To close the sale, remember that customers only want reassurance.

The art of closing a sale is like a man preparing to ask a woman to marry him. He wants to, and she is ready, but he just can't seem to ask the question.

He talks about every subject except what he wants to say, until the woman steers the conversation where she wants it to go. The only difference when it comes to selling is the customer is not going to help you ask the question, so you leave frustrated without the order.

What is not easily understood is that people are often ready to buy, but want to make sure they have gone over all the details. All they really need from you is a reassurance that they are making the right decision. Make them happy and they will be grateful.

So often, I hear the reason why a sale wasn't closed was the price was too high. I recently spoke to a Michigan wholesaler who told me a story about one of his sales staffers who was about to lose a sale because of price. This time, instead of walking out, the salesperson asked the customer to sit down and compare the total price, including the value-added services offered by the wholesaler. The company got the order, but it took time and patience.

When customers feel insecure or frightened, they will say anything to make themselves comfortable before they give you the order. Objections are often nothing more than excuses not to give you the job.

In reality, buyers are looking to you to point them in the right direction. How is this done? By answering every objection or question until prospects have exhausted their reasons not to buy.

You must believe in yourself, your company and the products you are selling to be successful.

The ability to close a sale with ease and precision comes largely from having confidence.

Experience and confidence tell you when the right time is to close. Some veteran salespeople will tell you that there is one psychological moment and if you miss it, the order is lost. Others assert that there are various times during the interview process when the sale can be closed. I believe the later is closer to the truth. The important thing to remember is the sales person must take advantage of the opportunity when it presents itself. Often a prospect will give you a buying signal and you must read it and use it. As soon as you see a buying signal - close the sale.

You must go into every interview with one expectation: you are coming out with the order. Without this feeling the sale is lost before you knock on the door.

(Dave Gleason has more than 40 years of experience in contracting, engineering and wholesaling. He has put these experiences into a comprehensive consultation and training company called Systematic Selling Inc., which offers customized sales seminars and workshops. Contact him at 1165 Antioch Campground Road, Gainesville, GA 30506; phone (800) 447-7355; fax (717) 698-6555.)