Don’t like closing? You’re not alone. If you feel like you’re being too pushy when you close, here’s a whole new way to think about it. In fact, two. Listen, most of us hate being closed, and most of us avoid closing as sellers. It’s a highly-requested sales skill training at Factor 8, and an often-lamented gap we hear from sales leaders. They’re not wrong.
The Sales Board reported recently that 64% of sellers don’t close. Surprised? I’m not. Closing feels pushy. As much as the general public distrust salespeople, an equal amount of salespeople hate being perceived as annoying or pushy. Closing is the precise skill we don’t want to be known for.
Yet only 10% of customers will close themselves if not asked (Impact Business Partners). Wow, right? So it’s a critical skill. It’s an avoided skill. Enter a closing mindset shift.
Closing is helping.
Think of your last personal purchase. Were you excited? Happy you splurged? I bought myself a candle that smells like rain in the Arizona desert (yeah, I live in the Arizona desert, but it doesn’t always rain). It’s my favorite smell. I was so happy unpacking it from the Etsy box. I’ve wanted this candle for about 10 years. Just. Bought. It. Had I been closed in a store, I’d have been happier for 10 years. I never really got into information search mode in the buyer’s journey. Take a look:
Most buyers are looking to buy.
That bears repeating (go ahead and re-read, I can’t be bothered to type it twice). Seriously! 🙂 When we ask if they want to buy today, we’re helping them switch mental gears from stage one or two of the buyer’s journey into stage three. SHIFT. When they need something or really want something or could be better off for having something.
Shifting the customer’s position is a service.
Explained another way, it cues the buyer into the situation and the opportunity to purchase. The cloudy-headed buyer is thinking of the issue, of lots of alternatives, of doing nothing, what they did last time, and what’s for dinner all at once. Now they’re being asked if they want to buy this, and, Snap! Turns out that question forces his brain into decision mode. YES. I’m ready. No, maybe not. Maybe, I’m not sure, but I am going to think more seriously about it now…
This feels a lot like a restaurant, right? I’m reading lots and lots of yummy things. I’m talking to my family. I’m nagging my boys to stop teasing each other and sit on their butts.
Waiter: “Are you ready to order?”
Me: “No.” OK, I’ll get serious now.
(Five minutes later he’s back.)
Waiter: “Do you need more time?”
Me: “No. Almost there, let me just ask you this one question now that you’re here and I’ll make up my mind now…”
Am I annoyed by him? No! I’m grateful he’s asking me because I can’t remember the last time I ate.
Ordering at Starbucks… Do you go up to the counter and immediately give your order or do you wait to be asked?
You’re getting it. Closing is giving the customer the opportunity to purchase. Lucky them.
Mindset shift two: Closing wouldn’t be so darn scary if we did it all the time. We call it “Closing for Commitment” at Factor 8 and it’s a Sales Bar favorite. It’s all about getting a customer to say “yes” before the call is over. This increases mindshare and keeps your deals moving faster than when we let them fade away, go dark, and we start over trying to connect again.
Gong did some really cool research recently (as usual) and shared that deals that close the fastest spend 1.53x more time talking about the next steps on the first call than other deals did. In fact, close rates decline 71% when the next steps are not covered on the first call.
So closing the first call is more important than closing on the last. Assuming the next steps as a closing technique is super smart! And yup, closing is a process, not an event.
If we would get in the habit of asking more trial closes, tie-downs, and commitment-gaining questions on each call, more deals would close and close faster. We’d also build muscle memory so it wouldn’t be so darn scary asking for the final order. Know where your prospect is all during the cycle so you’re not surprised at the end you have a tire-kicker, folks.
CSO Insights supports this with a stat of 26% of deals not closing because we’re not aligned with the buyer’s needs before we try to close. That’s a pretty big loss reason. Whoops.
Closing throughout means asking more questions and aligning. In fact, you’re doing customers a disservice if you’re moving too fast or too slow. Back to the restaurant… Ever been annoyed by the chatty waitress who you wish would just put in your order?!
Figure out what you can close each call and start immediately.
Not sure about your go-to close? What kinds of commitments to close for? Come join our Virtual Sales Training Masterclass! We cover lots of the data above + some great go-to closes in our course, “Closing Confidently”. “Proposing with Value” shows how we present solutions, tie to customer value and then close. Of course “Getting Deals Moving” (aka “Closing for Commitment”) is included, and we’ve also thrown in “Overcoming Objections” (another key time to close that we usually miss!)
It’s probably time for a brush-up. We’ll serve it up with a mindset shift, some live collaboration, and lots of fun at The Sales Bar. See you there!