The CLOSE is one of the most interesting parts of the whole selling process. While most sellers highly anticipate this, it’s also one major area where people make several mistakes in. Our guest today, James Muir, shares with us how you can be more effective through making the perfect close every single time.
James Muir is the author of The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales – The Bestselling Practices and Techniques for Closing the Deal. James is a Corporate Trainer and Executive Coach who specializes in B2B complex sales, helping salespeople and B2B executives become as effective as they can be.
You may have heard a lot these concepts already but oftentimes, we don’t basically apply the things we know or we know we should be doing. So pay attention. Take notes. And most importantly, take action.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with James:
Why another book on sales:
- James discovered the need for a book about closing because he noticed many mistakes done by salespeople on closing sales.
- People don’t ask for a sale at all or any commitment; in fact, in 50-90% of all sales encounters.
- A problem of skill (not knowing how) and will (attitude) – The will problem is the most common reason people don’t ask.
- There is so much dysfunctional selling out there and people are afraid of rejection.
- 99% of closing methods being taught are manipulative.
Examples of a “manipulative” close:
- Assumptive close
- It’s when you try to push the customer faster than they’re ready for that they start to feel being manipulated.
Some Principles of the Perfect Close:
- Figure out the two questions you’re going to ask near the end of the meeting that advances the sale to the next step.
The saying that “selling is everything you do” is not very actionable.
- Come in with the right intent.
Intent matters more than technique. Your voice and body languages are sending messages and all this is happening in the first few seconds. You have to come in with the right intent and your body will be sending all the right signals. Otherwise, your prospect will hold information from you and the process now becomes dysfunctional.
- Selling is serving.
Understand that each solution you sell helps another person so helping that person move towards that goal is an act of service. Don’t get so caught up in “what’s in it for you” that you tend to forget your goal of helping the client.
- Be a better coach and a better teacher.
Clients want a guide that’s going to help them through each little commitment that takes them to achieve their goal. It’s more than selling. It’s leadership. So be a better teacher and a better problem-solver.
- Move the sale forward in a little way.
This is taken from Neil Rackham’s concept of advance where you make little advances to create a momentum towards closing the sale. It involves several little “asks” on the way to the big “ask.” Spend time to figure out what are the little steps in your kind of sale that will lead up to your bigger sale.
- Have an ideal advance with a couple of alternatives.
Closing variation #1: The Fallback
Use an alternative in the most natural way to fall back to another possible option. If they say it doesn’t make sense for them to x then you’re going to say, “Other clients this stage tend to do y. Does it make sense for you to do that?” By giving them a logical next step, you’re helping them through their buying process.
Closing variation #2: The Add On
Instead of you saying what’s the good next step, ask if there are any other logical steps you should be taking right now. This allows you to pace your advance at the rate that the client is ready for. Remember, it’s when you start to push them faster that they’d start to feel manipulated.
- Create agendas.
At the bottom of your agenda, put your next steps and that’s the moment you’re going to ask how your ideal advance is.
- At its core, the perfect close is not a closing question, but a timing question.
Asking for the timing leaves you on a much higher emotional ground than any of the other questions out there. Also, it allows you gauge how engaged they are in the process so this is perfect for pacing.
James’s Major Takeaway:
Intent matters more than technique. If people can see you’re genuinely trying to help them, they will let you help them. Get your intent in the right place and everything else will follow. Be with the customer and be present. Just try to figure out how you can help them out.
The Perfect Close: The Secret to Closing Sales – The Bestselling Practices and Techniques for Closing the Deal (Download their models on their website including The 7 Deadly Miss of Closing)
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