How not to close

What are the best sales closing techniques? Let me share a story with you to answer that question. In my first year in sales at Xerox, I was enjoying some pretty good success. I’ll never forget the time Vern, an experienced sales pro, stopped me from leaving my office. “All right, honey,” he said. “What secret techniques are you using to close all those sales?”

When I told him the truth—that I was lousy at closing—he refused to believe me. “You can’t fool old Vern. Tell me about those secret techniques!”

I’ll never forget what I said next: “Seriously, Vern. I’m so bad at it that my prospects are closing me. They’re saying, ‘What do we need to do to get that new copier in our office?’”

He never believed me, but it was true. My focus was on asking questions to determine if it made good business sense for my prospects to change from the status quo. If it did, they wanted to sign a contract to make it happen as soon as possible.

What I’m trying to tell you is that closing sales is a natural outcome of researching your prospects’ needs, not an end in itself. You can master all the sales closing techniques in the world and still fail if you don’t ensure your prospects understand the business value of making a change.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.

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