The Sales Cycle – Part 3

The Close

Arguably, it is the most discussed, digested, bisected, over-analyzed and over-emphasized step of any sales cycle.

It can make or break careers, businesses, and lives; fill one with a feeling of immense power and expansive invulnerability when successfully concluded or when it slips away, bring even the strongest to their knees with feelings of personal insignificance and incompetence.

But, what nobody is talking about is this:

The close is the easiest of all the steps in the sales cycle.

If you have done your pre-closing steps to their proper result; then it is simply the final step in a sequence of logical gradients leading to a desirable end point.

Done properly, you won’t be able to stop the customer from buying what you’re selling. You just have to get out of the way and they’ll close themselves.

Often there is so much fixated focus on the sales closing step that too many sales people skip over the prior steps as if they were unimportant.  Then they find that the close is like pulling teeth out of a wounded water buffalo stuck in quicksand!

So what is a close anyway?

a) A “close” means: The end of an activity, period of time, spoken word or written text. (Note: It is a noun)

b) To “close” means: To bring to an end, or bring something to an end; to complete a transaction successfully. (Note: it is an action verb)

In common sense terms, the close is a word that simply means to shut the door on any further competition; to stop selling and start delivering on your promises and to bring to a conclusion all the previous steps.

That particular sales cycle has come full circle and you’re ready to begin a new one all in a new unit of time.

The sales cycle is composed of logical steps each requiring a set of actions to be completed successfully.  When you find yourself or the client hung up at one or another of the steps, here is one fact you should know:

The step you’re having trouble with is never the problem!

Increasing the pressure, force, heavy emotion and bullying techniques to get through the step you’re having trouble with will never get you through to a final close.

Why? Because – it’s the wrong step.

What is wrong is an earlier step was not completed fully. This concept is based on a proven principle of life: You must learn to walk before you run.

What should you do? Return to the step that you missed and handle that one first. Then come forward, step-by-step. The final sales closing step is no more or less difficult than any other step if you do it the easy way: Step by step by step.

Selling is largely mental

The truth is, selling is largely a mental endeavor. All the top professionals I’ve known in this field estimate it to be at least 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical.

It doesn’t really require much physical strength or agility, but as with any game, it does require a certain level of intelligence and mental agility to win.

While it is not exactly rocket science, there are certain specific fundamentals of selling that are on the same order of magnitude and importance as those found in the physical sciences, that will help increase your win/loss ratio once you know and apply them.

As any experienced salesman will tell you, every sale goes through a nearly predictable series of stages or steps, similar in all sales.

Each one of these major steps has a definite recognizable point that must be concluded expertly to avoid the risk of jeopardizing the entire effort. The sales process evolves and develops to the eventual close as it progresses, or it fails.  There is no middle ground.

The seven basic steps of every successful sale are as follows:

0. Prepare for the sales process, mentally and physically, including clarifying the purposes of the sales person.

1. Identify, contact and engage prospect

2. Discover common ground, client purposes and/or problems and qualify.

3. Present your product or service

4. Handle objections and strengthen understanding

5. Summarize benefits and reinforce purposes

6. Closing the sale

7. Complete the paperwork

Note that step “0” – the purposes of the salesperson – is included so it is not ignored, as it is one of the most important steps on the process.

Remember that none of the Seven Steps is less important than any other. None can be skipped or neglected. Also, the process cannot be reduced any further and still hope to achieve the desired result.

If you can get the idea that selling is really just this simple, layers of complexity and stress begin to fall away and you’ll see that it is easy, fun and profitable.

Learn, practice and use it.

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2002-2030, all rights reserved

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: