the closerSo you’ve done the prospecting, made the appointment and have your pitch down to a science.  Your delivery is a slam-dunk and now it’s time to make “The Close”.  Many salespeople consider this the most crucial point in the sales process.  It’s the moment that makes all of our hard work during the presale worth it, puts another tally in the win box and of course, puts another dollar in the paycheck.  If we’ve done our research, given the potential client every reason as to why this product or service is going to help them, how can they say no?  Somewhere along the way, salespeople have become so, dare I say, obsessed with the victory at the end of a call that they hop, skip and leap over some of the most important aspects of the sales cycle and in turn fall defeated at the hands of that simple two letter word.

There are thousands of books, blogs and courses dedicated to “The Close”.   I have learned, used  and even encountered a countless number of different techniques all to get the prospect to utter that one word we all love to hear…Yes!  If you find yourself running through this rolodex of closing techniques in your head at the end of a call, searching for the best way to seal the deal…you haven’t done your job.

S. Anthony Iannarino says that “Closing is the art of gaining commitment.”  If we get honest with ourselves, obtaining commitments from your potential client starts way earlier in the sales process than during “The Close”.  For some reason we have placed so much emphasis on the end of the sales cycle and have begun to overlook the importance of all the smaller commitments that must take place before gaining the most coveted commitment of all, a signed deal.

Take some time, sit down and go over your sales process.  What are the things that you must do to move from each stage to the next?  What commitments must you gain from your potential client in order to advance?  For every commitment you get from your potential client at each of these stages, make sure you are giving them something in return.  Show them that it is beneficial for them to move to the next stage with you, leave them in a better place than they were before.  The goal is to create a mutually beneficial partnership as you both move through this process TOGETHER.

Once you have taken each of these steps and not only created value for your potential client through the product or service you are ultimately offering, but taken an active interest in your client’s future and what their vision is and how you can assist in that as a whole, you have earned the right to close.  If you have done all things correctly and are sincere in your approach, the close should be easy and natural.

Being an effective closer is the single most important skill a salesperson must have.  It is important not just so they can blow through sales calls and sign every deal, but because in order to make a deal you must first be able to earn the commitment to open the door to a working relationship full of value in all stages for your client.