Quick Summary: You’ll learn several crucial tricks in Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale (1985, reissued 2004) that will help you get there. Did you know that one of the primary reasons salespeople fail to close is that they never ask their prospects if they want to buy? Ziglar can help you avoid this, as well as several other common blunders.
Not only salespeople, but also doctors, housewives, preachers, parents, teachers, and everyone else must “sell” their ideas and abilities in order to be successful. This book, written by a top sales expert, focuses on the most important aspect of the sale: getting them to say “Yes, I will!”
You do not have to read the entire book if you don’t have time. This book summary provides an overview of everything you can learn from it.
Let’s get started without further ado.
Secrets of Closing the Sale Summary
The Psychology of Closing
You must put in the effort to become a competent salesperson or to significantly increase your closing percentage while building clients rather than just generating sales. You’ll need to put in a lot of work if you want to maximize your sales potential. In fact, if you know how to do something and then do it, you will always have a job. If you understand why something is done, you will be the boss or, in this case, the sales leader. You must believe that when you make a sale, both you and your customer win. You must operate with the understanding that a sale is something you do for people, not to people.
Your best prospect will almost always refuse to meet with you because he does not want to “waste your or his time.” He’s usually the best prospect because he understands that the goods, products, or services you’re selling are either something he wants or something he needs. However, he does not believe he is in a position to act at this time, and thus he is unwilling to be persuaded by watching the demonstration or hearing your proposal. There is a significant difference between a prospect saying “I’m not interested” and “I’m very interested but don’t think I’ll be able to obtain it right now, so I don’t want to attend a presentation right now.”
Gather as much information about your prospect as you can and use it to your advantage. It’s a good idea to divide the cost into small chunks. Ask questions to discover the problem and assist the prospect in making a decision. Determine what he requires to solve his problem and demonstrate how your product can assist him.
Customers will refuse to buy from you for five primary reasons. The five are lack of need, lack of money, lack of urgency, lack of desire, and lack of trust. Furthermore, our habits and ways of thinking as individuals are very similar. We can use these analogies to persuade others to act in their best interests.
You must first persuade a prospect that he was mistaken when he said no before you can persuade him to change his mind. Most people, however, never admit they are wrong. As a result, you must reframe the transaction so that it does not appear as if you are forcing the buyer to admit error. Although the prospect’s opinion will not change, he will be happy to make a new decision based on new information. Because prospects will make new decisions based on new information, the sales process requires you to try for a close before providing all of the details, so you can add them incrementally if the first few responses are “no.”
If you want to succeed in sales, you must do something that most salespeople never do. Work on improving your voice inflection and coaching yourself on how to use your voice more effectively. The most important single untapped talent you need to focus on in your pursuit of professional sales success is voice inflection. By emphasizing different words in a sentence, you can give it a completely new meaning. Voice inflection can help you keep your prospect’s attention. That is critical because if he does not listen, he will not receive the message or information he requires to say yes.
When interacting with prospects, keep in mind that most people dislike making decisions. That’s why you’re a salesperson. You’re there to provide them with information so they can make an informed decision.
The Heart of Your Sales Career
The honesty and integrity of the salesperson are critical components of the sales process. After all, selling is fundamentally an emotional exchange. If the salesman can make the prospect feel the same way he does about the goods, the transaction is more likely to close. You must first experience a feeling before you can communicate it. It’s easy to tell when you’re trying to persuade someone to do something you’re not interested in.
Here’s a fun word play to help you recall the core of your sales career. You can’t spell “business” without the letters U and I, which stand for the salesperson and the customer. The letter U comes before the letter I, and the letter I is silent, indicating that the salesperson’s ego should not be displayed. The U is also pronounced like the letter I, implying that the customer will mirror the seller’s emotions.
Sympathy is defined as feeling the same emotions as another person. Empathy entails understanding how the other person feels, even if you do not share those feelings. Empathy, the big E, is everything in sales. Empathy is essential for a salesperson because it means you understand the situation and know exactly how the prospect feels, but because you don’t, you can step back and provide some solutions.
The formation of the proper mental attitude is near the top of the must-do list as you carefully consider the growth of a sales career. There are four stages of attitude to consider if you want to close the sale rather than just get close to it. The first and most important consideration is your overall attitude. Second, your perception of yourself, also known as your self-image. Third, consider your attitude toward the prospects with whom you will be interacting, and fourth, consider your attitude toward the selling profession.
What you put into your mind influences or controls your mental attitude and everything else about you. Consider this: How do you see your relationship with your prospect? Do you think of yourself as a friend, someone who can help and advise others, or someone who benefits from them?
It is critical to feed your mind with positive thoughts in order to maintain a positive attitude. If you want to advance in your sales career, or any other career, you must first develop a positive self-image. This will help you deal with rejection more effectively. The salesperson frequently expects the prospect to interrupt and say, “OK, I’ll take it.” The salesman will not have to put his ego on the line by making a direct closing attempt. However, this rarely occurs, resulting in the loss of the sale.
Taking a good public-speaking course is one of many things you can do to improve your self-esteem. Another surefire way to boost your self-esteem is to work hard and become an expert, a true pro, in your chosen field. You can also investigate the personal traits and characteristics of high-performing men and women in sales, business, politics, and religion. You’ll notice that almost without exception, they all adhere to the same philosophy: be kind. Maintain a positive attitude toward people.
Selling is both the highest-paying hard labor and the lowest-paying easy labor in the world. Individuals who “get into selling” and then let selling “get into them” can have an exciting, lucrative, and demanding career in the sales industry. Many salespeople are enthusiastic about the products they sell. Many of these salesmen, however, are hesitant to admit that they work as salespeople. This is due to their negative attitude toward the sales profession. America became an ocean-to-ocean nation and an international power as a result of salespeople. Be pleased and proud to be a member of this profession.
The Sales Professional
Everything we encounter in the world of selling, or in life in general, will be negative. You must be prepared to respond rather than react to unpleasant situations. After all, the salesman is the most important component of the sales process. If a salesperson uses all logic in a sales presentation, he will almost always end up with the best-educated prospect, who will buy from someone else. If he uses emotion in a sales presentation, he has a good chance of closing the deal, but he also has a good chance of losing the prospect.
The salesperson understands that logic causes people to think, whereas emotion causes people to act. He understands that by combining emotion and logic in his presentation, he will almost certainly end up with a sale now and a satisfied customer later. Extroverts are more likely to make a good first impression. An introvert, on the other hand, is more likely to conduct thorough research, deliver precise presentations, and be knowledgeable about his company’s commodities, products, and services. The ideal professional salesperson is an extrovert who takes his job so seriously that he tries to develop some introvert traits in order to better serve his customers, or vice versa.
High-performing salespeople promote the interests of their company and clients with respect, honesty, and expertise. They add value to the sales activity by being more enthusiastic, having more sensitive interpersonal skills, and being more professional. A salesperson who does not believe in his product will be unable to speak from the heart. This means he must learn everything he can about his product or service. It is also necessary to have the feeling that it is exactly what the customer requires.
Finally, cultivate relationships with your customers. If someone makes a large purchase from you, you should add them to your super customer list and continue to pursue them as long as you sell similar products.
Imagination and Word Pictures
One effective way to close a sale is to break down the price of your product to how much it would cost per use, to a figure so small that the prospect can visualize himself owning the product because he now sees it as affordable. Every product has a price ceiling, also known as a maximum price. This is the most you can afford to pay. This is not true of benefits. If the product saves you money, the longer it is in use and working properly, the greater your savings will be. If you’re selling a money-saving product, say something like, “If you buy the product, the savings will pay for it.” If you don’t buy it right away, your daily losses will quickly outweigh the cost.”
Many times, your prospect has put himself in a bind by promising his wife, brother, friends, or another salesperson that he will not buy… And even after you’ve persuaded him, he’s hesitant to buy because he doesn’t want to be proven wrong. You should always be prepared to take them out of that corner in that situation. Explain to your prospect that people generally respect those who admit a mistake and put their best interests ahead of stubbornness.
Being completely honest is the most effective selling technique. Nobody can sell to everyone they meet. With a little creativity, most of us can significantly increase our closing percentages. Adapt to your prospects and come up with new ways to persuade them to buy.
Remember that a little humor can often nudge people over the line, or rather “on” the line, when it comes to selling. Overloading your prospects or browbeating a non-prospect into purchasing something he doesn’t want, need, or can’t afford will not help your reputation or advance your career. After you understand that fundamental concept, it will be easier to forgive yourself for missing a sale you believe you should have made. This frees up your mind so you can give it your all in the next sales interview.
The Nuts and Bolts of Selling
Inexperienced and/or insecure salespeople are terrified of the word “objection.” The word should, however, elicit excitement because the first thing a salesperson should look for is a declaration of interest, which is what an objection is. In most cases involving large purchases, if you do not address the prospect’s objections throughout your presentation, you do not have a prospect. Prospects who raise an objection indicate that they are interested.
Because there are as many types of objections as there are types of prospects, there are numerous techniques and variations in how you handle each one. If a prospect does not buy, a highly motivated, skilled, and professional salesperson can dispel all doubts and make the prospect appear and feel completely ridiculous. This technique can be used by a salesperson to scare or “high pressure” some prospects into buying. High-pressure sales, on the other hand, are one of the most damaging things that can happen to a salesperson’s career. The sale will almost certainly be canceled, and the technique will fail to generate customers, both of which are required for a successful sales career.
When you’ve addressed a number of objections and the prospect continues to raise new ones, assume he’s stalling and attempting to save face by refusing to accept that he can’t make the decision. And, when dealing with suspicious or hostile prospects, avoid disputing or opposing what they’re saying, even if you know they’re wrong.
Allow prospects to finish what they need to say first, so they can get it off their chest and blow off steam. Once it’s out of their system and they see that you’re interested and concerned about them, your chances of convincing them to buy increase dramatically. Remember that the best way to interact with an uncertain prospect is to gain his trust. Show empathy by moving to his side of the table, letting him know you’re on his side, and assuring him that he’s making the right choice.
Some prospects are impatient and want the facts right away. Be concise. Keep it brief. Maintain a professional demeanor. Complete the transaction as soon as possible, and persuade them that you’ll handle the details and personally ensure that they get exactly what they want. Because he is impulsive and uncertain, the lively, good-natured prospect may be the most frustrating of all. He is much more likely to buy from someone he enjoys spending time with. Make friends with him, laugh with him, and be at ease in his presence.
Asking questions is one of the most important things to do when dealing with objections. You can use questions to persuade someone to act. When you ask questions, you may discover the prospect’s primary buying motivation, which is critical if you want to sell effectively. When a customer expresses strong dissatisfaction with your company, it is all too easy to agree with the customer and take sides against your company. It is critical that you exercise extreme caution when dealing with such complaints. Take care not to “overresponse” to a single objection. To begin with, it may imply to the prospect that you are defensive and uncertain about your product. Worse, you may overwhelm the objection to the point where the prospect feels stupid for raising it.
Because each company has its own set of strengths, identify yours and deal with them accordingly. The most important thing to remember when dealing with issues like this is to avoid becoming defensive, criticizing your prospect in any way, or raising your voice. When it comes to overcoming concerns, it’s often critical to emphasize the intangible as the reason for purchase, such as the product’s comfort, relaxation, and joy.
To persuade people to act or acquire something, you ask questions that lead to a conclusion that requires them to act because it is an idea that they came up with. The prospect is putting himself under pressure. Thus, if you make a statement that your prospect cannot reject, then ask a series of questions based on that agreement, and finally ask a concluding question based on those agreements, you will force the desired response.
The Keys in Closing
There is a distinction to be made between refusal and rejection. The salesperson must understand this distinction if he is to maintain his ego while selling his product effectively. When a prospect responds no, assume it was an error and proceed from there, giving him the opportunity to correct the error by responding yes.
You don’t have to be a “natural born” salesperson to be a competent seller. You can certainly learn to sell. Remember to react emotionally to logical objections and rationally to emotional objections. Furthermore, it is critical to consider who benefits from a sales transaction. When you fully understand and believe the prospect is the big winner, you can close more joyfully and forcefully.
Here are some pointers for specific situations. During a sales presentation, you should avoid approaching the prospect’s wife. If you intentionally or unintentionally touch the wife, the prospect may believe you’re trying to sell something other than the product. If you’re in an office or a restaurant with two or more prospects, avoid sitting between them because you’ll look, act, and feel like a tennis referee, or you’ll pay more attention to one prospect than the other.
Paying attention to what the prospect is saying with your eyes and ears is what physical action entails. This is accomplished through observation of him. Remember that a candidate can deceive with his tongue but not with his body. The vast majority of salespeople pay no attention to what the prospect says or asks. The salesperson frequently interrupts the prospect in an attempt to predict what he will ask. If you pay close attention to what the prospect says, he may reveal the key to closing the deal. Be persistent without being obnoxious. If you truly believe the product you’re selling will benefit the person with whom you’re working, you’ll be reasonable in insisting that he act in his best interests. You will do it professionally and courteously, but you will persevere.
Technology in Sales
For many years, salespeople have used technology to increase sales and follow up with clients and prospects. Technology will continue to advance at a faster rate than books on how to make the most of it can be written. As a salesperson, you are responsible for determining which technologies best meet your needs and embracing the technology your company provides in order to increase sales and decrease closing time. However, keep in mind that technology can only assist you in improving your sales skills and efforts. It cannot close the deal for you.
By combining traditional sales tactics with modern technology, you will increase sales and become more efficient in your day-to-day selling. However, keep in mind that technology should be viewed as a tool for your business rather than a crutch or a place to hide. The salesperson is still in charge of closing the deal, making connections, and overseeing all preparation and follow-up efforts.
Secrets of Closing the Sale Review
Zig Ziglar’s writing style is approachable and reader-friendly in the sense that he appears to want to befriend the reader. This fits with the image he paints of himself as a friendly salesman in the book. He illustrates the majority of his points with real-life examples and situations from his own life, and he frequently makes humorous remarks.
Given that the book was written in the 1980s, some of Ziglar’s writing habits would probably not be considered acceptable by today’s standards: he appears to assume all of his readers are male and addresses them as such, and he includes examples that could be considered sexist, such as convincing men to buy cookware for their wives or treating female customers condescendingly.
About The Author
Zig Ziglar, real name Hilary Hinton, was a motivational speaker, author, and salesman from the United States. In 1947, he dropped out of the University of South Carolina to pursue a career in sales, where he was enormously successful. It inspired him to write several best-selling books about the sales profession, and he was regarded as one of America’s top salesmen. He passed away in 2012.
If you like the book Secrets of Closing the Sale, you may also like reading the following book summaries:
Buy The Book: Secrets of Closing the Sale
If you want to buy the book Secrets of Closing the Sale, you can get it from the following links:
Best Books That Can Help You Achieve Financial Freedom
Financial freedom is the ability to have enough wealth to live the life you want and be who you really want to be, without restrictions. This freedom is not just about accumulating money. It is a process that requires us to transform ourselves into more effective people than we have been in the past. It is a process through which we grow, improve, and gain mental, emotional, and spiritual strength. This freedom is the state in which we experience an abundance of finances and freedom in our lives.
There are books that show us how to achieve this state. Check out the 30 best books that can bring you closer to your financial freedom.