by Anneli Thomson, Managing Director, November 2014
When I meet with Owners and Managing Directors of companies and ask, “What would you like your salespeople to do better to improve the profit of the company?” often they will say, “Close more sales.” Who could disagree with that as the ultimate result?
However the close never stands alone. It’s about everything the salesperson has done prior to the close that determines if the prospect decides to buy. That’s a key observation because most prospects don’t want to be sold; they want and need expertise so they can make an intelligent buying decision. The close in our world places the decision where it belongs, with the prospect. It’s not about pressure, pleading, guilting or cajoling the prospect to buy. What determines a successful close is your ability to have the prospect view you as an advisor in the process.
Those who believe there is some magic pill or great one-liner to closing the sale put themselves under a lot of personal pressure (not to mention, the prospect). Reading books that provide 1001 Ways to Close may be interesting but at the meeting are you going to remember, “This is a great place for close 642, now if I could only remember what it was.”
Our belief is that every successful sale is process-based and is the result of productive systems and behaviours. Salespeople have no control over the results of their efforts. They don’t get to make the decision. That’s the prospect’s job. What salespeople can control is their time (when they do things), and their behaviour (what they do.) All too often we see sales managers who manage the numbers rather that managing the behaviour and activities that will get the numbers. Salespeople need to focus on what they’re doing to be successful.
There’s an old quote that says, “You can get by on charm for fifteen minutes. After that, you better know something.” The something you need to know is, what do I do next? Without a systematic process, a step-by-step method to close the sale or close the file, the sales person can be ineffective moving forward or maybe spending too much time on a non-opportunity. That probably has never happened to you.