Farmer Marketing

Simple, inventive ways to increase the value of farm fresh products through direct marketing, internet marketing, and creativity.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Making the Sale, Closing the Deal

Now that the farmer's market season is starting in earnest, I thought it would be useful to write a post on how to actually close the sale with a customer. This is the difference between a good saleperson and a great salesperson.

Is the customer ready to buy?

This is a tough question for many salespeople. However, there are some definate signs that the buyer is interested in making a purchase. 1) The customer feels/handles the product and closely scrutinizes it. This is a good sign they are interested. 2) The customer asks questions about the product such as how it is grown, how you make it, etc. 3) They have picked out the product and ask how much they owe you. Easy I know, but it does happen.

Now, If you honestly believe that the answer to this question is yes you should try to close the sale. Even in situations where you are in doubt I would recommend trying to close the sale because you don't get many sales that you don't ask for. Of course I am assuming that you have explained the benefits of the product and/or you see positive signs they are seriously considering making a purchase.

Closing like a pro

While many people believe that closing the sale is the hardest part of the sale, I believe it should be the easiest part of the sale. Allow me to explain. The customer has stopped at your location. That is a good sign. You have talked with the customer and explained the benefits that your product will give them and the superior value of your product. Hopefully you have noticed positive signs that they are interested, but close even if you haven't. So, closing should be easy because it is a natural conclusion to the selling process you have already started. But how to close?

There are a million different ways to close and you should develop a way that you are comfortable with and that your customers respond to. These are three generic ways that I have found very successful in almost any situation.

1.) The Alternative Close - Would you like 5 lbs. of potatoes for $2.00 or 20 lbs. of potatoes for $5.00? This close presents the customer with a choice between buying 5 lbs. or buying 20 lbs. Note that the choice is not between buying and not buying.

2.) The Assumptive Close - Can I put those cucumbers in a bag for you? This close takes confidence, but your confidence should rub off on them and reinforce their desire to buy. Use caution as this may come across as pushy to some customers, but most customers will be okay with it.

3.) Summary of Benefits Close - Those tomatoes are locally grown with no pesticides, vine-ripened for excellent flavor, and hand-picked. How many would you like? This approach reminds the customer of the benefits and then simply asks for the sale.

Of course there are many more ways to close the sale, but if you have been struggling I suggest trying one of these three. The most important thing I can say is to ALWAYS ask for the sale.