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Closing Skills & My Favourite Sales Joke

Here’s my favourite sales joke:

Two sales people, John and Margaret, meet at the water fountain.

John:  “I had three fantastic meetings today, my God they were good!”

Margaret:  “I didn’t sell anything either.”

The point is: a great presentation, or meeting, isn’t a sale.  Just because you thrilled ‘em doesn’t mean you killed ‘em.  If that were the case, then you would have closed a lot more deals than you have.

In fact sometimes sales people who present beautifully do not always have a great closing pedigree.  Their wonderful presentation skills may actually get in the way.

Consider this:

Salesman Wayne puts his heart and soul into the presentation.  His PPT looks like it was created by James Cameron.  His energy lights up the room like the opening ceremony in Beijing.  He knows more about the audience than the audience does.

Every stripe in his suit is lined up, his lucky socks are at full mast and at 6am in a poorly lit bathroom he got his hair just right – first time.

And in the presentation, he’s on fire.  He gets to the end of it, and with flushed cheeks and a broad smile he sits down almost expecting a standing ovation.  And his prospective clients almost want to give him one.

But he still doesn’t close.

The point is: Closing is more than a productive meeting with lots of nodding heads and smiles.

Closing is:

  • Isolating just those key points that mean the most to the prospect and really SELLING on those.
  • Asking an appropriate closing question in a confident manner – usually trial closing along the way.
  • Putting a closing plan together that clearly outlines next steps, who is responsible for them and gaining commitment.
  • Taking control!

To help you close, we have an exercise in our training where we reverse-engineer a meeting from the expected outcome, and run it backwards to the opening.  A bit like the movie Memento*.

It’s a fun exercise, and also highly informative:  It’s clear to see where you should be closing when you begin with the end in mind.  Most importantly the sales message slaps everyone in the face:  if you don’t start closing a lot earlier in the meeting then chances are you aren’t going to close at all.

The bottom line? If you are returning to the office time after time celebrating your fantastic meetings, yet your numbers are down, then the joke may be on you.

For the latest closing skills training, give us a call.  You’ll love how we can start making you more sales – not only after the training, but during the training as well.  That’s right – we close business and generate leads for you DURING our sales training.

* Voted by the worldwide public as the 26th best movie of all time.  My mate Adrian Doyle’s favourite movie – the atrocious, predictable, Walt-Disney-esque Shawshank Redemption – got the top vote.  Sigh. http://www.imdb.com/chart/top

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