In the following brief interview, Mark Zokle explains why one single question can set the tone for a closed deal or the buyer walking away.
Q: When should I ask if my customer is ready to seal the deal?
Mark Zokle: Before you even consider closing, you must first establish a relationship with your customer. You must put yourself into a position to be their go-to solutions provider. If you aren’t, someone else will be.
Q: Is there a singular question I should ask that can change the tone of negotiations completely?
Mark Zokle: In my experience, I have found that asking my customer, “Do I have your endorsement to move forward?” is a much more effective conversation starter than, “Are you ready to sign the contract?” Asking your client’s permission to continue the process allows them the opportunity to finalize details within their organization while letting you know they expect the green light from all involved.
Q: How should I respond if my customer says they are not yet ready to finalize the contract?
Mark Zokle: If the client isn’t ready to commit, you’ll need to dig deeper to understand what you need to do to make it happen. Ask questions like, “What are your concerns?” and, “What can I do to make you feel more comfortable?”
Q: Once I have verbal approval, should I press for a definite date to complete the deal?
Mark Zokle: When you ask your client for their endorsement to move forward, what you are really saying is, “Can we move this process to the next level?” Sometimes, that means having to get approval from someone else. Avoid backing your client into a deadline-driven answer, otherwise they may put you off or quit returning your calls altogether.