When I started out in sales and marketing, it was all about closing the sale.
In fact, good salespeople were often referred to as good closers.
Decades later, I still see sales recruiters asking for candidates who have a proven record of closing.
Here’s why we need to be extremely careful before adopting the closing mindset, or any of the countless closing tricks and techniques.
Closed for business?
The challenge with the closing mindset, is that it positions the prospective customer as little more than a barrier. A hurdle between you and the sale. An obstacle to be overcome. Little wonder so many closing techniques are based on psychological tricks.
The use of long, uncomfortable silences at key points in the sales process, for example, is used to put pressure on the prospective client. So is refusing to accept a “no” from them, by asking what they need additional clarity on, each time they clearly just want out.
In a nutshell, the focus is on outmanoeuvring your opponent. It’s them against you. A confrontation.
Here’s a very different approach, along with why I strongly recommend you use it.
I built my reputation in sales by adopting the polar opposite approach. Instead of focusing on closing, I focused on opening.
Opening relationships, to be exact.
I found (and still find) the idea of closing to be self-defeating. I discovered that you can achieve a great deal more, by opening relationships with people. This means taking time to listen to them. And then learning about their challenges and what they want / need. If our marketing is targeted correctly, we’re automatically only speaking with people who are our ideal profile of client.
When handled correctly, and preceded with effective marketing, this means there’s no need to close anything (or close on anyone).
The whole process becomes a naturally-flowing conversation, where we seek to help people overcome a challenge, with the products or services we provide.
It’s a beautiful, fulfilling way to do business.
It also means refusing to sell anything to anyone, if we believe it’s not what they need.
This approach may sound passive, but consider your friends. Consider the people you like. The people you trust. The people you love to have around you. Are they aggressive towards you? Confrontational? No! That’s because we prefer those who respect us and are open and honest with us.
We like people who are open and honest.
We buy from people who are open and honest.
We trust people who are open and honest.
We recommend people who are open and honest.
In short, the more open we are, the more opportunities we’re open to.