My very first sales manager told me that seven out of 10 salespeople never ask the customer for the order. I thought he was nuts and using that funny stuff rappers like to smoke. I mean, how in the world could a salesperson not ask for the order? I couldn’t fathom the thought.

When I started to work with and train salespeople myself, I learned my sales manager was not delusional; in fact, he was right on point. Most salespeople do not ask the customer for the order. Oh, they think they do, conning themselves into believing questions such as “What do you think?” are the same as asking for the order. They hide behind the ever-lifeless closing statement, “So, do you have any questions?” as a way of protecting their egos and to avoid hearing the deal-shattering word, “No.”

Are you a strong closer? A glance at your sales numbers won’t tell the whole story. You can be strong in other areas and weak as a closer and still make big sales. However — and here is the big point — you’ll never be all you can be without being a strong closer.

How can you tell if you are a strong closer? Start with a little self-assessment. How do you rate your ability to close sales? Be honest and realistic in your assessment; the only one you hurt and/or benefit is you.

Do you actually ask for the order? Think long and hard. Do you ask the customer something to the effect of, “Will you buy this from me today?”

Do you delay asking for the business because you are afraid to hear “no”? Do you live in fantasyland and think just because you haven’t been told “no” yet that you still have a chance to make a sale? Do you deal in meaningful specifics or wandering generalities? Do you “touch base to see how things are going” or do you find out which PO number will be issued to your order?

Do you get a lot of objections? That indicates a poor job in some other part of the sales process such as prospecting, qualification, fact-finding, solution assessment, etc.

How do you know if you can do better? Ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. Am I earning what I ought to be earning? If you see yourself making more money, then you have room for improvement.
  2. Am I really doing my best? Again, be candid with yourself. My old friend Jim Williams used to say that stars did what was required to get the job done right. Are you doing what you think is necessary to succeed?

How do you get better at closing sales? Make it a point to specifically ask for the order on each sales call. Like anything else in life, the more you do it, the better you will be at it. Keep things in perspective. Don’t allow your ego or self-worth to be negatively impacted by someone telling you no. Not everyone will buy from you. That’s a reality and you’ll be happier and more productive the minute you deal with it and move on to something else.

Study and practice: Use free online tools and YouTube videos to learn buying signals and closing statements. Role play with others and use self-talk to rehearse scenarios you are likely to encounter with a customer.

Here are some of my favorite closing statements:

  • Would you like to move forward?
  • We can start the process today with a credit card if you’d like.
  • We can be protecting you by the close of business tomorrow if you’d like.
  • Let’s get this off your plate and start the paperwork. What do you think?
  • Let’s start the process so you can get onto your other priorities. Sound good?
  • Would you like installation on the 15th or the 1st of the month?
  • If you’ll simply authorize this, we will get started.
  • Would you like to move forward with this today with me?
  • Do you want to do this?
  • Have we earned your business now?
  • Have we earned the right to call you our client?
  • I can have this protecting you/working for you by next Friday. What would you like me to do?
  • Sounds to me like you’ve decided this is what you want. Am I right?
  • Is there anything else you need to know to move forward?

Being a strong closer means you are being a true professional alarm salesperson. Ask for the order, work to obtain decisions and watch your income soar to new heights.