Many sales professionals believe that closing is the act of asking for the business. They’re wrong. Asking for the business is simply the asking part. Closing is the getting it part. There are a number of events that can take place between the asking and the getting, most of which can delay or eliminate getting it part.
Your ability to deal with these events is partly technical – the selling skills you possess; and part conceptual – your reaction to the events. Many of the previous Baseline Selling Tips dealt with the skills side of the equation and this week I’ll deal with the reaction side of the equation.
Scenario – you have an opportunity on 3rd Base, meaning they need what you have, they have compelling reasons to buy and compelling reasons to buy from you. You have developed your S.O.B. Quality (they have paid more attention to you than your competitors) and they are completely qualified in every way. You have presented a solution that is both needs appropriate and budget appropriate and they indicated they’d like to move forward. It is now a closeable opportunity.
You are now speaking with them at the appointed time to get the deal done. You are in the middle of the closing opportunity. What you need to understand is that this, in reality, will not only be your best closing opportunity, but also your only closing opportunity.
If your prospect doesn’t agree to do business now, while you’re speaking with him and have the ability to influence him, while he’s paying attention to the situation, while it’s important to him, what are the chances that he’ll decide to do business, on his own, three weeks from now when he returns from vacation?
He’ll have 74 other things to deal with when he gets back, the problem won’t seem so important, the urgency won’t seem so critical and the time to deal with won’t be so available to him.
Do you understand this problem? Good. Then, when your prospect puts you off and tells you he’s leaving on that vacation, you can’t say, “OK, then when should we talk?” Instead, you must close it now. Your empathy for his pending vacation must give way to your own sense of urgency to get the deal closed WHILE YOU CAN.
Baseline Selling – How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball, deals with this issue extensively. The Chapter on Scoring details how to use the Inoffensive Close, the Rule of Triple Elimination, and The Habit Quotient to get your closeable opportunities closed when you first have the opportunity.