When in business, whether small or startup or well-established, you need to close. Closing is something that isn’t just done in a pitch. You’ll need to close many important conversations, such as when convincing a star employee or partner to join you and your company. To do so, you must learn some of the best practices required to make outstanding pitches and compelling points. Here are 5 of the most important ones:
Talk With Them, Not At Them
Monologues can be practiced, making delivery a lot easier. The problem is that it’s not a conversation. When you’re talking, whether it’s to a room or to a single customer, you must remember to involve them in the discussion. Don’t end with statements, end with questions. Ask them about their feelings and thoughts. Their answers will serve as feedback, which will tell you how to angle the rest of the conversation to best suit your needs.
Make It Quick
The longer the conversation becomes, the more likely it is that someone will lose interest in it. It’s not necessarily because the topic is boring, it’s because there’s always something tugging at their attention. So no matter who you’re talking to, it’s best to keep it short and fast. Introduce the needed concepts, such as the need for what you’re selling, and shift straight to a pitch.
It’s only natural to get excited about what you’re talking about and fill the conversation with as many details as possible, but you don’t need to tell them everything. If you do it right, they’ll ask for more information. Focus on what matters to them, and leave the rest for another day.
Let the Conversation Drift, It’s Okay
When the conversation threatens to get sidetracked, it might be tempting to wrestle things back on course. Unfortunately, that’s often the wrong move. The more you force it towards your agenda, the more disinterested someone often becomes. Letting things get sidetracked is not only safer for you, but it’s also a prime opportunity to get into someone’s head.
Most people don’t get sidetracked out of the blue. There’s something on their mind, and they may subconsciously want to vocalize it. Letting them do that gives you a peek into their thought process, which allows you to further tailor the rest of the discussion.
Present a Narrative
A vocal list of your product’s benefits is a great way to bore someone and ruin a perfectly good conversation. Instead of doing that, you can frame the product or pitch with a story. Tell them about someone who benefited from joining you, or how your product solved a lot of problems for a user. While you’re still fundamentally discussing the product, you’re doing so in a way that’s compelling, interesting, and most importantly, grounded. It’s not just a theory when it’s in a story.
Solve a Problem
The best way to close a conversation is to focus on solving a problem. You stop being a salesman at that point and become someone’s friend. Spend the first part of the conversation figuring out what their problems and concerns are, and the next part sorting out how you can help solve that problem. Cut out everything that isn’t relevant to the present company, and focus on features and benefits that will help the listener. The more irrelevant your discussion seems, the more likely you are to ruin the conversation.
Closing in every conversation is more than being prepared. It’s about making closing a part of who you are. It will take time and practice, but you and your company will be better off for it.