Question 1: What % of your sales do you close on the first visit?
Question 2: On average, how many visits does it take to generate a close from the rest?
Question 3: How do you get appointment #2 if you don’t close appointment #1?
Question 4: How do you define “closing”?
Now that you’re zoned in on the focus on this post, let’s talk about the actual definition of closing. Try this on for size: Closing is reaching agreement on a next step at the conclusion of each sales call.
If you’ve been in sales for at least three foggy mornings you’ve heard the phrase, Always Be Closing, but most sales reps think this only means closing the sale and signing the contract (Big C). To me it means closing every sales call by coming to agreement on what the next step will be (little c). Some closes will be positive, others negative. Either way, you must know where you stand and at least decide on a fork in the road following each prospect/buyer meeting. From that perspective, yes, it’s your responsibility to always be closing. Most will be a little c, and a few will be a Big C.
Examples of closes, both positive and negative; big and little:
“Will you meet with me again to look at a potential solution on Friday morning?” “Yes, make it 10am.”
“I’m not convinced I need this, and so I don’t plan to do business with you at this time.”
“Once you sign the agreement, I will schedule your install.” “I’ll sign it now and would like AM service.”
“I need to talk to the reference you provided me… Call me Friday after lunch and we’ll talk further.”
In each of the instances above, a close of some type occurred. The problem comes in when you exit an appointment without knowing specifically where you stand, which leads to becoming an unpaid entertainer.
Are you clumsy at closing, like this salesperson?
“Thanks for coming out, this is a lot to consider.” (Don’t walk away, close on a follow-up meeting)
“I don’t know that we will buy everything you proposed, but we will probably do something.” (Ditto)
“Well, I need to go now and let you sort all this out and figure out what you want to do.” (Ditto)
When salespeople have problems closing, it almost always means they have problems opening. Doctors make a diagnosis before performing surgery, and lawyers implement discovery before they go to court. Therefore salespeople need to at least perform a short interview to determine the prospect’s “pain” before beginning to bloviate about potential solutions.
When sellers conduct short interviews at the beginning of sales calls, the aforementioned clumsiness will begin to disappear and they will begin to know when to close. When to close? When prospects are ready to buy. When is that? When agreed-upon interview needs have been met and their pain is medicated with an affordable solution.
Listen closely and watch for buying signals, and when buyers appear ready, stop and close. Just remember that closing is not limited to the act of signing on the dotted line. Closing is an agreed upon next step at the conclusion of each appointment.
It’s like a football team slowly marching down the field systematically making first downs. Eventually that progress will lead to a touchdown. The alternative is to become an unpaid entertainer!
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