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Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Closing is a Dysfunctional Selling Skill


In his blog

Mark Hunter offers advice on how ‘Closing’ [asking for continuance in this case] should be done when a Sales Call is going badly. The premise he uses for this is the “Try Harder”, “persist longer”,
the “never give up” Sales school.



Mark writes:


“It is essential to always remember there is no such thing as a final sales call. If a sale can’t be made, there is still a sale that can be made and that’s selling yourself and creating a next step.”




What is the Evidence Basis for this view?

Well, Top Sales Performers use the opposite approach.

They ask themselves what is the likelihood of winning this business?
Unless their chances are high [the algorithm they use I will write about at a later date] they cut and run.

Their most important resource is their TIME, and they don’t waste it, on unlikely sales.

Poor Sales Performers, on the other hand, don’t give up.

They flog dead horses. Poor Sales Performers appear to lack judgement,
they do not use an Algorithm.
They spend 4 times as much time on No-sales as Top Performers.

Mark then writes:

“Minimally, strive to agree on what is keeping the customer from making a decision to buy.
Doing this helps to clarify in both your mind and your customer’s mind where the issues are.”

This is a highly Dysfunctional Selling Skill!

Agreeing with a Customer’s Objection is called “Objection Reinforcement.”

This was used disastrously with the Positive-Negative Close.

“You’re too expensive!”
“Yes, we are expensive, and it’s this Price ‘exclusivity’ which many of our Customers enjoy!

Agreeing with ANY Customer objection reinforces the Objection.

Xerox PSS in the 1970’s used a step in Objection Handling called “Confirm and Isolate
e.g. “You believe we are expensive, is this the only reason why you won’t go ahead?”

Salespeople who used this were found to be 10 times less likely to get the business,
than Salespeople who missed this step out!


First of all recognise,
that YOU have most likely made mistakes both before, and during, the call.

Poor pre-call qualification, poor proposition or insight preparation or just poor selling skills during the call.

Don’t make it worse by “Reinforcing the Objection”,
or by causing further Objections through more ‘Closing’ or Commitment requests.


So, how can you manage the ending to a ‘difficult’ call?


DISAGREE with what is keeping you apart,
ask for a time-out and a new appointment.


Give a positive reason for the next meeting,
see three great selling skills that really work.

And, finally if you did a good job in the Call, and it did not payoff, use the Algorithm “Move on!”

Sometimes Your Cheese really has Moved!

Be the Type of Salesperson who uses an Evidence base to Support their Sales Behaviours, not speculation.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sales, a Job for Life! Part Two


Why some Sales people consistently outperform others.

Transferable Selling Skills are not COMMON sense.

If the skill is just “COMMON” in Sales then it is usually “Common Nonsense.”



“The last thing the Sales Manager saw and heard
before the Salesperson won the business was the Salesperson Asking for the Order.”

The Sales Manager used inductive reasoning
and made note of what he had seen. 

He saw it again soon after.
Then, again and again.






Considering the “evidence” he had seen, the only conclusion he could draw,

by INDUCTIVE REASONING, was Asking for Orders, CAUSED Buyers to Buy!


He labelled this Sales Behaviour “Closing” –

Closing the Sale or Asking for the Order.

The Sales Manager left his job and became an independent Sales Trainer.
He called himself an “Expert” and claimed to have discovered the “Secret of Selling”.

BossLecturingHe promoted his Master Class in Selling under the Title

“Close the Sale!”

So sure was he about his “secret” that he offered a money back guarantee, if you did not win more sales by learning his secret!

Some people tried to claim their money back.
But, he simply said “It works for everybody else!”
And, then he added
You are not doing it properly,
with great confidence and a positive mental attitude
So, he did not refund their money.

But, he did carry out some more research.

He found that Closing did NOT always work, the first time,
so he altered the “secret” and said you have to ‘Close’ FIVE TIMES to win the Business.

His Training now said “you can’t close too early and you can’t close too often!
He developed many ‘types’ of Closing to give variety to the repetitive close five times!

The Assumptive, and the step by step,

The direct ask, and the indirect ask,

The alternative, and the trial close,

The Ben Franklin, and the Half Nelson close,

The Sharp-angle close, and the Positive-negative close.

His original 2 hour session was now a TWO DAY Sales Workshop called:
101 ways to Close the Sale, the SECRETS to Sales Success.”

He performed in larger and larger venues.
He was a Rock Star, and the show went from Teaching to Theatre.



He trained over 200,000 people.


His Sales Training ‘heirs’ have passed his secret on to Millions of Salespeople,

through several generations of Salespeople.

But, He never conducted the simplest of all research, a behavioural experiment:

“Do Salespeople who Close MORE often, SELL more,

  than Salespeople who Close LESS often?”

If he had conducted that experiment,
then he would have uncovered that:
People who ‘Close’ LESS often SELL MORE, and
People who ‘Close’ MORE often SELL LESS.

What he had been selling as “The Secret to Selling”,

was in fact, a DYSFUNCTIONAL Selling Skill.


If he had used Evidence Based Research, simple behavioural research,
instead of Inductive Reasoning, then he would have found that:

The most likely Buyer response to an “Early Close” is an OBJECTION.

He would have also been able to observe that:
the more often you close, the more objections you get!

And, he would have been able to empirically measure that:
the MORE Objections you get then, the LESS YOU SELL!!

When a Positive Attitude to Closing is displayed
by “Closing” too Soon and too Often then:

You do NOT succeed in Sales!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Sales, Jobs for life!


Nobody has a lifetime Contract of Employment,

which is strange because Employers want Customers for life.



How do we understand a “Job for Life” in 2013?

I believe it is found in the concept of “EMPLOYABILITY

An ‘employable’ person is one who has desired Skills and Competencies,
which they can use to generate Value for their Employers, they are always in demand.



From point A to point B

As a Sales “Employee” you have the right that your Employer shall at least maintain your current employability.

It is to their current benefit
and it is of vital future importance to YOU.

Employability, for a Salesperson, is having a Portfolio of transferrable Selling Skills,
which will enable you to bring Value to your Employer whoever that is.






If a Salesperson’s Selling Skills are developed and maintained,
then I believe they will have a job for life.

Selling skills, FUNCTIONAL Selling skills, serve as a good foundation for Management and a great foundation for General Management.

Insist that your Selling skills, hence your future EMPLOYABILITY are at the highest level.

If your current Employer will not do this, then before you lose what employability you have.
Leave and find an Employer willing to maintain your Selling skills.

clip_image004In all events, recognise that YOUR future employability,
YOUR Job for Life, rests in YOUR own hands.

Take actions to safeguard your employability, do it for yourself!