How often in the sales vernacular do we refer to the Close?
“One more week and I’ll close that one.” “I closed a big one today”. Or, “Let’s figure out how we can close this one.” Same thing with the phrase Pitch. Ugh. Are we really trying to put one past them?
Countless tapes and books on making “The Close” have been written and recorded; you likely have plenty on your bookshelf. For most sales reps the entire sales process is built around the Close.
Here’s the problem: prospects and clients know it and anticipate that the main reason we’re talking to them is to close them.
Put another way, to twist them, coerce them, leverage, elbow, fool, finesse, convince, persuade or otherwise cram a deal down their throat regardless of whether it’s good for them or not. Hey, I need the commission? Little wonder that the public perception of sales professionals is just north of politicians.
The Close worked when buyer’s choices were limited. The Close worked when prospects were less digitally aware of the options available to them. Closing was the prevalent sales strategy when salespeople lacked awareness that the relational equity they manage to create with the prospect is directly proportional to the number of opportunities they are able to “Open” with clients and customers, not for the number of deals they close.
Open is the new Close
Closing is dead – you close the lid to a coffin. You close a door. You close yourself off from society. You close a negotiation. Close a business, close the books, close the conversation, or close an opportunity. To the contrary, Guess Free Selling provides the structure and process for Opening.
Open a conversation, opening questions, open communication, opening opportunities, open understanding; opening business relationships, opening an account.
GFS is focused first and foremost on providing our counterpart with the perception of confidence and confidentiality that leads to conversations revealing their fundamental motivation for wanting to change, improve or innovate around the goods or services that we provide… or not.
But getting to the inevitable outcome in an open and direct a manner as possible: “is it yes or is it no?”
Furthermore, we do it without getting in the way of the conversation with irrelevant information or questions that neither create self-discovery nor move the process forward to a decision. The worst sin we can commit as salespeople is ignorance of the prospect’s desired outcome, or to fog up the conversation with our own self-interest that causes lost focus and crowds their vision with things they neither want or care about. Never, never assume; stay Guess Free.
Open means that we are careful to remove any “in-the-ways” from the process that could distract or derail our prospect or client from giving up the information needed to direct them to the buying decision via the most direct and unambiguous route.
After all, we’re supposed to be the experts in providing a broad and open workspace for the prospect to think out loud, and provide the type of control and guidance on an as needed basis to draw the map to the sale as quickly or cleanly as possible, – even if the answer is “No Sale”. Whatever their decision, we want to get through the process as efficiently, effectively, and quickly as possible.
Finally, open also means we are open to whatever develops regardless of the decision without letting our egos get in the way. It’s not good enough to simply walk away after a Yes or No decision and not know why. We need to “know the Yes” and “know the No”.
The marketplace changes so rapidly that our focus is on developing a relationship with the prospect such that we are comfortable asking about their decisions, and they are comfortable answering us truthfully, even if it hurts. By engendering that kind of confidence with your prospects and customers they will reveal the most intimate facts about why the proposition succeeded or failed, along with other necessary information our organizations need to know to adapt if necessary. You need to know because today’s salesperson is on the razors edge of market development and is responsible for informing their organization with intelligence on how to remain relevant and innovative.
Close is when you got the hard No, the “don’t come back, it’s over”, the “never-ever”. Open is beginning of the relationship and the opportunity.
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