Closing should be a non-event.


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How many times have you seen a sales training program that claims to teach us how to “close any prospect in one conversation” or something similar? I know I have, and in fact have attended many of those programs personally hoping to learn the secret of great salesmanship. I came away from those programs feeling a little short changed, however because most of them – yes, even the good ones, rely on some degree of trickery or salesman slight-of-hand in order to close the prospect.

In thinking about my own dealings with clients and sales prospects in all stages of business development I have developed an understanding that leads me in a contrarian direction to what most of the gurus preach in their programs. Indeed, closing a sale should be a non-event. Let me try to explain.

Too many of us rely on a selling process that is very inward facing. We satisfy our own sales process milestones in order to advance the sale through the funnel – initial meeting, needs discovery, capabilities review, and so forth, and no where in sight is the customer’s process considered. With such a complete and entire focus on ourselves we lose sight of the customer and the fact that they have a process too, and the penalty for not recognizing it and aligning with it is often the loss of the sale.

Truly astute sales professionals recognize the customer’s process and work to align with it, acting more as customer advocates and facilitators and not as somone needing to show advancement with self-serving metrics and sales measures. Those that do it well recognize that the close, like the rest of the phases in the client’s own processes is a relative non-event if played correctly, and never should it resort to deception or fancy-footwork as some preach.

Strong recognition and alignment with our customer’s buying process allows us to follow their milestones and know when the customer is ready to close. Prematurely moving to the final phase of the process will drive a prospect away fearing over zealous (or worse) salesmanship. Delaying too long may miss the window and realize the customer bought elsewhere.

In short, we must be very focused on customer process and the experience we create for him during their buying process needs to be facilitative, not heavy handed. Being client centric in our style will allow us to know where we stand with prospects at all times and with proper alignment make closing the maximum amount of business part of the natural flow of events and not a carnival side-show.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Mandel
Marc Mandel is a Regional Sales Director at Allegiance, Inc.


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