As business leaders and professionals, sales and negotiations are always part of our daily business activities. With this responsibility comes the crucial part of all sales and negotiations conversations; The Close. There is a hard fact that we mostly agree on – ‘Coffee is for Closers’.
Why do I say that?
The Closer Intention
There are so many times that I can across sales and negotiations scenarios where we start a conversation with the intention of a close. This is predominantly along the lines of reaching a win/win situation where a prospect buys our product/service, we upsell/cross-sell additional products/services to an exiting client or we arrive at a mutually agreed decision with a stakeholder.
In most cases, ‘win/win’ or ‘mutual’ are important operative words that could break or make The Close.
Missing The Boat
I however notice that there are instances where we don’t make the intention, journey or process clear to the prospect/client or stakeholder; right from the start of the conversation. This is a number one pitfall or trap that comes back to bite us towards the later stages of the conversation as we approach The Close.
A common observation is that the salesperson has the journey/process mapped clearly in their mind but they fail to communicate and get a clear prospect buy-in at the out set. This keeps the prospect in the dark and hinders our chances of getting a ‘yes’ at every stage of the conversation; all the way to The Close.
Your No. 1 Recommendation
The tried and tested way I’ve seen successful salespeople and negotiators approach this is to lay out the intention, process and possible outcomes of the conversation right from the start. This is done as soon as a prospect has been qualified and we are certain that we are about to embark of a full sales/negotiation process.
It’s also important that the scene is set such that the prospect is aware that at some point within the process, if or when it’s mutually agreed that a proposed solution is the best fit to address an identified pain point/problem of the prospect, then the would be asked to become a client. Check out my latest free Ultimate Sales Development Guide to help with mapping out your sales process faster.
This approach ensures that The Close is a natural progression of the conversation. It eliminates situations where the prospect seems to have been put off-guard. It also encourages the prospect’s participation in The Close as opposed to instances when they may be on the defensive, sitting on the fence or trying to fish out objections.
Coffee is for Closers
Remember, when a clear intention and process is set out and mutually agreed at the start of a sales conversation, there is usually a mutual understanding. This leads to win/win situations and a participatory close with the prospect. It validates a best in class sales professional who has developed their skills and innate abilities to turn prospects into clients fast and effortlessly. It also demonstrates that a well-managed prospect journey leads to deeper relationships and longer term clients.
Exponential business growth lies in organisations’ ability to enable professionals to develop individually and collectively into great win/win closers.
Oh and a huge kudos to sales leaders and managers who personally serve coffee to these great closers occasionally!
The importance of service leadership in outstanding sales organisations; who are known for consistently over-achieving quotas and building long-term client portfolios, cannot be over-emphasised.
Maggie Sarfo is a passionate author, advisor and mentor for ambitious business executives, entrepreneurs and professionals looking to explode sales revenue, create new markets or access their highest potential. Her blog is her playground, where she explores the topics of business growth, personal growth and peak performance. Download Your Free eBook – Evolution of the Buyer.