If I was to describe which aspect of sales I’m best at, I’d probably say ‘closing’.
But you hear lots of rubbish spouted about closing, such as ‘use this technique, or that trick’. It’s as though closing is treated like a separate discipline instead of as part of a holistic whole
‘Experts’ tell you that you can close anyone by using their secrets. Well, if you do the rest of the selling properly, you’ll find that closing becomes super easy and you don’t have to try and fool anyone!
Think of it a bit like getting married. If you haven’t done the preparation, then it’s going to be hard to get anyone to marry you! It’s the same with selling – you are going to find it near impossible to sell something if you haven’t done some other things first.
For example to get married you have to do a lot! (the sales equivalent is in brackets):
👉🏽 There is the initial outreach (prospecting)
📚 Research – are they single, are they looking (researching the customer)
📱 Getting a phone number (finding out the contact details)
📅 Closing for a first date (getting an appointment)
👔 Creating a good first impression by dressing to impress, or going somewhere nice (be smart, be punctual)
🥂 Having that first date (meeting)
❓Asking lots of questions (the same)
👀 Establishing what are they looking for (uncovering needs & wants)
🤩 Seeing if you want the same thing (talk about possible solutions)
📅 Getting subsquent dates (closing for the next stage)
👩🏾🤝🧑🏽 Build the romantic relationship (build the business relationship)
💍 Propose marriage (close for the deal)
If you have done all the steps properly, then you have a much higher chance of getting engaged (winning the deal)
In sales, it really is about relationships and doing the right thing at the right time.
And remember don’t promise things you can’t deliver, otherwise you could be heading for a divorce (your customer leaves you!)
Let’s talk and see if we can avoid that happening to you!
I’m subsituting MAN for FAN because it’s time to move with the times!
Those of you in sales will be very familiar with the acronym MAN as standing for:
(in other words, a simple way of identifying the best person to have a sales conversation with). So, it’s simple and it works, but of course the thing is, it’s MAN (i.e. not WOMAN or female or whatever you want to call it).
I’m sure it isn’t a deliberate thing, but there are undertones of ‘You’ve got to be a man to make the decision’. Now if you’re an [actual] man reading this, you might be thinking ‘what’s the fuss all about – it’s just an acronym?’ So, to all the women out there in sales, I bet there are a few of you who wish there was, well, just a better acronym.
Well my lovely clients on in a recent training session nailed it.
We had a conversation about MAN and they came up with ‘FAN’ ! It’s so simple:
So obvious, so brilliant. So guess what I’m going to be using from now on!
Janet trains sales teams and provides one to one sales coaching to business owners who have got a bit stuck with their sales. For information about how to work with Janet, book a discovery call here
Positive Language can make a huge difference to your sales conversation, so don’t go using language that makes customers avoid you.
There are certain words and phrases that are considered clichés in the world of selling. If you want to avoid looking like an insincere salesperson, or one who is just following a script. Then it is a good idea not to fall into the trap of using tired, unimaginative words and phrases. That doesn’t mean that you need to have the vocabulary of Shakespeare. But you should at least try to say things in your own way.
One of the key things you can do is ensure you use positive language. Here are some suggestions:
Don’t use clichés – instead, use your own words.
Listen to yourself – if you can, record some of your calls – you will notice all sorts of things that you didn’t realise you were doing and then you can work on eliminating bad habits.
Never start a call with “How are you?” Why? Well it absolutely screams “You’re trying to sell me something” (particularly if you don’t care, because then you seem insincere as well – see 5 below).
Always remember you are talking to a real person – for all you know they could have had 20 other people calling them today. They would be trying to sell to them. Therefore, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if someone rang you up and talked to you like you were just a number.
If you sound insincere, then as far as the customer is concerned, you probably are insincere. Work hard to show that you are genuine.
Edwin was new to sales and he was determined to do well. He had been out with his boss during his training and now he was starting to go on visits by himself. Edwin was bursting with enthusiasm, loved the products. Which were advanced water treatment systems – and he really enjoyed going out and meeting new customers.
He started toclose sales but soon realised that selling was not always as easy as his boss had made it look. In particular, he really struggled with some of the seasoned and experienced buyers that he had to approach to stock his product.
One refused to give Edwin an appointment. He tried every week to arrange a visit, but the buyer just wasn’t having any of it. In frustration, Edwin asked his boss if he could listen in to his phone conversation to see if there was something he was missing. In fact, his boss went one step further – he recorded the call. When Edwin asked for feedback, his boss told him to listen to the call and see if he could work it out.
horrified. He heard himself using what seemed like every cliché in the book.
“How are you today”, “To be honest”, “Quite Frankly”. It was as though he had
suddenly lost the power to speak in English!
More about Edwin’s situation.
His boss kindly explained that the buyer didn’t want to talk to an automaton who only spoke in trite sales terms; rather he wanted to talk to a real human being who cared about what was important to him. He also pointed out that by using phrases like “Frankly” and “To be honest”. He was coming across as insincere and was giving the impression that he was either hiding something or worse, lying.
By asking “How are you today?”, Edwin was coming over particularly insincerely – as his boss pointed out, his job was to sell, the buyer knew his job was to sell and, apart from wasting time it was probably actually annoying the buyer and eroding confidence in Edwin’s product. He explained, the moment you hear someone you have never met before say that on the phone, you know they don’t care. That they are trying to appear polite, but actually couldn’t care less how you are – they just want to sell you something.
Edwin’s boss gave him some other pointers too – for example, making sure he was never rude or disrespectful to the competition, never starting a conversation by asking if the buyer wanted to place an order and to just use his own authentic and real words.
With his boss standing by him, Edwin rang his elusive buyer again. When he got through, he apologised for his previous call, saying he wasnew. He used his own language. Explained that he thought he had something the buyer might be interested in seeing and politely asked for an appointment. The buyer said ‘yes’, on the condition that Edwin did not use the word “Honestly”. Edwin unreservedly agreed.
So often, we fail to get the basics right. Sometimes, all we need is a little help from someone to point us in the right direction. To be smart about using positive language appropriately.
This is an adapted excerpt from my book “Small Business Sales Dilemmas – 50 Real Life Case Studies to Help you Sell More.” (Which is available on Amazon.)
If you know they are, then they might need an introduction to selling. Check out our regular course “How to Sell”. Currently run over 6 weeks part-time (normally a 2-day programme, but obviously subject to current restrictions)
This covers all the main issues faced by today’s salesperson: