Closing Time! Waterboarding Your Prospects For Commitment

If only we could invite prospects and clients to the office and then whisk them into the interrogation room for some water-boarding and fingernail therapy on the last day of the quarter. That would get results... surely more effective than discounting and begging.

I've seen it all and it's not pretty. The boss, two levels above and based overseas, issues the edict: 'Get the deal closed, discount but tell them it's time-bombed and the price goes up if they jerk us around, lean on the relationship, go sit in their reception area until they bring you the signed contract, phone them at home, winners find a way, use the goat close if you have to, coffee is for closers... 'selling is easy'.... yeah, right.

All that does is annoy your client, damage relationships and hammer a stake in the ground concerning the cheapest price they can get at the end of your next quarter. Here's the truth about closing in large enterprise sales environments: If you didn't set-up the deal right in the first place, all you're going to do is cause damage if you push for the order when the customer is not ready to buy.

Understand the customer's process and timing. Build a project alignment plan to validate every step through to them being live and implemented, deriving the business benefits of your solution. Hope is not a strategy so instead act as if you are a project manager... a real professional.

Everyone wants to hire 'closers' but closing is a process that starts from the very first interaction... it's not a roll of the dice, apply the blow-torch, kneel in prayer kind of event at the end of a roller-coaster ride with the prospect. Professional selling is all about relationships of trust focused on the creation of value, navigating politics and processes to deliver outcomes that are good for all concerned... except your competition! The very best sales people and sales manager understand that opening is more important closing because it sets the agenda.

I've written previously about why you deserve to be fired in sales. Almost all the stress in closing is caused by not being across the detail of your deal, or not having real understanding of their timing and process. Maybe you're oblivious as to who is really making the decision and who needs to sign-off. And now for your viewing pleasure, and to put you in mood.... it's closing time.

Not really... focus on opening time instead, close early for commitment and mutual actions... it's a dance in which both buyer and seller need to engage and where both take turns leading. Waltz together creating mutual trust and compelling value and also understand the politics and processes on both sides to make win/win a reality instead of a cliche. Is your coach in the deal someone who has real power? The biggest mistake sales people make is that they build relationship with the wrong people.

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Main image photo by Flickr: Andres Rodriguez