When I was in sales, the hardest concept for me to grasp was closing the sale. Yes….call me a slow learner but it’s true!
I thought if I knew my product better than my competition, if I was better at relationships than my competition, if I did a better job than my competition on selling the features and benefits of my product then I would get the sale automatically.
That didn’t work!
I tried everything I could possibly think of, but I can tell you that I most often gravitated toward pricing. Meaning that the excuse I would use that the customer wasn’t buying from me was because of the price of my product. Now because I worked for a large corporation, I had no control over the price. So since I couldn’t change that, I could change my sales presentation and make it a compelling argument of why my product was the best value for the price.
Talk about missing the mark and, oh, by the way, missing the sale!
How do you earn the right to Close the sale?
It wasn’t until I began to understand that as a salesperson we have to earn the right to close a sale. It is not only one compelling sales presentation that gives you the right to close, but a combination of multiple things.
Initially, my definition of earning the right to close was this:
If I do my homework and learn as much about my customer as I can, then I should be able to close the sale.
Uh, NO, that didn’t work either!
Then, I thought if I asked some really great open-ended questions about my customer’s buying habits, then I should be able to give them enough information to be able to close the sale.
Uh, NO, wrong again!
Only when I changed my way of thinking and truly embraced the concept that “it wasn’t about me” but about the customer did I begin to understand the concept of earning the right to close.
It sounds kinda crazy I know, however I started to think about my own buying habits and what actually “pushed my buttons.”
Putting myself in the customers’ shoes, by buying shoes.
I love to shop!
I love fashionable clothes, jewelry and most of all shoes!
However, I hate to shop at large department stores where, I might add, I can get wayyyyy more for my money! Instead, I like to shop at Boutiques. Now honestly the items in the boutiques I shop in can probably easily be found in the large department stores. However, my preference is smaller, more intimate settings instead of ‘large, high quantity, lots of options’ settings.
What Victoria knows, and I’d missed.
Well as I began to examine why, here are a few things that came to mind:
The salespersons, (Hillary, Leah and Victoria) all from three different boutiques know my name when I walk in. Not only do they know my name, they know what size I wear and I will hurt them if they tell! They know that too! You see, I am comfortable with them.
They also know my style…slightly edgy but definitely conservative…Black, White, Black, White…Brown and OCCASIONALLY a little POP of COLOR! I have confidence in them.
They also go out of their way to call me when they get something in they think I will like. No pressure, just a quick phone call saying if I want to come by they just got in something that reminded them of me. By the way, sometimes I go and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I need what they are selling and sometimes, I don’t.
Here is the secret I want to share with you:
Enough about you. Let’s talk about me.
Hillary, Leah and Victoria are way smarter than me! And this is what they do:
When I walk into their stores they ask about me. They know where I work, what I do and all about my children. They have truly gotten to know me!
They are interested in me. They have made a genuine effort to build a relationship with me. It truly shows that they love what they do and want to get to know their customers.
They have earned my trust! They quite comfortably tell me when the edgy, yet conservative outfit is too small or too big for me. They tell me if what I try to pair together is all wrong or all right. Never do they try to sway me towards the more expensive piece but yet to the item that is more….me!
When they show me these really awesome new jeans they got in and I say I really don’t need a 10th pair of jeans they respectfully move on. They don’t try to push me into purchasing something I either don’t need or even want!
Now I recognize, I digressed into my shopping mode…did I mention I love to shop?
The 3 keys to earning the sale.
All of that to say- only when I started to examine my own buying habits did the true understanding of earning the right to close come to light! Meaning all the sales jargon from Selling 101 finally made sense. So here are a few of my key learning’s:
Is the customer comfortable with me? Some of the ways you can tell this is by asking yourself:
- Do they accept my phone calls?
- Do they welcome me into their office?
- Are they attentive to me when I call on them or are they rushing me out of their office?
Does the customer have confidence in me?
- Do they ask me questions about my product?
- Do they ask my opinion of how the product would work in their business?
- Do they ask how others in the market use my product?
Does the customer really need what I sell?
- Do I know enough about my customer’s business to make that determination?
- Does my product truly offer a benefit to the customer?
Now if you can answer yes to all three of the questions above you are definitely on the right tract!
If you answered no to any of the questions then my challenge to you is to go out to your customers and get them comfortable with you, build confidence and determine what their real needs are. Get to know them and quit worrying about booking the sale. Stop making your sales call about you and truly make it about your customer.
The sale will come once you earn the right to close!
I am truly interested in hearing your success stories. Please share with us your progress on truly getting to know your customer. I can’t wait to hear what works for you!!
And oh by the way, we still have lots of work to do before we
EARN the RIGHT to Close!
Look for upcoming posts on other important steps in Earning the Right to Close.