The first thing to keep in mind about closing a sale is that closing the sale is really gaining agreement to do business. People don’t want to be “closed” and are naturally resistant to being manipulated into doing something, even if the want to do it. If you have the attitude that you are developing a way to gain agreement on something that would be mutually beneficial, your posture is different and you come across as being a collaborator as opposed to an adversary.
Armed with the mindset of gaining agreement, you need to start helping your prospect create the habit of saying yes early on in the process. What I mean by this is you want to gain agreement on small things that lead up to gaining agreement to do business. One of the biggest initial things to gain agreement on is to allow you to follow your sales process. Even if you have a one call close, there is a process that you want to go through with your prospect. If you gain agreement on allowing you to proceed through your sales process, you have already begun helping your prospect develop the habit to say yes. To gain agreement on the sales process you could say: “one of the best ways to ensure you get the best value from what we have to offer, is for me to fully understand what you want to accomplish. That way I can make a recommendation from a vast array of solutions that will meet your specific needs, ensuring that your investment will yield the highest return. Would it be OK then for me to ask you some questions about your needs?” What do you think your prospect is going to say? If they say no, consider that you may not have a real prospect. Or, it could be you have not emphasized the benefit (value to your prospect) of going through the sales process. If they say no because of the latter, develop and practice delivering your benefit statements in front of a mirror until you would say yes to you. If you have a great benefit statement and you have a real prospect, the answer will be yes.
As you earn more credibility and trust with your prospect, you will be able to gain agreement on things that will require increasingly more commitment from your prospect. You could escalate the level of commitment by having your prospect do research or some other assignment that would require some commitment to execute. Making assignments is a sure fire way to tell how committed your prospect is to working with you to develop a solution that meets their needs.
Gaining agreement at the end of the sale starts with gaining agreement throughout the sales process. If you have conditioned your prospect to say yes throughout the sales process your prospect is very comfortable telling you yes when it is time to ask for the business.