One of the hardest parts about sales is being able to close a deal without using too many resources. Like a Navy seal, your goal is to get in take care of business and get out. To perfect this art, people in sales have all sorts of tools and tactics. There are the rehearsed closing lines, or the fast talking pitch that's been rehearsed hundreds of times.

In reality, being efficient with a sale is much easier than most people think. You don't need to over pressure, and you definitely can ditch the common close lines. Instead, start utilizing your most important weapon, the contract. While most people think of the document as a final closing to the deal, if used correctly it can set the tone from your first meeting. Think of your contract the same way a samurai thinks of his sword. When heading into a sale, it should be with you at all times. Here's why the written agreement is such an important weapon to use in sales meetings.

1. You have a map to get to the close

Many times, customers like to lead you down different paths that take you farther and farther away from closing the deal. For instance, many clients ask technology companies about imaginary features they would love. While this is great from a customer discovery standpoint, your company will not be able to meet every single customer need. Overtime, you'll realize that the prospect will still sign with you, but they are just trying to sweeten the deal. The contract is the perfect armor for this attack.

When I go through this myself, I look to get the conversation back to the terms of the deal. I'll say, "I agree, that's a great idea. Maybe we'll build that feature down the road. Now another question I had for you was on the contract length." After a while, I can keep the buyer on track by constantly getting their thoughts on all the topics that we need to cover to go through the sale. This helps me stay organized and focus on the mission at hand, and it also helps me make sure the sale is moving forward.

2. You get customers on the same page as you

As our customer base has grown in the south, I've noticed how different sales are down south compared to the west coast. As opposed to California, southern business is much more relationship based. Sales meetings start with a good amount of small talk, followed by a discovery of how many of the same people you and the client know. While I love this because I get to know my southern buyers well, if taken too far it can make it hard to close sales in a reasonable period. At the same time, trying to rush a sale can aggravate your buyer and make him think twice about doing business with you.

To solve this, I always bring out the contract in the first meeting with a customer. While pitching my business, I'll pass out materials and I always make sure I've included the contract. This way, no matter how much chitchat I have with the purchaser, he knows that there's a goal to the meeting. Also, many of my customers have said how grateful they are for letting them know the purpose of the meeting up front. There are tons of sellers who go to a meeting and talk about everything but their product for an hour then leave. This not only wastes the seller's time but also the customers. By giving out the contract early, you tell your customer what you want right away.

3. You create a deadline

People need a deadline to be motivated to get a deal done. When you give your clients too much time, the sale will sit in the pipeline for way too long. Furthermore, the more time the prospect has to think, the more time they can look at competitors and forget about you. Even the best impressions only go so far.

This is one of the most important reasons why you always need a contract with you. For my own sales, the buyer has to get the contract checked by the school's legal counsel. Since I can't get a contract signed in the first appointment, when I pass out the paperwork in the meeting I mention when I need it back by.

While I haven't completely sold the client, if they're still interested the next steps are clearly defined. I need their signatures and the agreement back on this date. There is no room for miscommunication and they have all the materials they need. Your contract is not only a game plan but also your best player. It's the person on your team who comes out leading the team and finishes by making sure you close on the win. When you're getting anxious to close, don't try rushing the purchaser and risk making a mistake. Bring in your contract and let it guide you through to victory.

Published on: Dec 1, 2014