Imagine being on trial – you’re not guilty of course − and after the final witness’ testimony your lawyer simply rests her case and leaves it up to the jury to make sense of all of the evidence and deliver whatever verdict they feel appropriate. Would you be happy? I don’t think so.
Yet most sales presentations end something like this, “Well, I guess that’s it. Thank you for having us and we’ll open it up to questions.” While the presentation certainly came to an end, that doesn’t qualify as a closing.
Closing is a process that either completes a sale or moves you one or two steps closer to it. If all you’ve accomplished is gotten to the end of your presentation but not asked for a verdict, you have not really closed.
Back to your trial…
What would you want your lawyer to do at the end of the trial? You’d want her to take advantage of that one final opportunity to summarize your case for the jury. Revisit the compelling points. Support it with evidence. Call back to what she set out to prove in her opening argument and leave the jury with one final strong, compelling point to remember before they adjourn. She’s built the case, now she has earned the right to ask for the verdict.
If you’ve built a strong case in your presentation, you too have earned the right to ask for something. Not every presentation ends in a signed contract, and in fact, in the case of most complex sales that is extremely rare, however you must ask for an action otherwise you have just invested a lot of time and energy delivering an informative talk.
An effective closing takes planning and practice, but as the final impression you make on your prospect, it’s well worth the time invested. There are certain elements to include in your closing that will make it both persuasive and memorable.
The Components of a Persuasive Closing:
* Recall the objectives: Pointing out what you set out to do is a natural transition from the body of your presentation into the closing. It also serves to remind your prospect of the disparity between their current state (the challenge or pain point you’re there to solve) and their desired state (life with your solution).
* Call back to your opening. You came up with a great attention-grabbing opening (right?!Click here for help with your opening.) – a story, a theme or an interesting fact — don’t just deliver it once and let it die. Revisit it during your closing. People love the symmetry of coming full circle.
* Restate your value proposition. You may have introduced your value proposition during your opening, but now that you have taken your prospect through the process of how you are you going to achieve that value proposition, you can emphatically deliver it as a statement of fact.
* Provide proof. You’ve shown prospects how and what you’re going to deliver, but today’s decision-makers demand proof. In your closing substantiate what you can accomplish by providing one or more of the following types of evidence:
* Case studies:
* Industry statistics.
* Customer quote.
* Make a call to action. You’ve delivered a compelling case, your audience is smiling and nodding as you approach the home stretch. Don’t let this feel good moment pass! Tell them what you want them to do. There are many types of next steps besides a signed contract, including: Deposit or partial payment
* Verbal commitment
* Presentation to additional decision-makers
* Deep dive presentation
* Product demonstration or trial
* Visit to corporate office or facility
* Recommendation to final decision-maker or board
* Conversation with current customer
Avoid leaving the outcome of your presentation up to fate. Closing arguments in a trial are typically even more passionate than opening arguments for a reason: they are designed to persuade. That’s a testament to how much rides on the power and quality of your closing.