agreement to proceed?”

2.The Component Close
As you proceed through the conversation, summarize each theme or decision you’ve identified, making sure you have a series of firm agreements. This close makes The Summary Playback Close much easier to put into play.

3.The Alternative Options Close
Use this one when the range of solutions is broad and hasn’t been narrowed down. Collaborate with the client to surface from two-to-four options regarding how to proceed. Be sure you obtain the client’s ideas, explore various possibilities together, and follow their enthusiasm. Be a content expert, but don’t take over the conversation; remember, this is a collaborative close. Lay out the options with the client and then ask them to choose which one they like best. Do not use any tricks here; let them make a genuine choice from among the options they help formulate. Then, shape the chosen option to suit their buying criteria.

4.The Eternal Optimist Close
Use this one only when the client’s buying signals tell you that he/she is ready to buy. To use this close, assume that the sale is already made and simply move forward to the formalities of completing the deal. (“Let’s look at the next steps we need to complete…”) Again, use this one only when it looks fairly obvious that the client is on board.

5.The Urgency Close
This is a close to use when you want to highlight and emphasize the urgency of a buying decision. The decision may be timely because of schedule, costs, supply, or scarce resources. This is an excellent close to use when you want to push the client’s hand because they are delaying a decision. We recommend using the Urgency Close only when there are genuine reasons to hurry; creating false urgency is no way to treat someone whom you want to become your partner for success.

There you have it: Five easy closes that will sew up the consulting business you need. For more great consulting skills, come see us at powerofpartnership.net.

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Authored For S3 Solutions by Marty Friedman

Marty FriedmanMarty Friedman is one of the architects of the “Power of Partnership”, a training course for consultants and solution sales professionals who want to sell bigger deals and have smoother projects. He has co-presented this training for clients such as HP, Accenture, and Bell Canada as well as many mid-sized companies and start-ups. Find out more at www.PowerofPartnership.net

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