I’m going to focus on a single element in the sales play book: Closing. If you ask me, you are making this a lot harder than it has to be. I can’t think of a single term that is more insulting, non-effective and grossly out-of-date than “closing” a sale. I don’t find any pleasure in being “closed.” Nor should you.
The secret is to forget about “closing the sale” and focus on “opening” a meaningful business relationship.
Once a prospect lays eyes on you she formulates an opinion. As you know, first impressions are important. This is particularly true in sales. A single negative impression can sabotage your future leaving you wondering why the sale went south.
There are many areas that require coordination to establish a comfortable working relationship with prospects. The secret involves “opening;” not “closing.” When opened properly the close will unfold effortlessly.
Here are seven reminders.
1. Posture. No slouching allowed. If you stand 5’6’’ stand 5’6’’. Nobody wants to do business with a person who looks like the weight of the world is on his or her shoulders.
2. Appearance. Choose your clothing to fit your particular situation. There is not one dress code that guarantees success. Make it your business to look clean and appropriate every day.
3. Phraseology. Select your words wisely. Never allow yourself to get lazy or too familiar resulting in street-talk. You will be judged by your word selection.
4. Eye Contact. Looking people in the eye is a sign of confidence. It depicts a sincere interest in the person you are speaking with. As simple as this sounds it is seldom practiced.
5. Interest. It is universally believed that dogs can detect when a human is frightened. Likewise, humans can spot insincerity. Ask questions to get the prospect talking and then listen intently to the response.
6. Knowledge. A favorite reminder of mine states: “Do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence.” When you can contribute to the conversation, say it. CAUTION: Don’t guess. Once you get caught sharing faulty information ... you are through.
7. Follow up. This reminder alone is enough to position you as “special.” If you say it, do it. If you can’t do it, don’t say it.
Closing a sale implies manipulation and clever rebuttals. Opening a sale implies interest and good will. You are in business to help people. Don’t close. Open.