When I say closing the sale, what image comes to mind?
Why is closing sometimes viewed as a dirty thing?
Because for years, closing has been taught by so-called experts as being all about manipulation. The gist of that horrible training has been based on a simple philosophy. “You know what, Mr. Customer, I think you’re stupid enough for me to manipulate you into buying my product.” You’ve got to choose which side of the line you are on, my friends.
I reject manipulation as a legitimate sales approach. I’m going on the assumption that you feel the same way.
We’re all anti-manipulation, but we may still have a problem. The problem is the tendency to overreact. “I don’t wanna be manipulative, so instead, I’ll just, I’ll sit back and just let the sale happen and the customer will let me know when they are ready to buy.”
No, no, no.
You see, there is something of a continuum here. On the one hand, you have manipulation, doing whatever it takes to get the sale, even if you have to abuse the customer to do it. But on the other hand, you have what we call yielding. That’s giving in and letting the customer drive the process. I would argue that there are times when we have to be what I call respectfully pushy.
I know, pushy has a bad rep.
But look at it this way. Suppose your kid was about to run into a busy street and you saw a car coming.
You had a choice to push your kid out of the way. Would you do it? Of course, you would. So when is it appropriate to be pushy? When it is in the best interest of your customer. Sometimes they need the nudge.
Now, the question is, where is the sweet spot? Somewhere between manipulation and yielding, how do you know you are acting appropriately?
Consider the persuasion progression. What has to happen before we can persuade someone to do that which is in their best interest? You need to have two things in place, trust, and understanding.
The trust comes through a solid rapport and a desire to help. Without it, good luck even getting your customer to even listen to your advice, let alone heed that advice. And the understanding comes through your deep and curious discovery. You have to really want to know what your customer is experiencing.
When those two elements are in place, you can now be helpfully pushy. I’ll give you an example.
My accountant, Michael Senadenos, who I’ve consulted with for a long, long time, knows what’s in my best interest and he knows that I have a short attention span. Michael’s tendency is to look at it and say, “Listen, Jeff, you got three options as to how do you want to use this. Options one and two don’t make sense. Option three is the way to go. Do you wanna know what they are?”
Now, because there’s so much trust that I have in him, I’m like, “No, not really.” He says, “Good, ’cause it would be stupid for you to go to one and two.”
All right, maybe that’s a little bit over the top the way that it plays, but the gist of it is there. Michael pushes me in what he considers to be the best direction. Ultimately, it’s still my decision to make, but if I’m about to make a bad choice, he stands there to let me know. That’s what I pay him to do.
We can look at that in sales using a three-part model. Trust, understanding, and persuasion.
It might sound something like this. “You know, I do this a lot and I pride myself on service above everything else. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and I have a clear understanding of both the problem and the solution. I know when it’s right and I know when it’s not right. In this case, it’s definitely right for you. I think this is a decision you should make right now. Agree?”
Now, lots of different ways to word that, but you get the picture.
It’s time to close respectfully. That means no manipulation, but it also means nudging the customer to do what is in their best interest.
Speaking of acting in the best interest of others, I’d like to share with you something that is close to my heart. I am on the board of directors for an organization called The Gathering Inn, helping people get off the street into temporary supportive housing and then into permanent housing. It’s not just a matter of giving people a place to sleep. It’s a way to be able to help them in all areas with counseling, with addiction relief, whatever it’s going to take to get them into permanent housing.
This is something I’m passionate about, and as a way of giving back, Shore Consulting is donating 20% of all the proceeds from the Shore Store from now through the rest of the year. You can check out all of our books, our courses, and our merchandise. 20% of every sale will go to this amazing organization.
Until next time, learn more to earn more.