7 deadly closing sins
Most people just don't know how to close a deal. And it's typically one of these seven mistakes that prevents them from closing deal. That's why I call them the seven deadly closing sins—because they're killing your sales!
Closing sin #1: Asking for the close selfishly
Are you trying to close your prospects before properly qualifying them? Before you checked whether they're actually a good fit?
If you don't know for sure that a prospect would benefit from buying your product or solution, don't try to close them!
Yes, you're in sales. Yes, you have a quota, you want to earn a commission and a bonus on top but "Always Be Closing" isn't a long-term success strategy.
What's more, if you don't care about your customers and view sales as a I-win-you-lose thing, the prospect will often pick that up on some level.
I believe that doing the right thing is the right thing to do. But even if you don't have ethical concerns, there are selfish reasons why you shouldn't sell to the wrong customers.
Closing sin #2: Asking for the close unselfishly
Closing certain people or companies can actually be bad for your business. There are certain kinds of customers you don't want—they might be a hassle to handle, they might not bring in enough revenue, they might cause harm to your company in other ways.
If you're asking these kinds of prospects for the close, you can only lose.
Asking out of neediness comes from a weak perspective, and makes it easier for most people to not buy from you.
And even if they DO buy from you, you lose, because now you introduced a customer to your company that's going to cause more trouble than they're worth.
Closing sin #3: Lacking follow-up hustle
You've qualified them, asked for the close, and they tell you they need more time before they can make that decision—and you don't follow up!
You always, always, always want to follow up with these people!
Prospect: "Well, I can't make this decision right now, I'll need to discuss this with my partner."
Sales rep: "Of course, when do you plan to discuss that?"
Prospect: "In one or two days."
Sales rep: "Awesome. Can I be part of that discussion so that I'll be able to answer all the questions you're partner is going to have, and save you both some time?"
If they don't let you be part of that decision, say this, "You need two days to make a final decision? Ok, I'm going to call you in three days to see that we get the deal done."
And on day three, in the morning, call them and say, "Hey, how did the meeting go? Did you have a chance to discuss this? Are we doing this or not?"
Sometimes they'll then tell you, "Well, you know, we were to busy, we need some more days ..."
Sales rep: "When is going to be the right time for me to follow up?"
Prospect: "Well, maybe you can follow up next Wednesday with me ..."
On next Tuesday, send the prospect an email, to remind them you'll call on Wednesday.
If you do that, they'll know that you will follow up. Now that they have extra-motivation to actually see this through, they're less likely to let this fall through the cracks.
Follow up to make sure that the deal actually happens. (I've told the story of how I followed up 48 times with an investor many times.)
Closing sin #4: Asking for the close, fearing the no
Every salesperson has heard many no's in their life, and some interprete the no's wrongly.
They can't deal with the emotional side effect of that.
Every no they get feeds the doubts they have about themselves and their offer. And when they go for the close, they play to play. They don't play to win anymore.
They go into the ring half-assed, already sure they'll get a bloody nose and just trying to make it less painful, rather than trying to land a right hook.
Just like a basketball player has missed more times than he scored, if you're a professional salesperson, you're going to hear more no's than yes's.
Communicate that you believe in the value of your product or service on all these levels:
- Your body language
- Your tonality
- Your choice of words
If you're not communicating confidently on all three levels, then what you're doing is trying to persuade them to buy while persuading them not to buy.
Closing sin #5: Asking for the close and being devasted by no
This is like a boxer getting knocked out by one little jab. If you're in sales, and you get thrown off by a no, you need to toughen up. Either develop a thick skin so you don't get knocked down so easily, or become better at getting up really fast once you get knocked down.
As a salesperson, you should know that people are going to say no. More often than not, people aren't ready to say yes.
If a single no can take the wind out of your sails, you're not going anywhere in sales.
Develop the emotional stability to be able to take a no and keep on selling, unfazed.
What do you think goes on in a prospect's mind if they tell you no, and you fall apart? They are just going to interprete that as confirmation that telling you no was the right choice.
Clsoing sin #6: Asking for the close too late
You qualify the prospect, provide them with a ton of information, overwhelm them with all the benefits and features you can come up with. You're as soft as possible in your sales pitch, try to "consult" them as much as you can, and wait for as long as possible to ask for the close.
Because deep down you want to avoid rejection. Because you feel insecure.
Paradoxically, by playing it save this way, you actually increase the risk of rejection.
Remember this rule of sales and persuasion: More information = more discussion/more objections/more doubts.
This is the flipside of pitching prematurely.
If you typically ask for the close too late, here's a question I want you to ask yourself: what will happen if you ask for the close too early?
Nothing bad will happen! If you embrace the no, if you're not committing closing sin #5, a no can move the sale ahead.
Closing sin #7: Never asking for the close
You'd be surprised how many salespeople never ask for the close.
They go through all the steps of the sales process, and then they fail to ask!
I've been seeing this going on for years and years and years, and it still boggles my mind.
You're the salesperson. Whose responsibility is it to make the deal happen?
Don't burden your client with the responsibility of getting to the decision. That's your job. The prospect needs your help to make a choice. As a salesperson, it's your job to prompt the decision making process.
Now that you know the seven closing sins ...
How do you close deals?
Ask for the close only if a prospect is qualified. You clarify and verify that they should actually buy your solution.
Go for the close early, and go for the close often! And when they tell you no, embrace it! You make the no a part of it. Have some fun with it.
After qualifying them, tell them, "Now that we know you're a good fit, are you ready to buy?"
And they say: "Wait a moment, we didn't even see a demo of your product!"
You: "Fine, I just thought I'd give you an opportunity to make a good decision faster. Let's give you a quick demo."
You give them the demo, and then you ask them again: "Now are you ready to buy?"
And when they say no, you laugh and say: "Of course you're not ready. We're not even through my presentation. But I wanted to check and see, you seem like you know what you're doing, you might already have enough information to know that this is the right solution."
Getting a no can actually be a good thing if you handle it right. A no can provide you with valuable information. If they say no and you ask them why, the prospect might tell you the reasons why they aren't ready, which is pretty much the roadmap for how to get them to the close.
Master the craft of anticipating the yes. This can truly elevate your sales game. You're walking a fine line here: you ask for the close early and often, and you embrace the no, but you anticipate a yes at the same time. You ask for the close as if you're a 100% sure they're going to say yes. And when you get a no, don't let that take the wind out of your sails.
It's a schizophrenic reality distortion: get a no from people and still believe in the yes. That's what makes you a top performer.