In my last post I talked about the fact that if you stop trying to close you can make more sales. You can imagine, I got a fair amount of feedback from people who didn’t understand how they might make more sales if they stop trying to close. I understand that this goes against everything most people teach about the sales process.
And if you want to get different results you have to do something different.
I was a hard-core closer and I would close people because I could. I am the expert. I was more prepared. I could overcome their objections. So I made sales. That doesn’t mean it was always what was best for the prospect or client. I honestly believed that if I represented a great product (and I always did) that it was okay for me to close aggressively.
I would’ve gone on like that forever, if it hadn’t been for a parenting class of all things. In the parenting class several things caused me to rethink my core beliefs. One of the things that just blew my mind was the idea that our children are in our lives for our transformation. The more I thought about that. The more I understood that everyone is in our lives for our transformation, and that includes prospects and clients.
The next thing that became challenged was what I had always been taught was the greatest motivator. You see, I had been taught that pain and pleasure with the two big motivators and that we were more likely to do something to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. I always thought using pain to close was right. It seemed to work well in my sales process and in truth I didn’t mind manipulating people by using their pain, if that’s what it took to get sales.
Of course, I convince myself it wasn’t really manipulation. It was “persuasion”. What I learned in the parenting class was that love is the greatest motivator. The instructor taught us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. This tremendous sacrifice was motivated by love. He pointed out that it says in the Bible “No greater love has this then a man would lay down his life…” The instructor gave many, many examples of how love is the greatest motivator.
These thoughts challenged what I had always believed. As I began to examine my thoughts and my beliefs. I knew I needed to change. It wasn’t right for me to make sales just because I was capable. I considered myself a master closer, an expert at sales. I was always either number one or in the top 1% in any organization. I saw this as a challenge to become better than I had ever been before.
I recalled a great sales book by Og Mandino titled The Greatest Salesman in the World. If you haven’t read the book. I couldn’t possibly give it a higher recommendation. Do yourself a favor, go buy it, get it from the library or borrow it from a friend. Whatever you do read the book. In chapter 9 it talks about the scroll marked II. The scroll marked II explains how the greatest weapon/tool a salesman has in the whole world, the most important thing he possesses is love.
I read the book many, many years before I went to the parenting class and after going to the parenting class, and having my beliefs challenged I chose to reread Og’s book. That began a new journey that changed my life and how I close when selling forever.
These days, when I train salespeople (I’ve trained over 1,200) I no longer teach them how to close sales. What I do instead is teach them how to prospect without rejection or failure. I teach how to properly qualify a prospect to uncover their needs, and to determine whether or not we are a good fit to work together. If they are a good fit then based on that information I teach them how to put together a presentation specifically about the prospects need for a solution and how they deliver that solution.
When you focus on your prospect, or clients, specific needs. And you tailor your presentation to solve those problems, and only those problems, you build value, you build trust, and you are perceived as the expert. When it’s done like this, you avoid objections, rejections or pressure and the close is simply a natural byproduct of your well done presentation.
Sales is about a relationship and it should be built on trust, not manipulation, pressure or stress. When you’re willing to put your prospects needs first, even if that means referring them to a competitor because a competitor has a better fit for what they need, then, and only then, are you on your way to being a master salesperson.
Have you struggled when closing prospects or clients? Leave me a comment about your struggles closing and share this article on LinkedIn or other social media to help the world of sales people learn to sell with a healthy system if you benefitted from reading.