Closing The Sale – Part I

One of the most common questions new and seasoned sales people is: what is the best closing technique you use? The question is rooted in the thought that there is something you can say at a specific point in the sales process that will snatch the sale from the darkness of the abyss to the light of a new dawning day. Let me shed some light on this whole business of closing techniques.

Closing techniques have been around for ages. You probably have heard of some of them: the Ben Franklin, forced choice, assumptive, and last chance close. I even heard of one close called the “my Mama” close. It went something like this. “Mr. /Ms. Prospect when I was young, I always wanted to be in sales. My mama told me that if I did a good job of explaining the benefits of my product and answering any questions my prospects might have, then I would be assured the prospect would buy from me. So the question I have for you today is: do you think my mama was telling me the truth?” Sounds weird doesn’t it? But in general most closing techniques are weird. They are awkward and weird for you the sales person and for your prospect.

There is no mystery in closing a sale. Simplified, in order to close a sale you have to eliminate all of the options your prospect may be considering to solve the problem they have. When you do that, closing the sale is as natural as saying hello and good-bye. The close is simply the process of gaining agreement from your prospect to do business. It is a natural outcome of the sales process. If you understand the needs and wants of your prospect, and you have shown in a compelling way how your products and services satisfy those needs and wants, then there is no other conclusion the prospect can come to other than to buy from you. The problem is most sales people have not uncovered the needs and wants and effectively eliminated the other options the prospect may be considering. So instead, they look for some magical phrase or question that will turn the tide in their favor.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to cover the things that are necessary to gain agreement with your prospect. When you learn these skills you will be able to sell more business.

Activity Versus Accomplishment?

With all the other stuff sales people have to do as part of their jobs or business, it seems there just isn’t enough time left over to sell. There is the paperwork, dealing with internal company issues, meetings, reports, and a whole bunch of other “busy work” that doesn’t have an impact on getting a deal done. Therefore, it is important to not let the other stuff that you have to do cause you to lose sight of what your main goal is and that is to sell business!

Winning the sales game requires efficient and effective use of time. That means you have to be able to manage priorities and set your schedule based on priorities. Look at your sales process and determine what activities move the sale forward. You should spend the most time on these activities. Things such as making appointments, meeting with prospects, following-up with prospects, networking, meeting with referral sources are just some to the “rainmaking” activities that you should be doing most of the time.

Doing the right activities is important and doing the right activities at the right time is just as important. Schedule your time so that you are doing the rainmaking activities during the prime time. For example it is much better to be in front of a prospect at 10:00 AM than doing paperwork in your office at that hour. Schedule the admin and other non-rainmaking activities during times when you are least likely to be able to meet with prospects.

Look at the non-rainmaking activities to see which ones you could actually have someone else do. If you have an administrative assistant, look to see if they could take on some of these non-rainmaking activities. Other people in your company may also be able to handle some of the non-sales related activities too. Delegation of even one or two of these non-sales activities can make a difference. The difference will not only impact your time, but also your attitude and disposition. In my experience the aptitudes, motivators, and behaviors that make you a good salesperson generally make you horrible at doing the admin stuff.

At the end of the day, you can’t afford to confuse being busy with accomplishing something. Just because you are completing an activity doesn’t mean it the best thing to be doing in the moment. The question to answer is: am I working on an activity that is helping me accomplish my goal of selling business? This has to be the barometer you use so that at you don’t fall onto the trap of confusing activity with accomplishment.

Selling For Geniuses

I’m really excited about the release of a book I co-authored.  The title of the book is: Masterminds Unleashed: Selling For Geniuses.

Sales Training Manual
Sales Training Manual

I wrote this book with seven colleagues of mine who are experts in the area of speaking, consulting, and coaching.  When we started the project, we wanted to write a book that was a little different than the common sales book.  We wanted to create something that everyone in sales could benefit from and reach a target audience of the professional who has to sell, but doesn’t consider themselves to be a sales person.

A lot of professionals fall into the category of what I call the non-sales professional who has to sell.  Business owners are a great example.   Business owners usually have specific knowledge about what they do, but need to be able to powerfully convey what they do to potential customers.  The same is true for consultants, CPAs, attorneys, architects, and many others. Selling For Geniuses is a book that really is a sales training manual. The reader can use the information as a guide to be effective with potential customers and sell more business.

Most professional in becoming experts in what they do, usually did not take the time along the way to do sales skill training. Because, selling is a skill in order to be really good at it you have to learn and develop some basic sales skills. This book will allow the professional who has not had formal sales training to see some practical things they can do to sell business. In addition, there is a great chapter on networking and how to measure marketing activities for maximum results.

You can check out the book at www.sellingforgeniuses.com. If you like the book, tell others about it.