The Art of Closing

Everything went well. You identified your clients’ goals, formulated a plan, and explained it in great detail. When you were finished with the proposal, they kindly replied with: “Thank-you for your time, I would like to go home and think about it”.

    Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Understandably, clients need time to think about your discussion, but many times they want to think about it because they are still unclear about some aspect of your conversation. It is important to uncover the true reason for putting off the decision to proceed with the recommendation you’ve made. It is better to clarify any misunderstanding while the client is still there in front of you, rather than later over the phone. Additionally, it will show your client that you want to make certain that they have understood everything you have discussed.
Here are a few suggestions for dealing with these situations:
    When you have completed your presentation, and all questions have been answered, it is always helpful to briefly summarize your proposal. This will help to reiterate key points of your presentation and may trigger the client to ask any questions they have been pondering throughout your presentation.
    If your prospect or client appears hesitant about making the decision, simply ask: “Mr./Mrs. Client, is there anything that we have discussed thus far that I can clarify prior to proceeding with this recommendation?” (Important to leave the word “you” out of this question, taking ownership for anything you may have failed to communicate in greater detail, rather than letting the client feel as if it is their problem that they don’t understand.)
    Be patient. We often take for granted that our level of understanding of the investment world is greater than the average consumer. Be sure to speak at a level your client understands. Using investment jargon will sometimes confuse a customer, even though they may politely nod their head and pretend to understand.
    Take the role of a consultant not a salesperson. With the constant bombardment of sales messages around us, everything from news print, radio, billboards, phone solicitations etc., the last thing your client or prospect wants is a sales pitch. The key to making a sale, is to gradually lead your client to make the decision themselves. By discussing the benefits of a particular investment, and showing them how it will help achieve their particular goals, the closing process will be automatic.
    Use trial closes throughout your presentation. By asking questions such as “do you see how this can help you achieve the retirement goals we have discussed today” or “do you see the benefits of tax-deferred investing” etc. These are great opportunities to assess where your client is at, and either strengthen a particular selling point or move on to the next. Additionally, many clients may be reluctant to ask questions, help them break the ice by asking “do you have any questions so far?” several times throughout your meeting.
    Although there is no magical sales pitch that will land you every sale, there are certain key elements that you can incorporate into your presentations that will make the closing process easier and in some instances automatic, with no hesitation.