Sales Process

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.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Andres Rodriguez

How To Master The Art & Science of Strategic Social Selling

The secret to mastering social selling is to study what came before. The future is just a little history repeating. Have you thoroughly studied all the below listed or just Challenger? There are strategies and there are tactics. Social selling unto itself is simply a tactic. You're pushing on a rope. Dig deeper into this post to unlock decades of learning, quantum leaping you into a focused syllabus for powerhouse sales acceleration. 

You must read Challenger but what about everything that informed that method? Sink your teeth into these, infuse your social selling efforts with both art and science – the combination will be lethal: 

  • TAS
  • SPIN
  • Miller Heiman
  • Huthwaite
  • RSVPselling
  • Battle Plan
  • Solution Selling
  • Consultative Selling
  • Insight Selling
  • Strategic Selling
  • Power Base Selling
  • Diagnostic Business Development
  • Trigger Event Selling

People buy from those they know, like and trust. You can't start the relationship by bombastic disrespect. Lead with insight but build rapport before you challenge. I truly love the Rain Group's, "Connect, Convince, Collaborate" trifecta for a modern Sales Eagle approach.

Now go back into the new methodologies and mash them together with SOCIAL. Ask yourself, why the Challenger craze? Well, the SPIN craze preceded it. Why? But what preceded that?

History repeats in all human systems and ignorance is bliss as simpleton social sellers pummel through the bowling pins like a bull in a China shop without understanding the ramifications on the political system that's in play. 

If you seek to close the CMO of Coca-Cola and all your competitors seek them out too, going in and adding every executive in the company will simply stall the deal, trigger a frenemy and tip off the enemy. You've got to be a great deal smarter than that. 

I supply a summary of the evolution and history of modern sales in my first book,The Joshua Principle, so please leverage it as a resource to understand where I believe sales is going. In a phrase:

Strategic Social Selling WITH the phone

The basics and fundamentals won't work in navigating complex enterprise deal cycles in social media. The tools and tactics in LinkedIn Navigator alone need to be informed by an overarching and comprehensive attack strategy with lucid close plans that take many subtle factors into account. 

You can gain these nuances with 30 years in the field or simply read the history of sales, the memoirs of complex sales lions. Study them as the Pantheon, the greats and take a Socratic approach. Ask why? Implement them in the field, A/B test them as a sales scientist and devise your own hermetically sealed strategy. 

It boils down to this... You've been sold to your whole life and for big ticket purchases what were you thinking? Put yourself in their shoes. Understand their viewpoint. That's the simplicity and code crack of all strategic selling. The above methods will simply help you to understand a gestalt almost anthropomorphic in nature that is the beast of the modern bureaucratic government or large enterprise so it's navigable at long last. You must understand the motivations, intentions and ebbs and flows in the strongholds of power. 

What are they really thinking? Riddle me that! 

Now it's your turn: How are you elevating social selling? How are you truly making it strategic? What system or systems did you leverage before that are giving you cut-through in the new channels? Are you executing a cohesive close plan that takes into account the correct consensus or ultimate decision maker? Are you leveraging a mixture of strategies triangulated at both technical and business oriented groups? 

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website:

Main image photo by Flickr: Christopher Michel