What’s the Big Deal With Closing?

Peady’s Selling Engagement sponsored by IRD Prospector

Welcome to this week’s post on sales and selling success.

The other day I was in conversation with an industry colleague and he asked me about “closing training and closing techniques” – did I have any ideas to share? My response: “closing starts at the start; it’s not an event or a major activity at the end of the process, closing training covers the entire sales process”.

He disagreed and just wanted the secret techniques that get a customer to buy!

Oh, if it was only that simple. 

What is closing?

The dictionary defines closing as “bring or come to an end” – in sales and selling my definition is “the moment when a prospective customer and the salesperson agree to work together”.

In effect the start, not the end.

The clever techniques

Back in the day sales people were trained to be manipulative and attempt to trick their prospects into buying using outdated sales closing techniques like “the puppy dog close”, “the Ben Franklin close”, “the impending doom close”, “the alternate close”, “the apology close”; the list goes on. Everyone, including your prospect, has heard of them, seen them in action or been subjected to them a hundred times over. 

Google any one of them or the many others for a good laugh.

There are no tricks!

Of course, there are approaches, there are phrases and methods to gain agreement and deal with any concerns, questions or objections a potential customer may have. But there are no tricks anymore, the market is too sophisticated.

As the brilliant Jeffrey Gitomer so perfectly says “It’s not because you need closing skills. It’s because you need selling skills, relationship building skills, questioning skills, and communication skills”. Perfect!

The 6 steps to a close
So, if there are no tricks what are the important steps you need to take during the sales cycle to gain agreement and form a working partnership? 

  1. Do your research and due diligence so you’ll be prepared. Remember, luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity.
  2. Ensure you are talking to the decision maker(s) and decision influencers (or the person to lead you to them).
  3. Identify that a genuine opportunity exists via smart and relevant questioning in the discovery phase (including budget, need and any timelines).
  4. Build relationships and add value at every step. Share information, case studies, blogs, research, anything that drives your credibility.
  5. Continually circle back to the identified needs or opportunity to ensure they are real, important, haven’t changed and are achievable within your proposed solution.
  6. Gain small agreements. An appointment, follow up meeting or call, to present a proposal, review the proposal, to discuss commitments and establish service agreements.

As I said to my colleague, “closing is not an event; it starts at the start”. Is that how you close? 

Until next week good selling!

About the author 

Stephen Pead is a media industry veteran of 30 years with significant experience in direct sales, sales management and general management. He is based in Sydney and specialises in helping SME’s market their businesses more effectively and providing training for salespeople and sales managers.

He can be contacted at [email protected]