Why You Should NEVER Close At The End

Why You Should NEVER Close At The End

Marcus Cauchi

Let’s do a deal. If you can demolish my arguments in this article, rip it out and burn it… but if you sense there may be a glimmer of potential, you’ll pick up the phone and call me. We’ll talk for about 15 minutes … and you can qualify for yourself if you might be leaving money on the table because of your salespeople’s behaviours. Can you do that without feeling any pressure?

Closing is a skill all salespeople need but they’re often terrible at implementing. They’re heavy-handed, clumsy and obvious… and buyers smell the close coming from a mile away. Which buyer doesn’t automatically resist when they hear the

words “If I could show you a way” or when they hear an alternative, assumptive, Ben Franklin, porcupine, reverse angle or puppy dog close?

 

People Love To Buy and Hate to Be Sold

Most salespeople qualify easy and close hard. If they look like a prospect, smell like a prospect, feel like a prospect, they can definitely use the benefits your product or service offers, they say they have money and the authority to buy… and you close. In fact, you’ve probably been taught to follow the ABC rule. Always Be Closing.

 

RUBBISH!

When you’re a buyer and someone tries to close you, don’t you throw up objections, smokescreens and excuses? Your response is probably, “I want to think about it” or “I need to talk it through with my CTO/wife/boss/dog”… when you’re really saying thanks for giving me the information but now I’m going to search the web for your competition and get it 30% cheaper!”

 

People Love to Be Led

Buyers rarely know the real problem they’re facing. The problem they bring is rarely the real problem. They also hate to be closed. Salespeople hate to hear their prospects saying “no”, so they won’t ask the hard questions that they’re afraid to hear the answers to. When was the last time you actively encouraged your prospect to say “no” to you? Have you ever? Are you one of the 2% who do?

 

Why You Should Always Go For The “NO!”

Few salespeople are contractual. What do I mean? They don’t tell their prospects what’s going to happen to them. They don’t give them permission to say “no”. They don’t tell the prospect what is unacceptable behaviour on their side … and the rule is ‘you can never blame a prospect for doing something to you that you never said they couldn’t do’.

 

Do You Set Enforceable Up Front Contracts?

When you cold call or meet a prospect, how do you set ground rules? How do you eliminate interruptions, objections, time-wasting and stalls at the start? Do you always know what will always happen next? If not, why not? The cost of not doing this leaves you vulnerable and out of control.

 

Objection handling is time consuming and unnecessary.

Review their ‘pains’ i.e., the problems they’ve told you they’re trying to move away from. (If you don’t know them ask yourself, “why am I here?”) Tell them they can say “no” … and so can you if you think there’s no fit. Tell them that if both sides agree there’s a fit, this is what happens next. We’ll talk about your budget, your decision making process, your timescales (and whatever else you need to confirm before you get an order). Eliminate their right to ‘think it over’, to waste your time, to use you for free consulting, to write proposals when they’re too polite to tell you “no” to your face. Raise the most common objections upfront and outright. “You may not want to do business with us because we’re never the cheapest … in fact we’re often more expensive than our competitors”. Tell them what your greatest fears are … “My greatest fear is this is going to be a bid situation. If it is, we may have a problem. We don’t do bids. Is it over?” Plant your feet!

I know … you’ve learned to qualify (by money, authority and need) to present your credentials and offer a solution, to close and then follow up with a proposal, with pricing, with references, site visits … but that is all cost to your … and generally unnecessary…. It’s cost that comes straight off your bottom line … off your bonus pool.

You’re probably not convinced. In fact, you’re probably thinking what does this trainer (‘them that can do, them that can’t teach!!’) who has never sold in telecoms know about my industry. He’s talking total rubbish. Hold that thought. Now ask yourself, why do you think my clients pay me 80-250 times more a day than I was earning 5 years ago when I was selling software and professional services?

Back to our contract. You probably won’t pick up the phone to qualify if this is for real. In fact, you probably don’t want to know if this is real because it’s too scary to contemplate that everything … everything you have ever ‘known’ about sales could have been much easier and much less effort.

Don’t call 0845 458 1237 or 07876 616983. Either now or later, even when you hit a bid situation or a competitor wins a piece of business you could have/should have won …. or a deal slips, remember where you threw this edition of Comms Business in disgust. Next issue, discover the most powerful technique in sales … but you’ll probably hate it.

 
mcauchi@salteurope.com
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