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Closing is a Handicap for Amateur Sales People

Closing is the most overrated skill set in the sales profession. Its alleged feats are unequal to any other, and it is common fodder for urban sales myths.

Closing essentially is anticlimactic when done properly. The reality is 90% of sales are won and lost in the initial question/evaluation phase. But for the purpose of this article we will focus on its mechanics.

The bestsellers and the best-selling opportunities get closed without having to force a close. "You're not responsible for closing the sale. Your job is to open the right way. So stop closing and let the customer do it on their own volition," says Bill Brooks.

Traditional closing's fatal flaw is "you are doing something to someone and most people do not like things done to them. They like to feel in charge, not out of control," says Skip Miller.

Often those who push for closure only push their customers further away. Ironically, when you yield to others you often move forward much faster.

One's emotional investment in the closure of the sale is a clear indication of one's weakness and insecurity. "The rush to close reveals neediness," says Jim camp. And as we all know neediness is a foul smelling cologne. So do not do for your customer what they must do for themselves.

Initially always allow your customers the freedom and the independence to disqualify or qualify themselves. Let them come clean and find their own conclusions independent of your selling agenda. Do not make the common mistake of trying to force square pegs into round holes.

The most underrated and under utilized selling tactic is to get someone to be forthcoming and forthright with you when they are predisposed to stalling you and inevitably delivering a long drawnout negative outcome to you down the road. Avoid at all cost customers "yessing" you to death and killing you with kindness.

Without giving your customers the freedom to commit and choose, they cannot fully commit. Closing without the freedom of choice is a burden and usually looked upon as an empty gesture. "A no uttered from the deepest convictions is better than a yes merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble," said Mahatma Gandhi.

On the other hand, do not seek to get yeses from customers, rather seek to achieve positive outcomes. A positive outcome is getting to the truth for better or for worse. Ironically, the more space and freedom you give your customer the opportunity to deliver negative news, the less compelled they will be to use it as a response or a defense mechanism. That is why closing should never be just a one-way street with only one option.

Too often sales people hold customers to promises and commitments they cannot realistically honor, or likely will not fulfill. If there is even a bit of coercion on your part you will generally reduce your odds of getting to the truth.

Instead of focusing on closing, focus on closing for the truth. Focus on closing for a decision, pro or con.

God cursed sales people when she gave them one big mouth and two very small ears. God have mercy on your soul if you have not come up with a very good strategy to combat this handicap.

Richard Farrell is President of Tangent Knowledge Systems, a national sales development and training firm based in Chicago. He is the author of the upcoming book Selling has Nothing to do with Selling. He trains and speaks around the world and has authored many articles on his unique non-selling sales posture.

Phone: 773-404-7915
EMail: rfarrell@tangentknowledge.com
Web: http://www.tangentknowledge.com