Episode #013: What Your Customer Thinks About Closing (Or Do They?) with James Muir
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
James Muir, author of The Perfect Close and national speaker, joins Jeff to discuss how to close. Do you worry about offending your customer by how you ask for the sale? Do you close deals but feel like you need a shower afterwards? This episode is a must listen for all sales professionals who want to take their closing skills to the next level.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
[2:45] Quote of the Day
[4:53] Sales Tip of the Day
[8:54] How much does the customer think about closing?
[10:46] 95% of the advice out there is crap
[12:58] Jeykll and Hyde
[15:22] Advancing the sale
[19:21] Gentle Nudge to the Assertive Shove
[23:58] Is a Skill problem or a Will problem?
[32:43] Motivational Summary
More about our guest James Muir:
James is the author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales. He is a nationally known speaker, having spoken for some of the largest names in technology and healthcare. He works with sales and service organizations to take their performance to a higher level.
Links from today’s podcast:
James’ Website (www.puremuir.com)
Jeff: Always be closing. Wait. Never be closing? Wait, here’s a thought. What does your customer want you to do? We’ll talk about it on this episode of “The Buyer’s Mind.”
Announcer: Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind” where we take a closer look deep inside your customer’s decision-making mechanism. To reverse engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Jeff: Well, welcome everyone to another edition of “The Buyer’s Mind” podcast where we investigate exactly what is going on in the brains of our customers, those who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a little stroll through the buyer’s brain. It’s about knowing your customer so well that that sale begins to roll out right in front of you. But we like to have fun along the way and celebrate this wonderful world of sales of which we all belong. I’m your host for the podcast, Jeff Shore. You can read the full bio in the show notes. Or, you can go over to visit jeffshore.com. You’ll see all the resources and books, then you can sign up for a Saturday morning newsletter as well. We welcome our show producer, Mr. Paul Murphy. Murph, how you doing today?
Murph: I’m doing fantastic. Good to be here.
Jeff: You know, Murph, when it comes to a sales person asking you if you wanna buy, just put on your consumer hat. Does that scare you? Does it bother you the thought that somebody’s going to ask you, “Do you wanna buy this?”
Murph: No, I mean if I wanna buy something, I’m hoping somebody will actually be there to help me with the whole process. Right? Because I can’t do it on my own. I need someone to help me with it. Which is what I think a sales person should be doing, right?
Jeff: Well, that’s the way we like to think of it. I think sometimes sales people are a little concerned about what their customer thinks. I sort of go at it with the idea that, as you said, if the sales person is not doing that, then it’s forcing you to do that on your own. I know we talked about this with Jeb Blount, right?
Murph: Yeah, we did. And the idea’s it’s a mutual benefit, right? They get the sale, I get the product that I’m looking to buy.
Jeff: Right. So there’s really, it’s who is this for? There’s that whole sense of intentionality. Is my intention to try and get the sale or is my intention to serve the customer? And I think for sales professionals, that’s really what it comes down to. It’s the idea that your motive is critical when it comes to asking for the sale and that’s what we’re going to focus in on today. Now, before I forget to mention it. I just want to make sure you’re staying with us until the end of the podcast because we always give something away at the end of, of each episode, no different today.
Here’s our quote of the day from the great Zig Ziglar. I think I read “See You at The Top” when I was 17 years old, a high school counselor gave it to me. And I remember reading this from the late Zig Ziglar. “You can get what you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Now, again, I read that quote when I was in high school and I can’t say that I fully understood it at the time, but then I wasn’t in sales at the time, either. Our job in sales is to help people get what they want. Now whether that means offering information, dealing with an objection, or just asking them to purchase. All of these fall under the category of helping people to get what they want. And, you do no favors if you are not making it easy for them to buy. And it’s really tough to buy when you’re not asked if that’s what you want to do. Not asking your customer if they would like to buy is kinda mean, it’s kinda rude. It’s putting all of the pressure on them to come back to you and ask permission. You can get what you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want. And I think it is up to us to make sure that we see the act of closing, of asking for the sale, as helping people to get what they want.
Well, we wanna let you know that the podcast is brought to you in part by our good friends over at Home Street Bank. This is not just a sponsor, this is my lender of choice. I actually used Home Street Bank in my last home purchase. And I have to tell ya, the smoothest transaction I’ve ever had and I’ve purchased a number homes. But, they were professional, they were dependable. Really great rates, great service. And if you are a real-estate professional listening today, you’re just not gonna find better people to work with in taking care of your clients. They could do it all: banking, home loans, credit lines, you name it. Just go to homestreetbank.com, you can learn more. That’s homestreetbank.com.
Now coming up in just a few moments, an interview with the author of “The Perfect Close,” Mr. James Muir. This is just such a great book. It is down to earth, it’s approachable, it’s a must read.
But before we get that, let’s bring you our sales tip of the day. And today’s tip is to use milestone closes. Milestone closes, so think about it for a moment. What is a milestone? It’s a marker. It’s a marker along the path. And usually, at a significant point in the path, it tells you that you are headed in the right direction. It shows you the progress that you are making. So here’s what I wanna suggest you. Start by determining your customer’s milestones. What are the major sub-decisions that they need to make along the way? Just start right there. Put yourself in your customer’s position and say, “What are the major decisions along the way that will lead up to a final decision?” So, if I’m selling cars, for example, I’m thinking about my car buyer, I’m thinking, “What are some of those decisions?” Well, they need to decide on their price range and they need to decide on the features that are important and they need to decide on the model and maybe the color. I don’t know what it is for you, or for your customer, but you’ve gotta start there. Determine what the major decisions are that your customer needs to make and then reverse engineer your sales presentation by formulating the questions that held them at these specific points. Ask those milestone closes along the way. It is so much easier for your customer to buy if they’re buying a little bit at a time. If they’re going through and deciding on this part of the decision and then that part of the decision and by the time you get to the end, all of the major components of the sale are already in place. And that makes it so much easier to ask for the sale. And that’s where we’re going to go next in today’s interview.
Okay, before we get to our interview, let me tell you about an opportunity. I wanna invite you to join us for the 2017 Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit and Exposition to become a better leader for your career, for your team to grow in ways that you never thought possible and take your career to the next level. Now, this is specifically targeted towards real estate executives but we’ve had people outside real estate industry who’ve gotten so much out of this. As the premier industry gathering, you’re going to learn from the best of the best about what it takes to make you a better leader, a better manager, a better coach, with more insights, with more actual strategies, with more ah-ha moments than ever before. You’re going to come away from the summit confident that you possess the tools and the knowledge, not only to succeed but to truly change the world. And I have to tell you one other thing. We do this at the Loews Coronado Resort. We do it on a Thursday, Friday. Most of our guests, hundreds of guests, spend the weekend. We’ve done this year after year. They spend the weekend in San Diego and there are worst places to be in August than San Diego. It’s a beautiful city. You’re going to come away renewed and refreshed. You can find more information about the summit and other exclusive trending events throughout the year for sales leaders and for sales pros at jeffshore.com/events.
Okay, let’s get to our interview with my friend, James Muir. James is a very well respected thought leader in the world of sales and the author a phenomenal book called “The Perfect Close.” And, you know, I wrote “Closing 2.0” not that long ago and when you put out a book, you’re like, “Okay, here it is, my book.” And James’ book hit just about the same time. I was like, “Oh no, we’re going to be competing.” But the books, as it turns out, complement each other extremely well. I think either book could have been written by the same author, so James has been studying the art and science of sales for a long time and very well suited to write “The Perfect Close.” James Muir, how you doing sir?
James: Great, great to be on, Jeff. Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Hey, no no, this is going to be fun. I wanna talk about closing but I really wanna do this from the buyer’s perspective. As I was writing “Closing 2.0” I was thinking through, “Boy, how much does the customer really think about closing?” If anything at all. What is your perspective on that?
James: I don’t think they think about closing in the sense that a sales person does. They’re just trying to accomplish a goal. And, so when it comes time to, or when it comes to the context of closing, it’s just not really a concept for them. They’re just trying to accomplish a goal and, as a sales person, we should be trying to help them facilitate that.
Jeff: Why did you wanna write the book in the first place? What was it that caused you to say, “The world needs this book on closing skills.”
James: Well, I myself am an accidental salesperson. I’m a technical person and I just got thrust into sales when we opened up an office in a remote location where they needed someone who could run operations but also be a selling person and so I just got drafted into sales. And when I initially got into sales, I didn’t know what to do. There were no sales people and so I had no mentors that I could look at. So I essentially turned to books. But, at first, I very much struggled with closing. I would basically oversell. I would just keep on talking and talking and talking until the customer would stop me and then say, “Hey, we need to do something.” And so I thought sales would close themselves. But statistically, that’s not the case.
So, and then later when I worked with other people, domain experts and stuff like that, I found out that very often, entrepreneurs, they’re…it’s the least favorite part of the job. Right? They would very often confess to me that of all the things that they had to do when they’re involved with selling, it’s the commitment part and in most cases, they just didn’t know what to say. So what they do is they do nothing. I’ve been on lots of ridealongs and what ends up happening is instead of asking for some kind of commitment that moves the sale forward, they end up just doing nothing.
Jeff: Mm-hmm. You know it’s interesting because you said, you weren’t quite sure what to do so you turned to books. But even there, boy that can be extremely dangerous, right? Because I’ve, you and I have both seen some books on closing and I’m actually holding one right now. I’m not going to mention the name of the book, but, you know, I’ll just read two lines from the book. One is as he’s describing under a section called the 20 Greatest Closes on Earth, he describes the close and he said, “This close intended to embarrass and control the customer.” And it does just that. And then on another close where he’s talking about what he calls the Think About It Close, at the very end it says, “Note, in most cases the customer will feel like an idiot and go ahead and purchase.” Boy, I’ll tell you what, it’s amazing the amount of crap, quite frankly, that’s been written out there on the subject of closing that could really throw a sales person off.
James: It’s…95% of it is crap, you and I have probably collected all of the sales books, right, on closing that there are. I’ve got a, you can’t see it, but behind me, I have a big shelf, bookshelf, full of these books and, again, 95% of these closes that are out there are manipulative, just like you said. And what happens, I don’t know if you know that statistically, the problem of not asking for the close, just like the problem that I used to have, is much bigger than using the wrong one. And there’s a reason for that. When people read these closes, they realize it intrinsically, that they’re not…it’s going to damage the relationship with the person if they use one of these tactics. And since they don’t feel comfortable about it, they don’t actually do anything because they can’t come up with a facilitative, natural way of advancing the sale, so they end up doing nothing. And that’s true and it’s 50 to 90% of sales encounters end up with no commitment being asked for whatsoever. It depends on the industry. But that’s terrible, but the root cause of that is that people aren’t comfortable with these manipulative techniques which are, essentially, the most available techniques. You Google it, the first probably 20 hits you’re gonna get are all gonna be manipulative closes.
Jeff: That makes sense to me, James. Because, when you look at what we ask sales professionals to do, right, we want them to be outgoing and gregarious and relationship oriented and we, at Shore Consulting, we talk about developing an atmosphere where you are deemed coffee worthy by your customer. That is, you’re not trying to find your new BFF or your vacation buddy. You’re trying to build the type of relationship early on where you’re just the type of person that somebody would want to have a cup of coffee with, right? And so, you build on that, as you build with that, and you understand who they are, you figure out their needs. And then after you’ve built up this wonderful trust based relationship, now we’re going to ask you as a sales person to scuttle all of that and turn to your customer, hitch your pants and say, “What’s it gonna take to get you to buy my product today?” And I think that just psychologically, for a sales professional, they’re looking at it and saying, “A, I’m not that person in the first place. And B, my customer is going to stand there looking at me and say where did that guy come from? I want the old guy, where did that guy come from?”
James: I have seen it so many times and the way it gets described to me is they say, “I have a hard time going from a nice guy and then suddenly becoming schizophrenic and turning into Mr. Hardcloser.” And the thing is, is it doesn’t really have to be that. And you and I both know that. But I would just reframe all of selling in a different way. For most folks, makes that problem go away. If you think about any of us, if we have health goals or any, or fitness goals, or anything like that, we would all love to have a coach that would help us progress at our own rate that we’re ready for. And so, that’s the other way to think about selling is, the customer is trying to achieve a goal and we are their coach. We’re trying to help them achieve that goal. And so all…there are sometimes, there’s more than one step on our way to the big goal, to the big close, there’s a lot of little asks. So, our job is to help them and in fact, they’re engaging us precisely because they can do it on their own. If they could do it on their own, they wouldn’t need us. Right? So, they’re engaging us precisely because they want us to be that coach. So they’re just asking us to guide them through every little commitment it makes to help them achieve their goals. So it’s really more than just advancing the sale. It’s about leadership. Right? And coaching and teaching.
Jeff: You use the word advance and all throughout the book, “The Perfect Close,” there is that constant theme. Tell us about your preference for the word advance.
James: Well, the term advance actually was invented by Neil Rackham in the book “Spin Selling” and the short definition is it’s just moving the self forward in a little way. Right? So, in B2C or in home sales, when we’re moving the sale forward in a little way when they go look at a home. Right? When they take a step like that, that’s a small step. It’s not the big step. And there’s usually a number of those on our way to the final one. So, and that’s essentially how “The Perfect Close” works is we just want to help facilitate that decision, all the little steps on our way to the big step. I think it’s infective. The best close is one that the customer is ready for, right? It’s when we ask them to move faster than they’re ready for, that’s when it starts to feel like manipulation to them. So we never want to get to that point. So, we just ask in the right way. It will never feel that way. It’ll always feel like we’re just helping them. And there will be no…any of that stigma around pressure is alleviated.
Jeff: One of the things that gets us into trouble now, let me just play the devil’s advocate in this conversation for just a moment, James. Because we don’t want to be that guy. We don’t wanna be the cheap suit and the product and the hair and the bling, you know, smells like Old Spice covering up cigarettes smoke, right? We don’t wanna be that guy, and yet in our desire not to be that guy, there can be an over correction and you and I see that all the time. Because when we think about being service oriented, we generally take away words like pressure. And I get that, I understand why, and yet, there are times when we are called to influence, to persuade, to be a little bolder than we otherwise might be. Even when it comes to saving a customer from themselves, right, so where do you find that balance. Because we’re not suggesting here that you shouldn’t close. But there’s a very different way to be able to approach this.
James: Well, I think what you’re saying, the truth is, customers are trying to achieve something. They are trying to be better than they are, in some way, right? They’re just trending. And so, that’s what we’re trying to do, is help them be better. So, it’s okay to be a coach is to push just a little bit to help them be better. So right, that’s the context. So, I guess your question is really about the threshold. How do I know when I’m going too far? And I think if we just ask in the right way then we can avoid all of that. And if you don’t mind, I would give it up for your audience is the way to do that is maybe suggest what other people do at this stage. You know, other people at this stage tend to do X, does it make sense for us to do X? And if you ask in that way, does it make sense? You’re not saying, “Will you do this?” Right? That’s not what the question is. You gotta look closely at the nuance. All we’re really asking about is the timing right for this? And we’re acting as a coach when we suggest what an appropriate next step is. Right? Because they might go embark on this kind of a purchase once in a lifetime or maybe twice to three times in a lifetime, but we do it all the time. So, we’re very much in a position to add a lot of value, because we can walk them through all the common steps that they’re not familiar with. So, we’re facilitating that decision. But if we just ask them, you know, other folks at this stage tend to do this, does it make sense for us to do that? Then we can feel, you know, their response will tell us, right? If they feel comfortable and they’re ready, well they’ll take that step and we might even ask them to do another one. If on the other hand, they’re not, then we can…that tells us a little bit about where they’re at emotionally and mentally. And so that keeps us right on the bubble to where we’re just exactly where they want to be in the process.
Jeff: Let me throw out a quick model here and you can tell me whether or not this passes the real-life test for you. I look at it and say on the one side of the scale for a sales professional is that you know, total yielding to discomfort and I’m not going to ask at all because I don’t want to destroy the relationship and there’s really no advancing going on. On the other side of this scale is just pure manipulation, it’s trickery, it’s, you know, doing whatever it takes, so to speak. And the barriers or the boundaries in the middle are somewhere between the gentle nudge all the way up to the assertive shove. If it’s in the customer’s best interest. Are you okay with that as boundaries? Because I look and I go, “You know the gentle nudges can sometimes be too gentle, but that might be all that customer can take.” But on the other hand, there are times when I might be saving a customer from himself or from herself, so, for…I use this example for sales people in real estate sales. If somebody is thinking about buying a different home and the sales person knows this is the right home for you. Now, again, this has to be a customer-centric viewpoint. But that sales person has to be in a position to say, “Look. You know what? They have a better deal, they do. I agree.” The problem is, every single day you’re going to show up to the wrong home and you’re going to know it. You gotta make sure you’re making this decision for you and for not the deal. Which is, admittedly, a more aggressive take on that. Is that too much? Is there a legitimate boundary between nudge and shove?
James: Well, I think it’s contextual, right? So that there’s no one answer to your question. Is every client, is going to be, every customer is going to be in a slightly different situation so you need to look at the context to determine, “Hey, you know what, this person’s about to make a really big, bad decision.” Right? I need to step in and warn them about that. I think you did a good job in your little example there helping them understand why that is. I think, sometimes if we just say carte blanche, you know, don’t do this or don’t do that. We wanna unfold their understanding so that the way we understand that it’s a bad decision, or it’s a good decision, is now revealed to them, right? That’s part of our job as salespeople, is to educate them about why that is. And so you can’t take shortcuts in areas like that. On the other hand, if a customer’s going to make, you know, they make some serious decisions, right? I work with people that spend millions of dollars and there are hard mistakes to undo. And so, if we see that they’re going down the wrong path, it’s really on us to help prevent them from that. And they…and studies show that they value that. When we, when you share that. As long the intent and they can sense that the reason that you’re doing it is your trying to help them and you’re not necessarily trying to do it for yourself, that’s where it’s different. And they can tell that, by the way.
Jeff: Mm-hmm. Yeah, you know it’s interesting. We just recently interviewed Mark Sandborn for our podcast and this was one of the questions that he asked is, “What does my customer need from me, right now?” And, of course, the easy answer at any given time is to be able to look at it and say, “Well, what my customer really needs is to explain this feature or to show them this benefit, but at times what my customer really needs is an agreement, a foundational agreement, to any given part of what it is that we’re trying to show and demonstrate by way of solution.” That might be what the customer needs most is a closing question.
James: Agreed. So you used a little bit of emotional intelligence in that. But, again, I think if you ask it the right way, their response is going to tell us where they are at. And that helps us read that a whole lot better. Like I said, if we say it doesn’t make sense, then we’re not saying, “Will you do this or will you do that?” Those questions do have their merit and their moment. But when we’re asking them if it makes sense, the timing is right. Their response to that question, if they can’t come up with…if they say no and then we ask them, “Well what do you think is a good next step?” And they can’t come up with anything, well that tells us a little something about where this person is in our process and maybe how we should be investing our time. Because, not everyone we’re standing in front of is a perfect prospect, right? So, knowing that and asking the right way and then listening to their response and then gauging that, that’s an important part of having an emotional intelligence and knowing what does my customer need at this time.
Jeff: Where do you suppose that a sales person should get started on this conversation? If we’ve got somebody listening right now who is thinking, “Boy this is my weak spot. I don’t like to ask for the sale. I’m not good in this area. I feel under-equipped in that process.” I mean, look, I can simply tell them, “Go buy the perfect clothes.” And I think that’s really good advice, but what advice would you have for that person who wants to go on this journey to become more proficient in this area, but right now feels like they’re starting at ground zero?
James: Well, I think first they need to diagnose themselves just a little bit. Is it a skill problem or is it a will problem? Is it, when I say, is it a will problem, is it that you can’t make yourself ask the question? And when I find that that’s the issue, then usually what is that person has the wrong understanding of what selling is. Right? Selling is serving. That’s really what it boils down to. You’re helping people make a decision. And so, once you can grasp that and embrace that, then the hesitation will go away. The other question the will, or the skill part is, all right, well do you know how to ask, right? And that’s where we just talked about 95% of these techniques out there are manipulative and they’ll actually backfire you. It’s been studied, right? They actually hurt you when you use those techniques. And you wanna use a good one. And, so, if it’s the skill problem, you need to go seek out a resource that’s gonna help you ask the question and then I would just suggest that you practice it a little bit. But usually, those two things, will and skill, are the first stage and then once you’ve decided, you know, all right, if…now I understand, I think I know how to ask. I would just add one more level, which is, you know, in any given sale, there’s usually a few steps, right? There are…some sales can be all done in one visit. But for most sales, there’s more than one visit involved. And so, it makes sense to take a minute and sorta diagram out, what are all the little steps that add up to the big step? And then, that doesn’t mean some folks are…will be willing to go faster and some will go a little slower. But this now gives you a logical set of sequences that you can suggest to your clients that will help get them from point A to point B in a facilitative way that’s non-pressure.
Jeff: So, we could give the advice to say, and this is going to sound horribly self-serving, but so be it, it’s my podcast. So, if it’s a will problem, read “Be Bold and When to Sell” because it’s really about the way you prepare yourself for those moments of discomfort. If it’s a skill problem, go read “The Perfect Close” because you’re going to be able to figure out how you phrase you it and how you master that. James, any last advice for sales professionals? We talked about the sales professional who feels like they’re at ground zero. How about the sales professional that’s okay with this but wants to pick it up a step. Any advice there?
James: Yeah, I think planning ahead also helps in that case. But really, the final thought for the time that we spent together, that I would like to give to your audience is that intent matters more than technique. You can learn the technique. But if you’re, if you come into a situation with commission breath, right? Then, customers detect that. And even if you’re executing perfectly the technique, they’ll still sense that something is wrong and it will go badly on you. On the flip side, if your intent is in the right place, then they can detect that and you can actually butcher any technique and they’ll sense that you’re still just trying to help them and they’ll give you another chance at it. And so, it’s really important to start, we all think about technique and about competency. And those things are important, but if you get your head in the right place, then the customer will give you a lot of chances at it. And so, if you wanna convey good intent, which is important, then, of course, the important thing is that you have to good intent, right? That’s the secret. Is that you actually have to have good intent. And if you can make that an everyday practice, you’ll cut through every negative association there is in selling and you’ll realize what selling really is. Which is serving.
Jeff: Yeah. And so powerful, that intent versus technique. Your customer knows when you are feeling a little desperate and I once had a manager said, “No, no I want all my salespeople to go out and buy expensive cars and over mortgage their house because hungry sales people are better sales people.” And at the time, I said, “Okay, if you say so.” I look back at it now and I go, “No, no, no. Hungry salespeople are desperate salespeople but they’re desperate to make their car payment. They’re desperate to make their mortgage payment. They’re not necessarily desperate to ask the question, “What is in the best interest of this customer, what does this customer need from me?”
James Muir, fantastic. And you can learn everything you need to know, a one-stop-shop at the website puremuir.com, p-u-r-e-m-u-i-r.com. You can look at James’ book there, you can also buy it on Amazon. But you really want this book. It’s going to help you tremendously. James, thanks so much for being on “The Buyer’s Mind.”
James: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, Jeff. It’s been great.
Jeff: So there you have it. James Muir at puremuir.com. Boy, that guy’s a…not only is he very insightful on his topic, Murph, but the guy’s got pipes. This has been one of the smoothest talking guys I’ve heard in a long time.
Murph: Very, very smooth pipes. Yeah. I’d date him but I’m married already so…
Jeff: And he’s just a really, really good guy. I’ll tell you what. I thought it was interesting when he was talking about the contrast between asking and doing nothing. So, you know, I think the idea here for salespeople is that we’re afraid to ask because we’re afraid for it to not sound very good. And so, the alternative is doing nothing. It’s not asking well versus poorly. It’s about asking well versus not asking at all. Did you catch that?
Murph: I did and the thing that stuck out to me was selling is serving. If you keep that in the forefront of your mind, then you’re good to go.
Jeff: Yeah. Right. Absolutely. Well and that’s why I love just the…that concept of the question, “Does it make sense for us to do this?” And it’s just one of those, it’s a non-threatening way to ask and yet the customer knows exactly where you are. You know, James said that bad closes damage relationships, manipulative closes scare people away. Murph, if you think of yourself just as the laymen here, as you’re going out and you’re shopping for something, maybe that manipulative close worked at some point, but surely you see it coming from while…you know when somebody is taking advantage of you.
Murph: Well, it’s the used car salesman, right? The greasy used car salesman image that we all have as consumers that that guy is coming in and you know you’re going to get shafted. You’re just going to lose out on the deal and it’s very frustrating because it’s a hard sale but he’s not helping you. It’s, you just feel taken advantage of.
Jeff: Yeah, that’s a, it’s such a great point. It’s okay to help your customer if your intention is to help your customer. But if you just want the sale, boy everybody knows it, you get that commission breath going on. The other thing that James said that I thought was really great was that the best close is the one that the customer is ready for. And just expanding on that a little bit, just some encouragement, I think this is a key takeaway for anybody in the sales profession who might be listening right now. The best close is that one that the customer is already ready for. Which means, that asking for the sale is, it should not be a traumatic event. It shouldn’t come out of nowhere where a customer looks at it and says, “Boy, I didn’t see that coming.” It should be a series of agreements all the way through the process and then everybody knows we are there. Now that doesn’t absolve you of having to ask for the sale, but it should be that type of occurrence where there’ve been a series of agreements or what I sometimes teach as the decision-making rhythm that is occurring all throughout the process. And the customer has the chance to say no anywhere along the line. But, if they are continually agreeing, then you get that principle of commitment and consistently that Robert Cialdini talks about. You get to the idea that customers don’t argue with themselves. So, if they’ve continually said yes. Not to me. If they’ve continually said yes to themselves throughout the process, then it becomes a very natural extension by the time it’s time to ask for the sale. The best close is the one that the customer is ready for. So, don’t be focusing just on what that final question is. Think about how you have helped your customer through a series of agreements throughout the entire conversation. You’ll always be better off.
So, before we wrap it up, let me ask you this question. How much do you trust your doctor? How about your accountant, or your attorney? You know it’s strange how we hold these people in really high esteem. We revere them. We ascribe the word professional when we think of what they do. But how about you? Do you see yourself the same way? Do you see yourself as a professional? The way that you see your doctor or your lawyer. And I wanna suggest that you need to see yourself as having that kind of specialty and that kind of impact. You’re out there improving people’s lives. You’re solving people’s problems. You are making a difference. So, let me just encourage you. Change your paradigm. Change the paradigm of the way that you see yourself. See yourself as the value provider that you are. This isn’t about looking in the mirror and saying, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh-darn it, people like me.” This is a matter of looking in the mirror and asking the question, “What do I really do for people? How do I improve their lives?” That’s what professionals do. See yourself as the professional you are.
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All right. There you go, that’s a wrap on our podcast, “The Buyer’s Mind.” I hope you enjoyed it. You could find everything you need to know at jeffshore.com but until then, go out there my friends and change someone’s world.