Many sales pundits define 7 stages of the sales cycle, with closing a deal being defined as the end of the cycle.
To most salespeople “the close” represents the welcomed end to a time consuming and laborious effort to get the client to buy. It is a time to get paid, take a deep breath, relax and move on to the next challenge.
The close has its roots in our culture. A culture where we are taught in school to be sure to “finish our work”; to solve the math problem and move on to the next question. We are brainwashed to end one thing and start another; stop one and start the next.
The problem sales run into, however, is that human beings don’t like being slotted into neat and tidy sales segments. They don’t see themselves as a “prospect” or “a cold call”. They see themselves as individuals with evolving and ever changing wants and desires and expect their salesperson to keep pace.
We need to teach sales the skills and processes to play into THIS customer reality and not traditional pedagogy.
Rather than teach salespeople that selling is a series of steps, we need to teach them that the sales process is a continuum; a process that spawns an exchange of value that never ends.
Stand-out salespeople never close a deal; they close the client.
They create an environment where the client finds it “impossible” to consider doing business with anyone else.
How do you close the client?
- Emphasize relationship building not selling. Trust that if the relationship you have with a client is deep and strong enough, they will buy from you forever, or at least until you do something to destroy the trust you have established.
- Take the long term view of your client. Look at them as an annuity stream rather than a series of transaction based exchanges.
- Assume the position as your client’s business advisor and partner. Discover ways to improve their business performance with your product and service solutions. Flogging your wares is inconsiderate and insulting when solutions to business problems are needed.
- Be available to them 24X7X365. Integrity and trust aren’t built by being a part-time salesperson.
- If your product doesn’t fit your client’s requirement recommend someone else’s! Lose the sale but save the client. Remember, your overriding purpose is to create mutual long term value with the client; you can’t achieve this if your eye is on your products rather than the client’s problem.
- Be that salesperson that remembers “the little things” about your client. It shows you care; they will remember and thank you many times over.
- “Go to war” for your client on the inside of your organization. There inevitable will be service screw-ups; it is critical that YOU are your client’s champion to see that problems are resolved quickly and effectively. Oh, btw, be sure to say “I’m sorry” to your client regardless of who caused the problem in the first place.
Stop trying to compartmentalize human behavior; serve it and your sales performance will soar.