A bold statement. And it was said to me by a prospective client at our first meeting! As I heard him say this I was slightly taken aback and countered with, “That’s great to hear. I’m curious, though, what’s one skill you’d like to strengthen as we look at our potential collaboration together?”
He said, “I never really know how to close once I’ve delivered my presentation.”
Sales Have to Be Closed to Happen
My internal reaction was “but you JUST said that you are a great salesman!” Anyone in sales knows how important closing is and if you’ve worked with me, you know I work on effective and efficient deal closing until the skill becomes second nature. So, I asked him to give me an example of this challenge. He did and it became clear to me that he was not finding and staying in the pain. Here’s what I mean by that:
Closing Starts with Questioning
We ended up speaking at length about how exactly to probe a potential client to understand their goals and challenges. I stressed that if you ask the right questions, you will get the right answers that will help you tailor recommendations. I’ve said it before and said it to him….listen more, talk less. If you hear your own voice far more than that of your potential client, you are not learning…you are lecturing. Keeping them engaged in their pain points and getting deeper explanations through probing questions will open up possibilities for you to give short, precise counsel. And that will help you stand above your competition.
At the end of our meeting he confidently said: “This would help me close wouldn’t it?” I graciously said “Yes. You’re now ready to engage with anyone providing you listen first, recommend second.” This applies to you (and me), too. Make sure you prove to your client you’ve heard and understood them. This affirms your client. It says, ”knowing your world is essential to your understanding my world.”
Be in the pain with them and together, you’ll get out of it!
Are you a great salesperson? Regardless of your answer, what’s a skill you wish was stronger?