You have a strong lead, interest is being shown in your product or service and you are talking up the irresistible benefits of your offering.

So how do you move on to the next stage and close the deal without coming across as the much maligned ‘seedy sales person’?

At this point I should probably clarify that I know not all sales people are seedy… but some really are. And it makes me want to run a mile!

I was once contacted by someone I met networking who wanted to come and talk to me about their particular business group. I was interested to learn more, so agreed to a meeting at my home office.

The warning bells started ringing when the clipboard and script came out, even before the customary pleasantries were over. The delivery was very precise and practised, with no room for discussion.

Then the pen came out and I was asked to sign up on the spot. It was taken as a given that I would want what the script said I should want, and there was no attempt to find out what my own view might be.

I wasn’t at all sure this was for me, and I certainly wasn’t going to be pressured into signing, so I said I would like to think about it.

Reluctantly, and making no attempt to disguise his frustration, the person I thought I would be networking with, but who had turned into a high pressure salesman, eventually left the awkward atmosphere he had created in my home.

I was left feeling disappointed, and also a little angry.

I then received three follow up phone calls in a very short space of time. The first couple of times I repeated that I needed time to think about the considerable commitment.

On the third occasion I said ‘thank you, but this is just not for me’. I simply wasn’t interested due to the style, more than the substance.

So what did I learn? I already knew I don’t like the ‘hard sell’ technique.

I also know that I have been ‘sold’ to on occasion without even realising it at the time, which I guess is perfect selling.

Closing the deal is notoriously difficult and when searching this term, I found one blog post that listed no less than 70 ‘closing techniques’, convincing me that this is not an easy thing to do.

I am also aware that I probably veer to far in the opposite direction when I meet potential clients. I don’t want to be pushy, so I may miss an opportunity to close the deal. It’s not an easy balance.

I try to be genuine and use my own ‘un-sell’ sales technique. Yes, of course I want to close the deal, but I want the client to be sure it is their decision, based on the benefits and conviction that I can solve the problems they face.

‘How quickly do you want to see these changes?’ is a question that I find clients respond well to. It focuses their mind, because if they are serious in recognising what needs to be done, they will want to make those changes as soon as possible.

I really only need and want clients who are ready to make those changes in their business now. My role involves me working closely with my clients, and it is vital they are committed to their decision for us to work together.

How do you close the deal? What’s your secret sales weapon?