The traditional mantra of Sales is that you should Always Be Closing but in order to close the sale, you need an Offer that is Accepted. Now, you can encourage the customer to make an offer but in order to close more sales and hold gross, you, as the salesperson, should be making the offer.
I routinely hear the following comments from sales people in the showroom when they have been unable to close a customer. “If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know”. Or, just as weak, “Whenever you need anything, I will be glad to assist”. The fact that these wordtracks never get a customer closer to the sale makes you wonder why sales people keep using this ineffective language. No call-to-action and no offer that might elicit a response means you have effectively given up on the prospect and you are politely ushering them out the door.
Consider the following analogy as a demonstration of how ineffective an approach this is and how you might re-frame the conversation to keep the customer coming to you rather than one or both of you moving away from one another.
Suppose you invite friends to your home and when they arrive, you say “there are snacks and drinks in the refrigerator so please feel free to help yourself and I’ll be in the next room if you need me”. I’m sure you would agree that this would put your guests in a somewhat awkward position. To be polite, most guests would refrain from heading into the kitchen to hunt through your cupboards and refrigerator. However, if you brought out a plate of cookies and asked, “Would you like a cookie?”, almost no one would refuse. If you expect a response, you need to make an offer.
Consider that your objective is to move your prospect closer to you and closer to the sale. How can you get them to take the next small step? Is there a “cookie” you can offer that your prospect would see no harm in accepting? What can you offer that has value and moves the prospect closer to a commitment. (Remember, accepting a small offer is a commitment to keep working with you). Whether you are face-to-face in the showroom or working online, providing value and engaging the customer interactively creates the necessary conditions for a transaction.
So, what can you offer? A small offer is better than no offer, therefore, offer something that the prospect can say “yes” to. For example:
- “Would you watch a short video on this product if I sent it to you?” This offer is hard to say “no” to and provides you the opportunity to get the prospect’s email address and the opportunity to follow up and offer more “cookies”.
- “Would you consider this vehicle at the terms we have discussed if we included a flat screen TV” (or Trip for 2 to Las Vegas, etc.). It must be a compelling offer and should be related to what the prospect has indicated is related to her lifestyle or preferences. This is also a good way to test whether other issues are keeping the prospect from saying “Yes”.
- “Let’s make sure this is the vehicle that you will enjoy driving for a long time. I have the exact vehicle you are considering available to drive. Let’s experience it together so you can decide if it stays on your consideration list”. This gets the customer to make the small commitment of driving the vehicle without committing to anything further.
Making an offer to your online prospect is absolutely necessary to get a commitment and to move the prospect into and through the sales funnel, however, the same principle applies when dealing with a prospect in the store. Keep making small offers with value to keep moving the prospect toward you and toward the sale.