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  • Writer's pictureLance Tyson

The Secret to Closing Sales Is in Knowing What Your Prospect Wants

Updated: May 30, 2023

closing sales involves knowing what your prospect wants

As I addressed in the previous post, much of your success as a salesperson will hinge on an effective sales starter. Contrary to the popular belief, there is no skill in closing sales - it's all about creating a great opening.  Your opening should quickly establish rapport with the prospect by engaging in brief pleasantries. But, you should also gauge how to make the best use of their time. Help them see that you value your time together.  You'll find substantial part of creating that value is understanding what your prospect really wants and why they want it.

Get to The Heart of Your Prospect’s Why

Once you’ve established how much time you have together, and you’ve made an impact statement that has captured their attention, it’s time to remember why you’re there and what you are really trying to sell. Remember, your prospects will want to cut to the chase. So, get to the why and how. A point I make in my sessions uses this example. When people buy a drill bit, they don’t really want the bit. They really want the hole the drill bit makes. So, help them understand why they want the hole and selling the bit becomes easy. The secret to closing sales is understanding what do they want and why do they want it. You can find more ideas in my book, Selling is an Away Game, available at Amazon.

Many salespeople fail to realize they are not truly selling their product or service. They are selling the product of their product, or the service of their service.  For instance, when somebody wants to refinance their house, they actually don't want to refinance their house. They want to be able to pay their bills, build a porch on the back of the house, take a vacation, or pay for their kid’s tuition.

The point is, you must see things from your prospect’s perspective. You must also understand how having your product or service will impact their world. If you can understand what they want and why do they want it, you will walk away with the sale.

A Lesson on Closing Sales from Benjamin Franklin

In April of 1755, Ben Franklin was commissioned by General Braddock to secure 150 wagons, with four horses on each wagon. The General wanted them for what proved to be an ill-fated expedition against Fort Duquesne.

Franklin went to Lancaster and on April 26, 1755, published an advertisement. The purpose of the ad was to get farmers interested in supplying the required wagons.

What did the ad contain?

One single paragraph about what Braddock wanted, and six numbered paragraphs about what the farmers would get.

Being the excellent salesperson that he was, Franklin told the farmers how they would benefit from the transaction.

Franklin comments in his autobiography on the great and sudden effect it produced. He goes further and says, "In three weeks, 150 wagons with 259 carrying horses were on their march for the camp."

Now, suppose instead of focusing on what the farmers were getting and arousing the interest of the farmers, Franklin focused on what Braddock wanted. Unfortunately, this is the action most salespeople take all the time. Incidentally, Braddock had tried to do this before in Maryland, taking a "we want wagons or else" approach. The net result, Franklin wrote, was only twenty-five wagons, some not in serviceable condition, showed up.

Connecting is what we do, whether it is through social media, direct face-to-face interaction, phone interaction, or any other means. When you finally make that connection, it’s up to you to look through the lens of your prospect and see the situation from their perspective. If you do, you’ll have a higher degree of success and an easier time closing sales.

You’ll find more sales strategies for executing your sales process in Lance Tyson's book, Selling Is An Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World. Get your copy today!

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