closing through objections

After selling pest control for five years and doing sales my entire life, I have found one common difference between rookies and top performers – closing.

The ABCs of selling are "Always Be Closing!" and that holds true for summer sales as well whether you’re in person, calling new customers or upselling existing ones. 

Change of Perspective

One of the most eye-opening perspective changes for me as a sales rep was when I finally realized that for every person that said "yes" five people said “no.” As a rookie, I would build up a closing statement for the entire pitch, and then wait for a final and authoritative “yes” or “no” at the end. Now, I close early and often, and turn objections into opportunities to learn more about my customer. Sales reps who wait until the end of a long pitch to close will often find their prospects barely listening with glazed over eyes and little engagement. They will also realize that they have no idea what the customer cares about or what their hot buttons will be. Prospects are hard-wired to say no out of the gate and initial skepticism, or lack of interest, is the baseline for even the best prospects.

Types of Closes

Many rookie sales reps think of a close as a built-up question that deserves a final answer. A close can be any statement or proposition that gets a customer to move toward a buying position.

Soft closes can be as simple as asking questions such as:

  • Where do you see the most pests in the home?

  • What pests bother you the most?

  • Do you hate spiders or ants more?

Medium closes are also often in the form of questions like:

  • Is tomorrow morning or afternoon better for you?

  • Do you want the quarterly or bi-monthly plan?

Hard closes are more like statements that assume the sale. For example:

  • Let me get your name and address and we'll get you going tomorrow.

I usually accompany this hard close with handing the customer the iPad to start filling out their information. You will find that your closing pitch will be filled with a combination of all of the above.

Ask for Follow-up Information

Every objection you receive from a prospect deserves a follow-up question to find out more information. Your goal in closing is not always to get a "yes" or "no.” It’s often to get a "why" or a "why not?". This allows you to quickly identify what is important to your prospects so that you can tailor your pitch to the actual items that will make them interested. Here are a few examples of follow-up questions to common concerns:

  • I already have another pest control company. 

    • What do you like about your current company?

    • What do you wish they did differently?

    • What would it take to get you to switch?

    • What's important to you as a customer?

  • I do my own pest control. 

    • Why do you do your own pest control?

    • How much time do you spend treating your home?

    • Have you ever run into a pest problem that you had trouble treating?

  • I'm not interested. 

    • Is that because you already have another company or because you are worried about a big upfront cost?

By converting rejections into talking points, you learn a lot about why a prospect will or won't buy and you can easily use this information to show value in your service. It also changes the tone of the conversation to a personalized consultation instead of a one-sided pitch. Never be afraid to ask a customer for more information. Remember that you can get away with a lot more when you smile and help the customer feel respected and cared about.

The Sales Cycle

Typical sales for me always followed the same pattern:

  1. Give a little pitch/information.

  2. Close.

  3. Listen respectfully for an objection and smile.

  4. Ask a follow-up question.

  5. Provide a little more information and then close again.

After selling for a long enough period, you start to see patterns in customers and can move quickly to their hot buttons. Typically, this cycle happens 4-5 times before a sale happens and you need to become comfortable rolling through this as quickly as you can!

Final Thoughts

Great sales reps close often and early. During the closing cycle they learn more about customers and identify hot buttons and concerns. Sales reps who can confidently work through objections show the prospect that they are confident professionals worthy of respect and, ultimately, their business.