Salespeople used to be taught to close for the business. Much of what they were taught was ridiculous then and would be even worse if used now. It’s malpractice to teach salespeople closing techniques from five decades ago. If you think buying has changed over the last decade because of the Internet, know that people have changed even more over the last five decades when it comes to their relationship with salespeople. They don’t suffer tricks—or the salespeople who employ them—lightly.
But when salespeople were being taught to close for the business, at least they were being taught to ask for the deal. They were being provided with the direction that they were to ask for the business, and they were being provided with the language.
The closing techniques of the past may be dead, but the need to ask for the business isn’t.
No Tricks, Just Natural, Honest Language
You are right to resist old school closing techniques, especially if they came out of a book with a yellow cover. If the close has the name of a great figure from history or some other clever title then it is no longer useful for salespeople in a B2B sales setting.
You can’t sell like you are selling cars in 1974 and also be a value-creating trusted advisor by today’s standards (the standard B2B salespeople should be aiming for).
Instead of tricks, just use honest, natural language and ask for the business. Professional salespeople politely and professionally ask for the business. In a complex B2B sale, it might something like this:
“Thanks for letting me present our solution today. What we put together will help you achieve the outcomes that you shared with us over this process. I want you to know that we will own and deliver our part of those outcomes. If we’ve done enough to earn your business, I’d like to ask you for the opportunity help with this project. Have we done enough, and if we have, can we have the opportunity to partner with you on this? We want your business.”
The truth here is that your dream clients want to work someone that really wants their business. They want to work with someone who is going to own the outcomes that they need. By asking for the business directly, you demonstrate that you really want your client’s business and that you are likely to be as direct in helping them achieve their goals.
You may draw objections and concerns here, but if they exist, you need to know what they are so that you can overcome them. If you don’t get the answer you want, you’ll have to work on resolving your dream client’s concerns, but you shouldn’t leave the meeting without saying something like this: “We want really want the opportunity to work with you, and we won’t let you down.”
That language assumes a more complex sale. In a transactional sale, you can ask for the business much earlier in the sales process. You can also ask much more directly, mostly because there is less value to be created through the sales process. You might use something like this:
“We know enough to get started helping you in this area. Is there something that we can help you with right now? Is there an order I can start working on for you now?
Why aren’t salespeople being taught to close or ask for business?
Why aren’t the closing techniques of the past useful now?
How do you ask for your dream client’s business in a way that builds trust?
What is you best closing language choice?