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Jeff Schmidt

ABC Always Be Closing


First prize is a brand new Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, and third prize is, youre fired. You want to work here? Close. You dont like it? Leave.

In the 1982 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin gives his now famous Coffee Is for Closers speech. Despite its foul language and abusive tone, you have to chuckle at the scene. Sadly we laugh because to some it feels real. (Check out the YouTube Clip here CAUTION: foul language)

Closing is a critical component of the sales process. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted, says Baldwin. I dont like the term close because it suggests an ending, when in reality its just the beginning of the business relationship. Closing is not an event, its a process a series of events that culminate in the acquisition of a new client. 

First you must get onto a buyers radar by seeding, cold calling, getting a referral, or creating some other means of making a connection with a prospect. You close by getting the initial meeting. You open the conversation about problems and needs. You close by getting a second appointment to demonstrate your company is capable of solving their problem or improving their business. You present the plan and the pricing, and acquire an order. Sounds simple, right?

Thats not where it ends. You now have an opportunity to go to work for the customer you put so much effort into selling. The real success is when you get a second or third order from the same customer and obtain referrals to other people in their network.

What you believe about selling and closing will drive your behavior. If you believe closing is something you do to the buyer you will act differently than if you believe closing is something the buyer wants as much as you do. Here are three new ways to define closing:

1. Open the business relationship: Youre not trying to close a sale but open a business relationship.
2. Confirm the order:  Dr. Tony Allesandra says, The Confirming process is analogous to asking someone to marry you. If you were worried about the answer, you wouldnt ask. Obviously the question would be premature. The decision to marry is the outcome of a mutually developed relationship.
3. Implement the strategy, plan, or solution: Its time to execute instead of talk. This should be as exciting for the buyer as it is the seller. The buyer gets to solve her problem and improve her business.

You want to talk about pressure? I sell sales training for a living. When I sell sales training, the prospects are evaluating how they are sold. They are deciding whether or not they want their salespeople to represent their company the way Im representing ours. Anyone who takes my call gets a free look at what Im going to teach their sellers.

Here are some old age closes that you may have been trained on, that I suggest you forget fast:

 The alternate choice close
 The subordinate question, alternate choice close
 The action close
 The impending event close

All of those closes are manipulative and designed to trick the prospect into buying. If youve done your job, prepared for the presentation and have customized a product or solution for your prospect, you dont need trickery to get them to move forward.

NEWSFLASH:  Clients lie. Shocking I know, but its really not their fault. After years of attempts at manipulation, clients have become adept with their own defense mechanisms lies.  Even ethical, well-intentioned clients cant help little white lies to protect themselves.  Some examples:

-- My budget is spent
-- I have to consult with my partner
-- I am satisfied with my current vendor
-- I like your presentation, Im interested, but the timing isnt right.

If any of those were true, they wouldnt have taken the time to meet with you in the first place.

As a professional, highly trained salesperson, it is your job to reduce the tension, reduce the fear of manipulation and reduce the anxiety on the part of your prospect.  You do this through the use of ZERO-pressure closes.  Here are three Zero-Pressure Closes:

1. What would you like me to do next? This is my favorite because it puts the client in control. When they are in control, they are at ease.
2. I would like to have you as a customer, may we get started?
3. Once you bless this, what happens next?

If you believe youre working for the client and truly helping them, then closing is the natural progression to the work youve done. In addition to beliefs, your attitude can dramatically affect the outcome. There are three vibes you must give off for your prospects to feel at ease:

 Im glad to be here
 I know what Im talking about
 I LOVE what Im doing

Believe youre serving the client, and exude passion and a positive attitude. You wont have to worry about closing techniques.

Think Big, Make Big Things Happen!

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and partner with Chris Lytle at Sparque, Inc.  Jeff and Chris believe that training is a process not an event; and people should buy training based on a desired outcome. You can reach Jeff at,,
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