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Closing is one of the hottest sales topics. Last week, bestselling author, speaker and Pipeliner Chief Strategy Officer John Golden hosted an online panel on SalesPOP! about “How to Close Better and More” with myself and fellow sales experts, Lisa Magnuson and John Flannery. Generally, all of us were on the same page, but I think we all learned why we talk about it so darn much.
Sales is more about just closing the deal IF you see the close as being at the end of a typical sales cycle. Closing is much more about provoking, testing and confirming along the sales continuum. This means knowing when to move forward and when to walk away.
But closing is not only a selling activity in the sales process − it is also a skill. And, that skill requires preparation at every turn. If you do not prepare for each time you interact with your buyer, then your ability to close along the sales continuum diminishes.
In our SalesPOP! panel, Lisa Magnuson of Top Line Sales stated that a pre-call planner is a “must” to prep and plan on how that meeting, presentation or call will go. You need to understand both the outcome that you want from the interaction as well as understand what the buyer hopes to get from same.
Unfortunately, too many sales people do not spend the time to use a pre-call planner. I know many of you are not big advocates of tools and forms, but I do like the idea of always planning for the outcome, from everyone’s perspective. For me, it’s the only way to know if a meeting was a good one. Did you meet your objectives as well as your buyer’s?
Too often, though, sales people do not have the skills to close eloquently. They go for the jugular and when they do successfully close the deal, it makes you feel dirty. When a sales rep is all about the close at all costs − closing too early, closing on your timeframe, closing just because you want an answer about progress – it can give him/her a bad reputation. It’s the unsavory image people tend to conjure up about the used car salesman. Pushing for a close whether it’s right for the buyer or not, or pushing a product the buyer doesn’t want now or ever.
Closing is a skill that can be mastered and finessed. Those who are good at it always have the customer’s best interests at heart. If you catch yourself closing for your own reasons, then stop. Think through what the outcome of the meeting, presentation or call should be – not only from your perspective, but also from your buyer’s. This way, closing along the sales continuum will be more about progressing a deal based on your client’s buying process. When it’s all about them, you win – again and again.