By Jeff Shore

Closing Dirty Words

Do you find “closing” to be a dirty word?

If so, you’ve got trouble. Big trouble.

It has nothing to do with the word (which I will break down below), but rather the connotations surrounding the act of closing. The term is merely a trigger. The real issue is, if you feel that asking for the sale is distasteful, you’ve got problems.

From time to time I will hear this comment from a salesperson: “I want to avoid being rude or disrespectful to the customer.” (In other words, “I don’t want to ask for the sale.”)

Here’s my take. If you want to disrespect your customer, try this: force them to ask you the buying question. Wait for them to come to you – hat-in-hand – asking permission to buy. Talk about discomfort for your customer. That’s just plain mean.

The job of the sales professional is to make it easy for the customer to buy. Forcing them to ask the question is anything but easy.

The Etymology of “Closing”

I’ll admit that the very term “closing” is an odd word. When I was researching my latest book, Closing 2.0 – How to Close More Deals by Putting the Customer First, I researched the etymology of the term; namely, why do we use the word “closing” to describe the process of asking for the sale?

You know what? No one really knows. There are guesses at best, but no definitive reason for the use of the word closing.

I only know that if I were writing sales theory from scratch I would use a different word: agreement. Closing can carry the idea of an action I do to a customer. Agreement implies this is something I do for and with a customer.

The Mindset Change

Putting the pieces together, consider this mental check-up:

  • Do I see closing as a part of the service I provide to my customer?
  • Am I continually finding points of agreement throughout the sales conversation, so as to develop a decision-making rhythm for my customer?
  • Is my closing approach customer-centered?

Note that all questions focus on what really matters: the customer.

Call it what you want – closing, agreement…whatever. Just know that your job is to make it easy for the customer to buy.