Sales Best Practice #5 – Is good at closing the sale

A best practice for sales people by guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.

By Dave Kahle

The best salespeople earn that designation because they write more business than the mass of salespeople.  They get the order!

One of the practices that contributes to that success is that of “closing the sale”.  Unfortunately, there is no one issue that is more misunderstood and incompetently trained than that of “closing the sale.”  Much of the sales training on the subject, as well as the vast preponderance of sales literature, is way off the mark.

Closing is not a matter of continually pressing for the business, nor using manipulative techniques, nor clever repartee, nor memorizing any “magic” closes.

Just today I said “no” to someone who kept pressing me for the order.  I interpreted his pressure as desperation on his part, and his desperation meant that there was something not right about the deal.  I said “no.”  In this case, the highly trained, very skilled salesperson, with the right product at the right price, did exactly the wrong thing, and brought about a negative result — solely on the basis of his poor judgment about the customer, and his repeated attempts to close the sale.

While there isn’t enough space in this article to fully explore the issue of closing, I have some general observations.

When it comes to closing, the best salespeople do two things. In the traditional sense, they ask for the order when they sense that the customer is close to committing to a decision.  This has always been the classic definition of closing the sale.

But in the hands of a master, closing takes on a larger meaning.  Sales masters also understand that “closing” is more than an event that gets tagged onto the tail end of the sales process.  They understand that “closing” is the process of attaining an agreement with the customer on the action that the customer will take as a result of every interaction.  They have the mindset that every sales call – whether 45 seconds on the phone, or 90 minutes in the customer’s office – always should end with some agreement on the next step.

The process of closing, then, starts with the first “Hello” and continues through every interaction that the salesperson has with the customer.

So, confirming an appointment is a mode of closing.  As is gaining a commitment to view a presentation, test a sample, research other users, etc.  The best salespeople continually seek, and obtain, commitment from the customer to take action at every step along the way.

As a result, the final decision to buy the product or service is a natural, logical result of all the commitments (closes) that went before.

The best salespeople are continually and effectively closing every conversation with the customer. That’s why this is a best practice of the best salespeople.

To study this best practice, take advantage of these resources: How to Excel at Distributor Sales, chapter eleven; Take Your Sales Performance Up-a- Notch, chapter thirteen; “Up-A-Notch” video training kits, Module number four.

If you are a member of The Sales Resource Center™, consider The One-Month ‘Closing’ Course, and The Six Month ‘Consultative Selling’ Course.

Image “follow through” by sukhchander on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

Copyright MMIX by Dave Kahle
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