By Jeff Beals
There’s an old adage in the sales profession “A.B.C. Always Be Closing.”
While it’s a cliché, it does make sense at some level. Although you should always focus on building trust and determining what the prospect values, in the back your mind, you want to look for little clues and signals that the prospect is ready to sign. To gauge this, try incorporating “test closes.” It’s like floating a weather balloon to test the atmosphere.
Test closes help you figure out just where you stand. Ask questions such as, “How are you feeling so far?” “What’s the likelihood that you will make a move this month?” “What would it take for us to do this deal?” “If I was able to get you X, would you be willing to Y?”
When you’re trying to close a highly competitive sale, it can help to bring in a designated closer. This person is usually a highly experienced sales professional with some level of power or authority and who has not worked much with the prospect up to that point. Some companies half-jokingly refer to this person at “the hammer.”
I wrote a book a couple years ago called Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football in which I studied how legendary college football coaches “sold” their teams to elite, highly coveted athletes. The result was an extraordinary perspective on the sales profession.
In college football, the designated closer is almost always the head coach. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) allows assistant coaches to have more contact with prospective players (prospective “clients”). The assistant works with the prospect building the long-term relationship and developing trust.
At the end, when it’s time to seal the deal, the famous, highly paid head coach comes in and dazzles them. The big boss comes in and says, “We want you. We know you can be a huge success here. Let’s get it done.”
I call it, “putting a finer touch on the closing process.” It sometimes requires a little finesse to close the deal. Other times it takes a more provocative and memorable encounter. Knowing the difference is an art, part the canvas painted by a savvy sales pro.
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at email@example.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.
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