I wasn’t planning on writing anything today so this is just a short one.. but no less valid or important. I just received a call from a client who was making an enquiry because their salespeople need to know how to close sales. Perhaps not surprisingly, they think they need help in closing techniques and strategies.
They’re probably wrong.
Closing is an interesting topic and certainly one that has been popular over the years. There are several sales training books written about how to close more sales and some of them even have some good content in them. It is, of course, possible to educate salespeople in specific techniques for closing sales and it is possible to improve their results this way but it is not the right way to do things nor is it likely to get the best results.
The first problem is that this request for training in how to close sales is all about you. It has little to do with the client and everything to do with the salesperson. It assumes that the salesperson is deficient in some particular skills or techniques and that the addition of a strategy or a quick line or two would make all of the difference and help them to close more sales.
This is a common situation. As a sales speaker, I often get asked by sales directors what they should do to make more sales. How do we convince the client? How do we demonstrate value over price? How do we negotiate a better deal? How do we shorten buying cycles? Etc etc. All of these have one thing in common and that is that they are all about you. They are not all about the client.
I rarely (for rarely read never) get asked for help that is client focused. People do not call me and ask how they can better understand their clients, they call me and ask how they can close more sales. People do not call me to understand why their clients went elsewhere, they call me to ask how they can convince their clients to buy from them. People do not call me to ask me help them understand why they did not engage their clients, they call me to ask how they can persuade and influence more effectively.
This may sound like semantics but it is a BIG deal.
If you want to better engage your clients, differentiate your products and make more sales… you need to be thinking about your clients. You need to take the weight off what you do and focus on what they want. Just a thought.
So, back to closing, closing is not all about you, you, you… you have to make it about understanding your clients. And when you reach that point, you realise that closing techniques themselves are unlikely to be the major cause of your problems. Salespeople fail to close for a whole variety of reasons, a few of which might include…
- Lack of confidence leading to client doubt in them.
- Lack of belief creating lack of engagement.
- Insufficient / poor / unfocused prospecting meaning they speak with not enough / the wrong people.
- Lack of rapport and understanding of clients.
- Weak / no / insufficient / irrelevant questioning.
- Now knowing how to or not adding enough (any) value.
- Lack of compelling reasons for the client to take action.
- Unconscious knowledge that they have not done some / all of the above and, therefore, feeling uncomfortable about closing.
- I could go on… and on… and on… and on… but you get the idea.
Don’t you? Suffice to say, any sales speaker or trainer who simply agrees to teach salespeople how to close sales is, at best, misguided and, at worst, a charlatan.
That’s my sales rant for today. I’m going back to focus on my clients. What can you do to better focus on your clients rather than yourself? For more from me, don’t forget to join my free success newsletter.