Sales Tip: When You Ask a Closing Question, Your Prospect Naturally Feels Pressure

By John Aberle | Sales Training

Dec 20

For roughly 30 years in sales and marketing, I did my best to avoid manipulation and pressure closes. You have a right to make your own decisions. Nevertheless, a track record of sales achievements proves that relationship sales and marketing work.

Picture of The Thinker sculpted by Auguste Rodin with questions he’s thinking about from a closing question

Time for another View about Pressure

Interestingly, though, as a result of a conversation with my mentor, Gina Gaudio-Graves, the other day about Strategy Sessions, I realized that I needed a fuller view point on this issue. Gina is one of the strongest proponents of relationship sales and marketing in Internet marketing today. Yet she said that she doesn’t want salespeople to relax or they may never close. They need a sense of pressure. Think about it.

As a small business owner or salesperson, you do need tension in a strategy session or a sales call. However, the tension needs to be focused on your prospect’s situation as opposed to your ‘need’ to get this sale.

If You Place the Pressure, It May Become a Trust Issue

Prospects don’t trust salespeople when they can sense that you see them only as a wallet and your primary objective is to get their money. Serve them first. If you do a good job of this, the money will follow. After all, they are talking with you, a salesperson, because they want something to change in their lives.

Focus on Serving Them and Helping with Their Concerns

Your job during sales calls is to find out what your prospects’ challenges are and what they want to change or obtain. As a salesperson, once you know that, you need to help them feel or ‘see’ (visualize) what they want different. When you know and understand what they care about, help them become aware of the gap between where they want to be and where they are now. Ideally, show them what it is costing them to delay. After you reach that point, you can ask your closing question.

It’s helpful to chant or sing to yourself so that you can stay detached and allow them the freedom to decide. The idea is to keep yourself neutral. This way the tension at the close is all within your prospects. They don’t feel pressure from you.

After You Ask One a Closing Question, Keep Quiet

It is hard to sit quietly and wait for them to decide. But waiting quietly is respectful and a way of serving your prospects. The benefit to them is that it gives them the time and freedom to think about how important fixing that gap is. The benefit to you is that silence creates the tension for them to make up their minds.

If you get impatient and rush them by adding one more thing to think about or asking a question, you break their thought processes and their internal tension to decide. Not only is it rude to interrupt them, it also takes them off the hook. You just made the decision for them. They won’t be buying today because they will now have to “think about it.”

This sales tip is to remember that just by asking a closing question, your prospect naturally feels pressure. They create their own internal pressure to make the decision based on what they told you they wanted. You merely reminded them of the gap between what they want and where they want to be as well as the cost of not acting now. They will feel more pressure from their own desires than from anything you ‘sold’ them. You are there to help customers buy.

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About the Author

My first Kindle eBook, How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses, went live on April 24, 2012. Until June 11t, 2012, it is available at its introductory rate of $.99. I've lived a lifetime of service and spiritual search so it's natural for me to incorporate these attitudes into my work. I believe that selling and marketing are spiritual service when done with a heart-centered, relationship selling approach. All of business success comes down to building strong relationships.