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Sales’ Abysmal Closing Ratios

Very recently in a post, a member referred to "sales’ abysmal closing ratios".

What about closing ratios? Is "abysmal" really the norm--and among who? The selling community at large?

Anyone want to comment about whether the phrase has validity--and in what context? I can't help thinking that if salespeople aren't closing, then WHO is?

Thoughts? - by Ace Coldiron
Ace...I haven't read that post and quite frankly I don't think I want to. As for sales it is as more mental attitude than anything. If you think abysmal then that is what you get. I have heard some woe is me complaining but I choose not to participate. I am in media sales and, advertising is usually the first to go in an economic downturn. If you have educated your clients and they trust your advice you should be in fair shape when times like this come around.

Warmest Regards - by MPrince
Martha, the article I referred to was using the author's own opinion on the lack of adequate and appropriate skill sets among members of the selling community.

Your post, in a different context. has more weight and meaning, in my opinion. I sometimes think that the media is trying to "position" the public's mindset into a doom and gloom state. The fact is that the Dow Jones is what it is. The people that can SELL are the best prepared to make things better, not just for themselves, but for everybody that their ripples will reach.

The media has forgotten something that they--above all others--should know if they know their field. You can't position a thought any more than you can position a company or product. The public (market) does the positioning.

Like you, I'm one who is not buying the doom and gloom. I have this BAD habit to support. It's called work. - by Ace Coldiron
Ace, I'm not sure I'm subscribing to your thoughts about, "You can't position a thought any more than you can position a company or product." After all, companies spend a massive %age of the marketing budget telling the world at-large why it's tough to live without their product or service (some much better than others admittedly).

As well, I'd take umbrage with the concept that the close is entirely the domain of the SR in the field. In my (B2B) experience, you really can't "sell fridges to eskimos". The implication being that there is a team involved which positions, prices, raises awareness, supports the pre-sales effort, asks for the order, and administrates effectively.

In each instance where the SR is out there on their own, the drop-off in effectiveness is huge! Where the team works well, sales are viewed as champions.

As in every role, there are superstars and there are "strugglers". In sales, it's like being the race car driver: when you crash everyone sees it. In my capacity as sales manager, I would participate in senior management team meetings. When the numbers were off, and a peer from finance, admin, or marketing would put the blame on sales, I would invite them to take over a patch for one week. No salary. No supporting admin (to do the menial stuff). AND, have their name posted on the wall at the bottom of the list of winners ... all the while standing in front of the non-sales groups listening to why they failed!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Pat, I understand what you are saying...there seems to be a huge chasm between the two (Top Sales and Bottom Sales). I have made it my mission to try and reduce that great gap as much as possible. Often I believe it is simply a mindset.

Warmest Regards - by MPrince
Ace...I am afraid I have that same BAD habit. I also know my clients want to hear good things from me. What you said about the media preaching gloom and doom is true but, like you and me business owners want to hear some good news. I, of course, don't want to be a "Pollyanna" I have to truthful and considerate but I always bring good NEWS! That is why it is vital that I have built a relationship of trust with my clients. If my clients attitude is 'abysmal" it is my job to change that!

Warmest Regards - by MPrince
Ace, I'm not sure I'm subscribing to your thoughts about, "You can't position a thought any more than you can position a company or product." After all, companies spend a massive %age of the marketing budget telling the world at-large why it's tough to live without their product or service (some much better than others admittedly).
It's true, Pat, that they spend the money, and, yes it's true that many of them think they are buying positioning. What they are buying is advertising, which may or may not contribute to their market doing the positioning.

The first time I ever heard the word "positioning", one of the first in a trend that followed that made nouns into verbs, and verbs into nouns, to create buzzwords (think "impact") was in 1974, and I learned it from a media rep who went on to achieve bigger and better opportunities in the same field selling broadcast advertising. Ries and Trout had written their classic business book on the subject. At that time, I thought that positioning in the market could be achieved in a linear and effective manner. Perhaps I confused it, like so many others, with "branding". As time went on, I was influenced by people like advertising expert Roy Williams, who made me accept that the market itself was the final determinate for who would win the battle for its mind--not the dollars spent. Chaos theory over game theory if you will.

A nineteenth century English author named Richard Jeffries once wrote, "Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible."

I like the word "deeper" better than "wider", but I'm very much in harmony with that. I take these things seriously, and beyond the armchair, because it's my very own pocketbook that has been funding that marketing, telling my story to my segment of the world at large.

It never hurts to go one step further with knowledge we think we have under our belt.


Back to the main topic and you offered:
"When the numbers were off, and a peer from finance, admin, or marketing would put the blame on sales, I would invite them to take over a patch for one week."
In the particular article I quoted, the reference to "Sales' Abysmal Closing Ratios" had a context in support of the author's denigrating ("abysmal" is a denigrating adjective.) the use of sales methodologies different than the one she trains in. To me, that would encompass the majority of all salespeople, because only a minority are trained in her method. So--I guess I'm asking through this thread whether her supporting claim is valid and/or accurate. I really want opinions. - by Ace Coldiron
Ace, I'm getting lost in the semantics: I'm a believer in strong selling skills (including closing) generates success in sales.

My earlier thread speaks to instances where sales is out the in weeds with a poorly positioned offering.

I recall a period at Xerox where we were the over-priced, poorly conceived system on the market. With competition having jumped on the expired patents, their hungrier marketing departments had championed truly impressive product design and supported that with really impactful spiffs /pricing to get the attention of the market. In the short term we were winning consistently based on the high selling skills and our ability to service the customer.

But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be another train ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
I wouldn't go as far as calling sales closing ratio abysmal. However I do believe that sales closing ratio's can be improved. The biggest thing I tend to notice, is the lack of training sales people have on identifing specific customers personality styles. Whether you go with the D.I.S.C. personality styles or one of the others they all basically say the same thing. People can generally fall into one of four styles. I don't believe it's a conicidence that the national sales closing average is 25% and that a customer falls into one of four personality styles. Most sales people don't know how to recognize these traits and therefor does not tailor the sales process to fit the individual style. I can continue on this for ever, but basically, if us as sales consultants, learned to recognize the different personality styles, and adjusted our presentation to fit the consumer, then I strongly, believe that the closing ratio will dramatically increase. - by jrboyd
Anyone want to comment about whether the phrase has validity
The spelling is right and the phrase makes pheonetic sense.sn;


--and in what context? I can't help thinking that if salespeople aren't closing, then WHO is?
Thoughts?
Closing ratios are set by expectation.

My average team player closes 2-3 sales a day making 100 calls daily, this takes them around 4 weeks to master.

I started a new team of 5 people two weeks ago and told them that we wanted above average sales people making 4-5 sales a day with 60-80 calls...........

Guess what they are making on average after two weeks? - by PiJiL
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