3 Steps to Closing a Difficult Sale

By Tom Hopkins

You’ve done your job as salesperson: You’ve provided great information and a wonderful solution to meet a potential client’s challenge. Yet, the buyer refuses to own what you’re offering. Her problem isn’t solved yet, so, you need to work your way back to a point of attempting another close — perhaps with different options.

How do you get across the divide between a first, second, third, or fourth attempt to close and the final close — the one that sticks and finally getting to a close? You build a bridge. Here’s how:

  1. Apologize.

    Especially if you feel you’ve pressed a little too hard, back off with a quick apology. You can say something like

    • “I’m sorry. I just got carried away. I didn’t mean to move so quickly.”

      What you’re really doing is apologizing to yourself for not making the close. Don’t worry about it. All it means is you get a chance to practice another of your many closes.

    • “I apologize. I didn’t mean to push you.”

      Your apology is sincere because a champion salesperson doesn’t push — she pulls. She pulls by leading with questions.

  2. Summarize the benefits the client has already agreed to.

    Play it safe, and aim for minor agreements:

    • “I know there are still a lot of questions in your mind, but this model is the size you wanted, isn’t it?”

    • “All I’m saying is that after everything you’ve told me about your needs, the JLG Lift seems to meet those needs, doesn’t it?”

  3. Ask a lead-in question.

    Complete your bridging to the next closing sequence by asking a lead-in question. Try it this way, “I know I went through that rather quickly, but those are the things we’ve discussed thus far, and we’ve agreed on them, haven’t we?” After getting the client’s agreement, ask what else you may have missed or misunderstood in your conversation. In other words, you want to know what’s holding her back without directly asking “So what’s holding you back?” That would be too pushy.

When the potential customer agrees with the summary of points you provide, you’re set for your next closing attempt. If you keep using this technique to roll into your next close, eventually she will own what you’re there to sell them. Why? Because you know more closes than she knows reasons not to buy. Won’t that make an exciting change in the results you’re getting? It will if you’ve been losing because your prospects all just naturally react with more negatives than you have positives. But is it ever fun when you know more ways to get them to say yep than they know ways to say no.