Could this practice have anything to do with the sales profession being the least respected profession of all?
The world of sales has always revolved around the seller — in our case, this would be you, the search consultant — and your products or services, features, brand and so on. Too many salespeople still do dog-and-pony shows and apply all kinds of closing tricks from the puppy dog close to the take away close.
(Some simply open a cold call with the sure loser: “Do you have any jobs that need to be filled.” But that’s a topic for another day.)
Too many consultants believe everyone can be sold or closed — qualified or not. They stick with their “tried and untrue” sales and closing techniques, many of which do them more harm than good.
What effect does this have on the buyer? It gets their guard up, or their telephone slammed down.
Yet we still hear that if you don’t apply closing techniques, there is no sale. How buyer friendly is that?
No Buyer, No Sale
First of all, without a buyer there is no sale. Buyers today can buy anything they want without a salesperson wasting their time — the #1 complaint about salespeople.
In this new economy of buyers salespeople need to be buyer focused, tapping into the buying motives of the buyer. It has to be about the buyer — not the seller, your products, services or brand.
Closing the sale is no longer a technique, but part of a process to engage and empower buyers to buy from you. You do that by being client focused — engaging buyers by first gaining their trust and building a relationship. Building and maintaining the relationship, not the closing of a sale, should be your primary objective.
People buy from, and refer friends to people they trust; people they have a relationship with. First they must buy you. If done properly, you will never have to close again because they will buy from you.
Once rapport has been established and a relationship created you must qualify the buyer for buying motives, financial ability, decision making and timing. This will help you determine if the buyer is qualified, and if there is a fit between your product or services and their needs, budget and timing. Even before you get to this point, though, you’ve done your homework and know the essentials about your prospect.
If there is no fit, there is no need to close or use closing techniques — they are not qualified so don’t waste your time or theirs. Be honest. Tell them you cannot help them, unless you can refer them to someone who can. As a minimum, maintain the relationship for future opportunities and referrals.
If they are qualified, proceed to give them a prescription — solutions specific to their needs.
The experience of having a buyer buy, versus you closing them, creates a stronger and longer lasting relationship. Combine this with added value and you have a formula that will lead to more referrals and a secondary sales force.
So, what do you think? Do closing techniques still work?