With apologies to Paul Simon, there are countless books filled with newer, better, and numerous ways for salespeople to “close” a sale.
I once did a training engagement for a firm that had previously required their sellers to “close” a MINIMUM of 15 times before leaving an appointment! Seriously? That isn’t selling it’s more like a high-pressure exercise in pissing off prospects.
According to Alex Baldwin's character in the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross" you should ALWAYS be closing. That, my friends, is old school hog wash.
For openers, if I had my way, we would completely drop the phrase “close the sale.” If you are doing it right, you aren’t “closing” anything but rather “opening” a business relationship for your firm.
That being said, the reference is pretty much an institution so let’s just focus on the only “close” you should ever use. The “un-close” as I prefer to think of it.
At Sandler Training there is a concept known as “staying behind the pendulum” when selling. To put it a different way, it means to stay behind the process and allow the customer to move themselves forward towards a solution but only if the solution is in the best interest of the prospect.
If you have a truly qualified prospect that has actionable pain, a budget that both parties can live with, and you have access to the proper decision makers BEFORE you craft your solution the entire presentation step should be nothing more than a confirmation of doing business together.
While that is a massive over simplification, the fact remains that if you are in need of “the perfect close” to get the business you are waiting too late in the sales process.
Drum roll please! Here it is, the only close you will ever need to succeed if you are totally aligned with solving the customer’s pain, at a price that makes sense, in front of the final decision makers. “What would you like to do next?”
That’s it, when you ask that simple question in a properly executed sales process you are allowing the customer to “buy” your product or service versus being “sold”. Think about it, how much do YOU enjoy being sold?
Once again, I have over simplified the sales process that precedes asking “the big question” but the point is, don’t rely on a great close to get business. A customer that buys versus being sold is a customer that is likely to have a long and mutually beneficial relationship with you and your firm.
“What would you like to do next?”