My post, “But Will I Sound Too Salesy?” generated some interesting comments and discussions. A sentence from Dominic’s comment struck me. He shared an experience in a sales training class: “They thought the actual close suddenly transported them into the realms of a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson, which they felt was suddenly grubby.”
If we are doing the right job engaging customers in discussions about improving their business and achieving their goals. If we are focused on showing them how to achieve results they couldn’t do otherwise, we are cheating them by not closing, by not gaining their agreement to go forward.
No, I’m not talking about the “hard close,” or any of the “techniques” for closing. I’m talking about helping the customer take that step to achieve the results they have been dreaming of. The “close” should be the natural outcome of the conversation.
We engage our customers in discussions about their business. We help them identify new opportunities to improve the results they produce. We discuss solutions that help them achieve the goals. The conversation has a natural progression in which the customer is always an equal collaborator. We move forward together.
If we become “disconnected” in our conversation, we stop moving forward, we stall. As sales people, if we don’t recognize this and keep moving forward, then we stop creating value for the customer, but start falling into that “pushy salesperson” stereotype. It’s natural for that to happen, but great sales professionals recognize this and focus on getting alignment before moving forward in the process.
In each step, we are “closing,” that is agreeing to go the next step. At some point the “close” involves getting an order. It is just the natural progression of the discussion. Not “closing” on the order because it is “too salesy” is cheating the customer. It is failing to take them to the next step in achieving the results you are working on together. It is simply irresponsible.
In each meeting with the customer we should be “closing.” We need to be agreeing on the next steps in moving forward and making progress. This happens in all project oriented meetings, whether they are with customers or internal. Not agreeing on the next steps, not moving forward translates the project into idle talk and becomes a waste of everyone’s time.
The close is the agreement on the next step forward. Closing on an order is one of those next steps. Often the customer will “close” themselves, often we will ask for the order. Failing to do so stops progress. Failing to do so cheats the customer from achieving the results they are hoping for.
Don’t cheat your customers by not closing!