I’ll be the first to admit that some people have this skill innately and some don’t.
What I refuse to acknowledge is that it’s not possible for everyone to learn to do this.
I was riding with one of my reps today. We were going into an account he claimed he was “stalled” in. He said the buyer was giving him the runaround and was “hard to work with.” He said he needed me to play the part of “big guns” and get this thing moving. This rep really needs to read the post about who is to blame in these types of situations.
I told him I’m not actually the big guns, and that the easiest path to taking the order is leveraging the relationship he’s built with the customer and his reputation thus far.
So we go into the account. The banter is friendly. We showed the buyer a new idea as we always do. The customer then voiced a desire for a related product, and bam, we’re off and running on a general conversation about a few different kinds of products we sell. 2 or 3 different opportunities came up and we made plans to help the customer on a future visit.
At the end of the call my rep asked for an order and a specific item they needed came up. It’s a new item we’ve never sold and the customer was on the fence about buying.
The buyer asked his shipping guy if they should try 10 cases from us. Clearly my guy had done an ok job in his first few visits because they were openly discussing giving him business.
If you are new to sales, remember this: anytime anyone discusses buying from you IN FRONT OF YOU, that’s a clear indicator of interest. You’re very close to making a sale.
So they’re clearly interested, but they were hemming and hawing a little bit because they’ve had consistent quality with the current vendor.
This hesitance is totally understandable. You can’t take it personally. Would you trust someone with a big order if you’ve only seen them 3 or 4 times when you’ve been buying from the current vendor with no problems for years?
You will if the salesperson inspires confidence.
So I’m watching these 2 guys, sitting together on the “about to order” fence.
It looked like a real easy pitch so I took a swing and said this:
“Let’s do this guys: We’ll run the 10 cases for you and drop ship them directly in here. You test them and make sure the quality is what we promised. If it’s good and you approve, we’ll put 20 cases on our floor for next day delivery every time. We’ll never have a lead time again. Does that sound good?”
I painted a very clear picture of what the next few orders would look like. I took the doubt and natural fear of making a change out of the equation. I built immediate trust. It wasn’t even that big of a deal….it was just a clear description of what was coming next!
They said that sounded good. We took a huge order.
It was easy. 🙂
In that moment, I realized something about my personal sales style. I don’t really “close” for business by asking someone to do something.
Instead I paint an attractive, clear picture of the reality I want to live in. I make it sound easy and painless…and I simply invite people to join me there.
Fortunately for me…they often do.
“Did you want to get that going?” — is terrible. It allows their minds to run wild with all of the possibilities…and change is frightening.
The next time you’re trying to figure out how to close a deal, try this instead:
1.) Make sure your approach was high value and you’ve built a good reputation so that you’re in the position of strength when the opportunity to close arises.
2.) Describe the reality you want to create in a way that benefits the client and invite them to join you. If you describe it well, they’ll join you more often than not.
Good selling my friends.