It’s not what you sell. It’s how you sell it.
Ever buy something because you like the person or the company? We all have.
Tradies like us all have preferred suppliers and vendors. We work with them, not only because they deliver superior products and services, but also because, whether we realize it or not, they got us sold on them. We trust what they sell because we trust them.
Why them and not anyone else? And what did they do that others didn’t?
The art of closing appears a mystery. Some of us just seem to “have it” and others not so much.
We’d like to propose, however, that closing can be learned. In this article, we actually share eight simple sales closing techniques any tradie can apply. Forget infomercial gimmicks and magic methods—these are practical and doable things that you can work on starting today.
Our List of Techniques
- Start from the beginning, and make it urgent
- Ask questions (the right ones)
- Sell your process, not just its benefits
- Consider a compromise
- Presuppose, to an extent
- Earn simple yeses
- Outline opportunity costs
- Close on social
- Summarise and visualise
Start from the beginning, and make it urgent
Closing starts from the get-go. The moment you’re in the same room (virtual or otherwise) with a prospect, the game is on. Always come in prepared.
Every great close starts with a great open, and every great open starts with understanding your prospect’s needs and wants. Their needs and wants should always be the basis of discussion.
The first thing you need to do is contextualize their problem—and position your offering as the solution to that problem. Refrain from information overload; this is about getting them to focus on you as the solution.
A good rule of thumb: solve before you sell.
Once you’ve got them on board, spice up your offer using any of the following:
Now or Never Close
Create a sense of urgency. Make an offer they can’t refuse.
If they buy now instead of later, say there’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal in store. It can take the form of a limited time offer or a cool add-on or a rate that they can’t possibly pass up. Whatever the case, it should be something they can only get now.
Just avoid the word “discount” at all costs. Even if lots of people use it, that word can lower your close rate by a staggering 17-percent.
Ask questions (the right ones)
Like we said earlier, always start by finding out your prospect’s needs and wants.
If don’t already know (and you should always assume that you don’t), ask.
Asking questions is not only a great way to clear things up, it’s also a way to show genuine interest in your prospect. When you ask, you come across as empathetic.
Just make sure your questions don’t put your prospect on the spot.
Questions concerning money, for one, are absolutely necessary but often cumbersome. But simple changes in wording can go a long way.
Tweak a forehead-scrunching question like “how flexible is your budget?” to something more thought-provoking, such as, “how much might you stand to lose without our solutions?”
This will allow your client to arrive at their own conclusions, and give you an opportunity to address outstanding objections, should there be any. Follow up with questions that lead to further selling, should your prospect remain unconvinced. Try:
- How might our offer best alleviate your problem?
- Is there any reason you might choose not to proceed with the offer?
You, too, can ask yourself questions and weigh up why you may or may not be closing deals better than your competitors. Ask:
- What can I offer that sets me apart from fellow tradies?
- What methodology have my low-price competitors been implementing that I, too, can learn from?
- How can I make change more compelling for my prospect?
The best-case scenario, questions get you closer to sealing the deal. Alternatively, you walk away—at least for now, and with a deeper understanding of clients, you can eventually pursue in the future.
Sell your process, not just its benefits
Performing a job is one thing. Performing it well is another, and that’s the aspect that matters more. Underscoring the amount of time, skill, and effort that goes into a single process can be far more reassuring to a prospect than your actual capability to complete it.
Talk about the team behind your success, the years of training they’ve undergone, and the amount of time that goes into studying a single prospect.
The easier it seems something was achieved, the less people value it naturally. Nothing is more precious to a prospect than time and effort, and how much they don’t want it wasted.
Consider a compromise
Especially for first-time homeowners, going into business with up-and-coming tradies is a plethora of what-ifs. We’ll be the first to say that speculating on potential mishaps can often become counterproductive. The 65% of salespeople who focus too much on non-selling activities will confirm it.
Thing is, it’s more than possible to turn what-ifs into returns. Say your prospect is weighing in on a price tag that might weigh heavily in the long run. Offer a discount, ask for a signature.
Work them into other aspects of concern. Encourage a close with the promise of faster delivery, or a higher volume of orders at no expense. Of course, you’ll need to align with your sales manager, and consider extras or add-ons that are dispensable to you.
Reciprocity, in itself, is an effective sales closing technique. Think about the way incentives work. People are more enticed to perform an action that services another when they get something in return. In similar fashion, when you throw in a freebie, people feel indebted to you and feel the urge to “repay” whether in a final—or at least larger—close.
Presuppose, to an extent
As both you and your prospect approach the finish line, hurdling it can take a major amount of effort. So how do you nudge them over? Take on a more persuasive approach while familiarising yourself with client operations. Ask about:
- When they prefer to receive deliveries.
- How they keep in touch with other contractors.
- An address to send invoices.
You aren’t quite asking for direct business—simply reeling them in on their preferences. You’ll also get a closer look into your prospect’s interest and engagement.
Earn simple yeses
Did you know it takes 21 days to form a new habit? In sales, it only takes 3 yeses to increase your “final yes” probability by 16%. True to their name, easy yeses can be a given.
Throw in a no-brainer by revisiting goals. Ask: “If I’m not mistaken, you’re looking to rework your floor plans, correct?” Yep. “And you prefer them in 3D, not bird’s eye?” Yes. “And you’ve been keen on giving AutoCAD a trial run?” Yes!
Regardless of merit, a yes is a yes and, in some ways, a commitment. More often than not, commitment leads to compliance because we like to remain consistent. Eventually, you’ll know when to make the bigger ask.
Keep in mind, however, that no-brainers or not, you should always align with the value of your services. You’ll more or less get a foot in the door.
Outline opportunity costs
Ever experience a fear of missing out? Reinforcing the feeling, even in trade, can be an incredibly productive sales closing technique.
Condition your prospect to see your service as less of an expense and more of an investment. A simple enumeration of ROI benefits such as improved logistics and faster delivery times is often enough for clients to consider you in the long-run.
Prospects are equally as responsive to scarcity. Naturally, we fear loss more than contemplating what we hope to gain out of a particular dilemma—which is to say prospects might react more urgently to a service that is both beneficial to them and highly limited. There are several ways to achieve this.
Underpin limited access
You can choose to implement a “reply by” date or simply mention the speed at which your bookings are being filled. You might also want to consider adding constraints to your supply.
At the same time, reflect said time as the “best time.” Is your client looking to expand their business? Did they just secure a new source of funding? Are you selling during the holiday season and offering a few extra perks? Any time can be the “best time” for your prospects if you make it so.
To eliminate any impending back and forth, suggest a date on which to meet next. Or, if you’re feeling confident, a date you can get down to business.
Take something away
Whether or not we’ve already had our hands on it, it’s in human nature to hate to lose something. Take something away from your prospect and they’ll think about wanting it back more than ever.
See-sawing on prices? Offer to hack off on expenses, but with the loss of certain features as well. Reposition your focus onto savings. Reassure your prospect that if they can only afford a particular product or service, that it’ll get the job done all the same. If your prospects shake on it, you still would’ve gained more than the dollars you retracted.
Make a list
Another option is to review your client’s needs against a list of methods by which your service can meet them individually. They’ll see that while more ticked-off boxes implies a better fit, it also implies a lot to lose should they forego a deal.
Close on social
Some deals close faster than others and depend more on where leads are derived from than you might think. As compared to the 97 days on average that it takes to close a deal sourced through referrals, it only takes 40 to close one found on social media channels.
But what are the whys behind its success? We call it social proofing, the act of seeking guidance when we can’t quite make a decision. At the root of it lies herd mentality, or an inherent need for us to look to others when we aren’t sure how to behave.
Recall the last blog you visited. You might notice that articles with a higher number of comments lead to greater reader interaction and engagement, regardless of whether said readers actually know each other or not.
As a sales closing technique, you can incorporate social proofing into your pitch by sharing testimonials. The simple act of putting up your positive reviews on social can increase conversion rates by 270%.
You can also consider these other options:
- Share case studies of former clients who have been converted from other services.
- List video testimonials or service reviews.
- Compare before-and-after photos of successful projects.
Summarise and visualise
You’ve hit all-or-nothing, and there are no new facts or concerns to uncover. There’s really only room to reiterate what you’ve already presented in a fraction of the time.
As previously mentioned, people are conditioned by repetition, so summarise selectively. Mention points your prospect has already previously agreed to, to set them up for that final yes.
For greater impact, use visual aids to reflect on your prospect’s consumer journey. Result charts, in particular, make your achievements feel a little more tactile. It’ll also allow the client to come up with more personal reasons as to why your solution is valuable to them.
Create a pros and cons chart. Sure—it may seem counterintuitive. After all, who wants to talk about the downside of your services? But what over-eager salespeople seem to let slip by is the value in honesty.
People like to trust not only in your product, but that you’re constantly on a mission to improve it. Plus, if you’ve been doing so constantly, your pros are more likely to outweigh the cons.
While these sales closing techniques have historically proven effective, one size doesn’t fit all. The techniques you decide to implement rely heavily on research, and factors such as your prospect’s unique operations and budget.
Even so, closing is a step-by-step process vulnerable to sudden changes. Take time to reevaluate your confidence levels with every meeting. Observe how your prospect is reacting to your offer—are they constantly begging for a bargain? Are they having difficulty visualising the benefits of your service? Find out.
In the end, business is business, and closing isn’t everything. It’s just as important a habit to know when to walk away and seek more rewarding partnerships. Closing is a win for both parties—or at least it should be. Never opt to settle for a deal because of how attractive the numbers look.
If your batting average with sales closing techniques has been healthy, and you’ve done your job well, prospects will decide that you fit.