Sales people work hard to get in front of new customers. And put extensive time and resource into understanding their issues and perfecting relevant solutions. Given this incredible investment I have to ask, “Why do so many talented sales people stumble when it comes to moving the customer forward or asking for the business, thus opening the side door to a confident competitor?”

I know that many of you are on a relentless search for that one killer technique, the silver bullet that will bring the opportunity to a faster close. So when Mark, one of my clients, mentioned he had received a document promising “50 closing techniques” I was curious.

As I skimmed 40 pages of anonymous expert advice I was taken on a roller coaster ride of reactions from mild agreement through disbelief tinged with disgust to LOL.

While not all of the “techniques” are bad, the majority of the recommendations take manipulation to a new level.

1. The “Selective Deafness Close” suggests you respond to only what you want to hear.
(Jill: Now that’s a smart way to build credibility!)

2. The “Hurry Close” recommends you should hurry the client up in order to stop him thinking too much. It is even suggested you hint (ever so gently) “that slower thinking is not very smart.”
(Jill: Yep that’s what we want. A client that doesn’t think! Who wrote this stuff?)

3. My personal favourite “The IQ Close” suggests you tell the buyer that your offering is for intelligent people only. And a bonus tip is to “imply that he is stupid not to buy.”
(Jill: I’m speechless.)

4. The “Compliment Close” suggests that you flatter the prospect into submission by telling her how wonderful she is.
(Jill: You’ll need to apply this one after executing “The IQ Close.”)

When studies show that distrust in the sales profession continues to escalate, how can anyone with an IQ higher than that of a goldfish recommend such asinine manipulative junk? And, while these are extreme examples, it is frightening how many sellers are acting on similar pearls of manipulation. You can only hope that your competitors are lapping them up.

Let’s get serious about closing. Which, by my definition, is not about pushing to make the sale because you want, or need, it now. Closing is the act of helping the customer move to the next step in the decision-making process.

Your ability to move the deal forward has nothing to do with self-serving “techniques.” It has everything to do with what you do prior to the close. << Tweet This
Your actions throughout the entire sales process will position you to close with confidence and ease. Or not.

Simply put, have you earned the right to ask for the customer’s commitment to the next step in the sales process?<< Tweet This

  • Have you shown up throughout the process prepared, educated, always contributing unanticipated value to the customer’s situation?
  • Does you proposal accurately articulate your understanding of the customer’s situation (from their perspective) and does it clearly demonstrate how the attributes of your solution address each of the specific goals, priorities and interests of all decision influencers?
  • Have you aligned with, and fully supported, this customer’s specific buying process?

If you have confidently answered yes to the questions above then the close is as simple as:

  1. Ask for feedback on your submission.
  2. Address any questions or concerns.
  3. Recommend the next step and ask for the commitment.

And for those of you thinking, “My problem is that I don’t get an opportunity to obtain feedback,” here’s my advice. Provided you are not simply firing out quotes and “cookie-cutter” recommendations, make it a standard in your selling process to PRE-SCHEDULE a brief meeting or call to discuss your submission prior to final decision making. << Tweet This
It’s a fair request given the time, resource and intellectual property you are investing in this customer. Will 100% agree to this? No. But it’s impossible to get agreement if you don’t ask.

Good selling!