Closing: The Ability to Ask For and Obtain Commitments
The attributes a successful salesperson must possess and develop are built upon the foundational success attributes covered in the last ten posts. These foundational attributes include self-discipline, optimism, competitiveness, initiative, resourcefulness, determination, caring, empathy and emotional intelligence, communication, and influence. Success in sales depends first on developing these attributes.
The next ten posts will cover the sales-related attributes and abilities that a salesperson must possess in order to succeed in sales. These sales-related attributes are built upon the foundational attributes.
The first sales-related attribute is Closing.
What is Closing?
Closing is the act of obtaining commitments.
Too often closing is thought of only as the act of obtaining the commitment to buy. It is mistakenly viewed as the final activity in the sales cycle. But closing is the act of obtaining commitments, including all of the decisions that advance the sale, and especially the commitment to open the relationship.
In the past, I have written that opening is, in many ways, more important than closing. But the act of opening a relationship is itself a form of closing; it is a commitment to explore the possibility of moving forward together.
Closing in Sales
Great salespeople have the ability to obtain commitments that move deals forward. This begins with the commitment to open the possibility of working together.
Great salespeople know how to ask for the commitment to move forward without using tactics and/or tricks of any kind.
Instead, great salespeople know how to create value for the client on every sales encounter. They leverage this ability to link the value they create to future value creation and to obtain the commitment to create together that future value.
Great salespeople ask for the commitment to move forward, and they ask for alternative commitments when they cannot obtain the original commitment they asked for.
Great salespeople ask for the deal. Knowing that they have created value during every sales encounter, knowing they have worked to fully understand the prospect’s needs before proposing a solution, having revised their solution to meet the needs of all of the prospect’s stakeholders, the salesperson knows that they can naturally, comfortably ask for the commitment to move forward.
Without the ability to close and obtain commitments, the salesperson cannot obtain the commitment necessary to open the possibility of working together with their prospects.
Without the ability to close and to obtain commitments, salespeople cannot advance a deal forward from one stage of the sales cycle to the next.
Without the ability to create value for the prospect or client on every sales call, a salesperson cannot easily earn a future appointment, a future value-creating event.
Without the ability to close effectively, the salesperson tries to rely on closing tactics and tricks that are unnatural and that violate the prospect’s trust.
Closing is the first skill or attribute a salesperson must possess. Not because they need to be able to close a deal, but because they need to obtain the commitment to open the possibility of working together, which is the first and most critical commitment the salesperson must obtain. Great salespeople obtain commitments that move the deal through the sales and buying process.
Salespeople obtain commitments only after they have created value for the prospect of client, and they close for the commitment to create future value together.
1. Do I have the ability to create enough value on every sales encounter to be able to obtain the commitment to move forward?
2. Are the commitments I attempt to obtain opportunities to create future value?
3. Do I close in a natural way, after having created value, without having to rely on any tactical or trick closing techniques?
4. Do I have a range of optional commitments that I can obtain based on the value that was created on each sales encounter?