Sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open. - Alexander Graham Bell
When my son was about 8 months old he discovered how exciting it was to open and close doors while lying on his stomach on the floor. That gave rise to some worried attention from his parents, and it made me think about the wish many salespeople have to be able to 'close better'.
Part of my work is courses and talks for salespeople. And when I ask the sales director which competences to focus on during the course, the answer often comes back, 'We need to be better at closing the deal.'
There is a widespread view that in order to sell more, land more orders and get more customers, one needs to be better at closing. But when you investigate salesperson behavior more closely, it often emerges that the real reason that they don’t 'close well' is that they open poorly…
It is my experience that the core of selling is getting the customer to buy. And if 'value is greater than price, the customer will willingly buy' (the secret to all sales). That means that as a salesperson, you don't need to be 'good at closing' if you are 'good at opening'. By that I mean that you:
- From your first dialogue with the prospect, articulate the problems or challenges the prospect hopefully will recognise (and which you can address with what you are selling). That applies to everything you write (website, email signature, direct mails and your canvassing script).
- Constantly focus your questions around the customer’s reality, goals and situation.
- Relate all sales arguments to the problems the prospective customer may have.
- Present your offer in relation to the expected return on the investment. If you do, you will experience that manipulative closing techniques suddenly feel like kicking in an open door. They aren’t necessary at all.
If you want to work with the ability to 'open better', you are welcome to order my free book “Accelerate Sales – The Seven Golden Keys. You can benefit from a closer look at
Chapter 2 and paragraph 6.2, if you are in a hurry.
You can’t close something that isn’t open!