The question asked most often by sales people

Pay-off: Get clarity on how to close sales effectively
Investment: 3 mins

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What do most people involved with ‘selling’ want to know most of all?

Well, going by the question I’m asked most often, it’s “how do you actually close and make the sale?”

I’ll tell you the answer in a bit.

But first, let’s use this frequent and urgently asked question to diagnose the question asker’s problem. Then we can prescribe the right course of action.

There’s an implication that the asker of this question thinks they’ve successfully got to the last hurdle, and just wants to know how to leap over that. That they’ve done everything else right up to this point and that they’re now ready to go for the close.

Or maybe they’ve been beaten over the head with the idiotic “ABC – always be closing” school of thought. Either way, the fact that they’re asking me the question shows that they struggle at this point. Which suggests they’re not ready to close after all. Perhaps they haven’t done everything else right? Perhaps they haven’t earned it and won the customer over sufficiently to get a ‘yes’?

Of course people want to know how to get the win. But why do they think there’s some magical way to conduct themselves in the final moment that will get the ‘yes’?

Surprise: Closing doesn’t happen at the end

It doesn’t work like that in sales and it doesn’t work like that in football either (“so, forget the rest, just tell me how to get the ball in the goal?”) or relationships in general (consider marriage and bypassing everything so you can just pop the question..) Life doesn’t work like that and sales is no different.

To me, it quickly demonstrates in one snapshot, that they’ve missed the point of the entire process. That’s why they’re struggling.

It suggests that they think they should get the customer’s attention, and persuade the customer to buy from them. As opposed to giving the customer enough of their own attention, respectfully, slowly, carefully, and then suggesting what they have, or can do, that might help that customer.

My advice is, if you’re desperate to know how to close (because you fail too often at that point), then you’ve just diagnosed yourself and found your critical constraint. So step back and view the bigger picture. It’s really hard to close a square peg into a round hole. But hold a round peg to a round hole and you’ll see it ‘closes’ easily. It fits. It makes sense. You need to focus on fit, relevance and value from the customer’s perspective.

Get the customer closing for you

If you want to know how to close efficiently and effectively, or better still, set up the circumstances such that your customer wants to close the deal for you because it’s so evidently valuable and fits, then you need to respect the process that comes before the end. And learn how to do it purposefully.

You need to do everything right before the close, including making good judgements about opportunities, qualifying well, earning trust and respect, acting professionally, establishing fit and building and testing for value incrementally. That’s how to close. You asked, I answered. Now go back and do it properly! This is why consistently good sales people get paid well. Because they didn’t just learn a quick trick or technique that persuades customers to say ‘yes’ when that ‘yes’ might be the wrong thing for them.

Want to learn how to do that?

If you’re looking to learn about that and are particularly an engineer or someone in professional services, who wants to sell ethically and consistently well (aka professionally) then it might be worth a conversation. You can reach me here.

I work globally, either face to face with clients, over the screen, over the phone, and also have an immediately accessible online platform packed with video solutions to just about every sales challenge I’ve identified over the years. It’s built so that engineers can quickly and easily get solutions to your top challenges and apply them at the point of need, so that you see impact and improvement fast.

I’ve built it to be the fastest way for engineers to improve their sales performance.

Get in touch if you’re interested in exploring with me if there’s fit and value for you.

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