1. "Land them" on one system prior to closing.
Make the final decision as simple as possible, which means don't make the prospects' final decision a compilation of a bunch of smaller decisions they haven't really made yet.

"I need to think it over" is usually the result of:

  • Too many options
  • Too much information
  • Too many decisions to make
  • Too much talking

Don't try to close the prospect until you'vediscussed their options and gotten their commitment that they really want what you're recommending. You do that by asking a lot of questions, truly listening to their responses, and using trial closes.

A good question to ask is, "If money were no object, is this the system you would want?"

2. Use trial closes.
A sale is a series of small commitments, made one at a time. Prior to going in for your initial close, ask the following questions in this order:

• "Is there any doubt in your mind as to the necessity of your taking action at this time?"
When they tell you no, ask them "Why? Why do you think that's a good idea?"

• "Is there any doubt in your mind as to my ability and the ability of my company to do this job right for you, that there is no way that having me do this for you could be a mistake?"
When they tell you no, ask them, "Why? Why do you feel that way?"

• "Then if I understand you correctly, are you saying that, as long as you can justify my price in your mind and feel you can afford it, you're going to want me to take care if this for you?"
You get the right answers to those questions, and you'll find it much easier to get a decision.

If the prospects don't answer those questions the way you want them to, then you shouldn't be in the closing stage because they haven't yet realized they need to buy something, and they need to buy it from you.

Remember, they have to want to buy what you're selling.

3. Establish a "sense of urgency."
You should be able to rattle off a dozen or so reasons why the prospects should take action now.

Some common reasons to take action now are:

  • It's obsolete. Parts are hard to come by and, when we can get them, they're expensive
  • Repairing obsolete equipment is a waste of money
  • They could be stuck without heating or cooling overnight, or longer
  • They're overpaying on their utility bills
  • They're not comfortable
  • It's noisy
  • Health hazards, such as mold
  • Safety issues
  • Potential for property damage
  • Appearance.
  • Sooner or later, the prospects going to have to do it
  • It will never be more affordable to do than it is today.

4. Know why they should buy from you.
Be prepared to rattle off at least dozen reason why choosing you to resolve the prospects' heating and cooling problems is the right decision to make.

Some reasons why the prospects should buy from you are:

  • You're experienced
  • You specialize in this type of work
  • You guarantee their comfort
  • You guarantee their satisfaction
  • You guarantee a firm price, with no hidden charges
  • You and your installers are employees and not subcontractors
  • You and your co-workers can pass a drug test
  • You and your co-workers have clean backgrounds
  • You'll protect their property with shoe covers, mats, and drop cloths
  • You clean up when you're done
  • You remove the old equipment and dispose of it responsibly
  • You do a final quality inspection.

When I say "rattle them off," that's exactly what I mean. There are times during a sales call when you speak slowly, and there are times when you talk faster. When you can rattle off a dozen reasons to take immediate action and a dozen reasons why the prospects should buy from you, without hesitation, you're making the statement that there are an obvious and overwhelming number of reasons why they should buy right now and, more importantly, why they should buy from you. That's important.

5. Close early and close often.
Don't say everything you have to say before attempting your first close. Tell the prospects a few nice things about the installation and your company. If it looks like this information is well received, through "buying signals" like head nodding, verbal agreement and pupil dilation, start your trial closing procedure and go in for the close.

Save your bullets. The less you talk, the more you'll sell. We talk ourselves out of more sales than we talk ourselves into.

A lot of salespeople have a fear of rejection; consequently, they have a fear of closing. You lose your fear of closing by closing more often

Every time you give someone an opportunity to buy, they become more desensitized to the possibility of ownership.

The more you close, the more you'll sell. Regardless of your job title, if selling is part of your job description, you're a professional salesperson. Professional salespeople close; so close!

6. Make more than one closing attempt.
Not only is it "okay" for you to close more than once, it's appropriate. It's inappropriate not to!

The selling starts once the customer says "no." That's especially true if you've followed rule No. 5 above.

You can insult the prospects if you try an additional closing technique without providing new information. When you provide new information and receive additional "buying signals," it's perfectly acceptable to ask, "Based on this new information, is this something you'd like to go ahead with?"

7. Save your Proposal Close.
Don't hand the prospects a detailed proposal until you're about ready to end the call. Once they've got your proposal, you're no longer needed.

8. Remain calm.
Be acutely aware of your own body language. If you act nervous, your prospects will get nervous. When people get nervous, they talk faster and at a higher than normal pitch. Their shoulders tend to tense up as well.

If you suddenly realize you're tensing up, deliberately start to relax yourself and you'll watch as your prospects do the same thing right along with you.

9. Have a positive level of expectation.
Expect the prospects to listen. Expect them to cooperate. Expect them to believe you. Expect them to buy.

Practically everyone you quote is going to buy. They're either going to buy from you, or they're going to buy from someone else; usually within hours of seeing you.

They've got indoor comfort problems, you've got the solutions. You're a perfect match!

Assume the sale. If you've truly identified their needs, recommended the system they truly want to buy, and given them enough reasons to buy from you, there is no reason why they shouldn't. To do anything other than assume the sale is contradictory.

10. Act confident.
The "positive level of expectation" is internal. Acting confident is external.

You want the prospects to put their confidence in you, so act confident. It should be abundantly clear that you're confident that what you're recommending will solve their problems and satisfy them completely, and that they will buy.

Plus, you want them to have the confidence to make a decision, so set the example. Confidence is contagious.

Be prepared for objections. You do that by studying salesmanship. You can study salesmanship during your otherwise nonproductive time by listening to sales training on audio CDs while you're driving between calls. Then you're confident because you know you're capable of handling any situation or objection that comes along.

Charlie Greer is the creator of "Slacker's Guide to HVAC

Sales on Audio CD - The Lazy Man's Way to Succeed in Residential Replacements," and "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD." For information on Charlie's products and speaking schedule, call 800/963-HVAC (4822) or visit him on the web at www.hvacprofitboosters.com. E-mail Charlie at charlie@charliegreer.com.