I rather dislike the term “close a sale” but this title brought you here, so it worked. A better way to describe this process would be getting a client to buy. Clients like to buy, they don’t like to be sold. So, begin by thinking from the client’s point of view and you are already ahead.
Be likable and be like the client
What I mean by this is, there are many different personalities with which you will deal. If your style is fast and abrupt, you will intimidate the soft-spoken, slow-paced client. Study the client’s body language, personal style, tone, facial expressions and use your intuition to adjust your personal style to match that which may be comfortable with the client. Here are a few client profiles to be aware of:
- Emotional: this person is driven by emotions and will act once he trusts you. May need to be hand-held and spoken to clearly, softly, slowly. You may need to tell this client that it is ok to ask questions and that no question is silly. Building rapport is key.
- Directive: this person likes to be in charge and get right to business. No need to fluff or small talk about the weather. Get right to the point. He may act more out of instinct than emotion or logic. You have a small window to demonstrate your worthiness and expertise. Speak directly, clearly, and confidently
- Analytical: this person is driven by facts and figures. He may be slow to act and needs to make sure that his decision is logical. Provide as many points of data, historical performance, cost comparisons, pros/ cons, benefits/ features as you have. Use charts, diagrams, and other aids to help support your proposal.
- Etc. There are many personality profile sites and resources out there. I think you get the picture. The same formula will not work for everyone.
Understand the client
What is he looking for?
How does he make his decisions?
What does he value? price? aesthetics? quality? quantity? service?
What other companies has he explored/ worked with? What did like/ dislike about each of those?
How much does he want to spend?
Are there other people that will influence the decision-making process?
When does he want to purchase this service?
Demonstrate you understand what the client is looking for
“It sounds like you are looking for class and elegance over quantity and frugality. That’s good, because I value the same things and my work is a direct attestation of that”
Educate the client
Teach him about whatever he might to know about your services, how you differ from others, why certain media/ methods cost more… anything that he will need to know in order to make an informed and affirmative decision. Keep checking back with the client to make sure they understand, have not lost interest. Keep the conversation interactive and interesting. “You said that you like football right? Well, think of how a slight misstep in a play can change the whole outcome of a game. It’s like that with ___.
Make a recommendation that meets his needs
“Based on the fact that you are looking for this, my recommendation is that you go with this.”
Keep your recommendation short and sweet. If you’ve done everything right up to this point, the client should be all but signed up.
Sometimes it’s okay to tell him that he’s best off going with another company. Better to keep your client base pure to your business model than to have dissatisfied or difficult clients. The client will respect you for that.