How To Soft Close a Sale

Ask any individual his opinion of sales people and he is likely to cringe because virtually nobody likes the high pressure sales tactics, glib talk and phony promises associated with the hard sell. But if you want to succeed as a salesman, it's important to learn the techniques of how to soft close a sale.

Before you are ready to soft close a sale, it is essential that you have built a rapport with your customer, not as a sales person, but as a friend, expert and counselor.  It's important that you give your prospective customer the feeling that you are there to help him solve a problem or fulfill a need rather than to merely sell him something.

As you give the customer your presentation, always keep in mind that you are using the gentle art of persuasion rather than hardcore salesmanship to get him interested in the product or service you are selling. Be sure to listen twice as much as you speak. The best pitches that lead to a soft close for a sale focus on all the benefits that the product or service will provide the customer, such as convenience, cost savings or great value for the money.  Remember, the customer is most interested in "what's in it for me?" and exactly how the product or service will most benefit him. Then, when you are ready to begin your soft close, ask a simple question.

It's important however, that the question you ask offers them the choice between two attractive options and is not able to be answered with a simple yes or no.  "Is Tuesday or Thursday a better day for you to take delivery" or "The standard model is $500, and the deluxe model is $800, so which do you prefer?" are good examples of setting your prospect up for a successful soft close.  If you ask "would you like to place your order today?” which is a yes or no question, your sale could be stopped cold with a quick "no."

The next step in the soft sales procedure is to simply be quiet.  Don't continue talking or offer any more inducements to buy.  Simply stop your sales pitch after you've asked your question, and don't say another word, even if your prospect doesn't say anything. Let the silence work in your favor. Keep smiling as you look your prospect in the eye and wait for his response.

The next time it's your turn to say anything is to respond to any questions asked by the customer. In responding to any final customer objections, remember to keep your focus on the benefits offered by the product or service, not the price or any conditions of the sales deal itself.  Building up to a successful soft close for a sale takes skill and practice, but usually tends to result in a sale and a customer who feels satisfied you have his best interest at heart.


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