Closing is an important skill for salespeople. I often hear sales executives complain that their people are not “good closers.” In my experience the best salespeople often get business without having to close, but that’s a subject for another blog. Let’s define closing as asking for an order and take a closer look at when closing is done.
Buyers have come to despise early trial closes. Salespeople asking: “Do you like the silver or black car better?” irritate me. Studies have shown that in small transactions trial closes are helpful, but they have a negative effect on buyers making larger purchases.
Closing early pressures buyers. Those who prefer buying vs. being sold find early closes manipulative. Before being able to make B2B purchases, decision makers should know:
• The needs of their department or organization
• How well a vendor’s offering addresses those needs
• The potential benefit/value of the offering
• How the vendor’s offering and pricing compares to competitors
• What resources are needed to implement the offering
• How budget can be allocated to the purchase
• The terms and conditions of doing business with the vendor
If you agree with this list, closing before these questions have been addressed is premature. Some sellers close early by choice. Others may be asked to if month, quarter, or year-end revenues are below forecast. The best result of such closing is that the seller gets the order, but has to discount to incent buyers to buy before they were ready. The worst outcome is that buyers feel pressured and opportunities are lost.
As with many things in life, timing is important. A large part of successful closing is knowing when buyers have what is needed to make buying decisions. Good closing skills used too soon are likely to yield poor results.
I welcome your thoughts and ask your provide feedback on:
• How do you know a buyer is ready to buy?
• What negative consequences have you seen from premature closing?