Home > Closing > Closing is generally regarded as the most difficult part of the selling process.

Closing is generally regarded as the most difficult part of the selling process.

Do you agree with the following two (2) quotes:

Closing is generally regarded as the most difficult part of the selling process. But why should it be especially hard to get the order from a good prospect whose Interest and Desire have been secured and whose Objections have all been effectively disposed of? In such a case the prospect has been convinced that he needs the goods; he has the money to pay for them; he wants them and feels assured they will satisfy his needs. Then it should be easy to get the order, instead of hard.
Of course, it is difficult to "close" a prospect whose objections to buying the goods have not all been cleared away. It is still harder to get an order from a prospect whose desire for the goods has not been aroused. The difficulty increases if interest has not been won. Every step of the selling process which has been ill-taken before the final stage is reached makes it harder to secure the favorable Decision and the Signature. If the prospecting was wrong, and the man being interviewed isn't a prospect at all, getting an order from him is impossible.
- by Jeff Blackwell
I agree with the quotes. However, they fail to correct the very popular misconception that "Closing" is an event. The selling experience is far less linear than the methods used for teaching sales. - by Gary A Boye
I agree with the quotes. However, they fail to correct the very popular misconception that "Closing" is an event. The selling experience is far less linear than the methods used for teaching sales.
Agreed. I am sure I can find a quote from the same source that speaks to what you've brought up. I'll see what I can find. ;) - by Jeff Blackwell
I agree with the quotes. However, they fail to correct the very popular misconception that "Closing" is an event. The selling experience is far less linear than the methods used for teaching sales.
Yes, I agree. In fact seasoned sales people report that the close can occur anywhere in the process. I'm sure you have closed in the opening a time or two.

Jeff also makes very good points. If you have done your job well
(with a qualified prospect) the close is a very natural phase. In fact, if you cannot close, you have either not done your job or he or she should have been disqualified.

However, there is another point. A Vice President of a local insurance company confessed that he did not sell a policy all week. Upon hearing his complaint, an associate turned to him and asked, " Did you ask?

Believe it or not, this happens all to often to all of us. Sales people let the prospect slip through their fingers because they are so focused on the individual that the structured sales procedure can be overlooked.

Sales people are generally well rounded in their life experience, witty and able to shift topics in a heart beat. They like to talk and pride themselves in the ability to keep up with the diversity of thought their prospect delivers. This holistic style, flexible thinking, is a major contributor to their success.

However, this non-linear mental dynamic needs to constantly focus energy on the structured goal (the sale) until he or she becomes unconsciously competent. And even then, it is known to happen as a symptom of this natural mental capacity.

That is, sales people demand freedom of thought and avoid compartmentalized thinking. - by John Voris
John, I agree with everything you have said above. I would add the word "multidimensional" if we were decribing the authentic players in sales. - by Gary A Boye
yayayaa...agreesn; - by pulungyanuar
Closing should just be reaching a logical or emotional concusion...you guide clients to either one of those concussions at almost every step of the journey so its not really an event its something thats built into your whole sales process...i don't find it difficult because Ive anticipated most problems and have built the fix into my process.

If we spend most of our time understanding their need or desire properly and building trust and rapport the closing becomes much easier.

Happy Selling,
Tony - by Tony Dunne
I want to revisit this thread and say that one of the great misconceptions among many sales people--and sales trainers--is that Closing is tactical. It is NOT. It is STRATEGIC. That means it is a process of PUTTING THINGS IN PLACE in order to arrive at finalizing consent.

Closing is a PROGRESSION OF CONSENT. - by Gary A Boye
I want to revisit this thread and say that one of the great misconceptions among many sales people--and sales trainers--is that Closing is tactical. It is NOT. It is STRATEGIC. That means it is a process of PUTTING THINGS IN PLACE in order to arrive at finalizing consent.

Closing is a PROGRESSION OF CONSENT.

Gary,

What you say is very valuable however, words such as "strategic," "tactical," and concepts such as "progression of consent" pertaining to sales, are not that clear to many. In fact, I am currently writing articles explaining the difference between "influence " and "manipulation." The sales training industry switch these and many terms causing confusion for everyone.

When the entire training industry treats closing as tactical, when it is not, guidance by someone is needed to get these salesmen and women to see the light. You are an excellent candidate for the job.

;bg - by John Voris
I like to use the 10 pin (skittle) analogy.

A deal (close) is when you are able to (have a chance of, that is) knocking down all 10 pins.

At the beginning of the interaction...all the pins are lying down and therefore impossible to knock over.

The job is to stand them up one by one.

A smart qualifying questions here, a presentation of some knockout bonus benefit there, an investigation of funding, other parties involved, developing a trusting relationship and showing credibility etc etc

All of this pin standing up behaviour can happen in a flash sometimes (hence the super quick sale phenomenon sometimes)

Anyway...just try knocking down all 10 pins when only 9 are standing up. That one that we forgot, the one that is still lying on its side.......that's the one that prevented the transaction.

Now....who forgot to stand up that darn pin?

Well it certainly wasn't the customer.

Strykeuuuuuuggggghhhhhhhh! - by helisell
As a new sales rep I have been thinking about this a lot lately and my take is that closing should be a non-event if I have done my job.

I am really starting to understand that when closing is an event for me it's because I haven't done enough homework on the prospect and as a result I haven't shown them enough value to justify making the purchase.

I know a lot sales reps use some kind of manipulation to get the close and I just don't think you should have to if you have done your job. I really believe the prospect should be asking you where to sign when all is said and done. - by kenpo1980
As a new sales rep I have been thinking about this a lot lately and my take is that closing should be a non-event if I have done my job.

I am really starting to understand that when closing is an event for me it's because I haven't done enough homework on the prospect and as a result I haven't shown them enough value to justify making the purchase.

I know a lot sales reps use some kind of manipulation to get the close and I just don't think you should have to if you have done your job. I really believe the prospect should be asking you where to sign when all is said and done.
You are on the right track with that thinking. - by Gary A Boye
That's good to hear because I occasionally get told I am not aggressive enough with closing. I do agree that I have to be better about asking for the sale but this whole idea of being "aggressive" at all in the process is something I have issues with.


I think it our responsibility as sales reps to educate prospects enough to allow them to make an educated decision as to whether they should make the purchase. This does not mean you can't "gently" challenge a customer but any closing tactics that smell of trickery or manipulation just drives me nuts. - by kenpo1980
Hi,

Closing is the most difficult part because, that is when:
(i) the actual sale takes place, and hence your success is objective; in all other phases, the success is subjective, and
(ii) the prospect agrees to pay up and become a client. So, the prospect has to actually make up her/ his mind and commit. Till this stage, the transactions are non-committal.

I have seen many situations when everything seems to be going very well, and the client has to just give the order and make the advance payment. At the closing stage, it becomes clear that it is not really so.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
I think it our responsibility as sales reps to educate prospects enough to allow them to make an educated decision as to whether they should make the purchase. This does not mean you can't "gently" challenge a customer but any closing tactics that smell of trickery or manipulation just drives me nuts.
I agree with you 100%. There's a got to be a way to do that - by Amazin
I agree with you 100%. There's a got to be a way to do that
Yes, Amazin, there is.

However, that way is only practiced by serious, dedicated, professionals who sell. They invest time and effort and money in their career with a commitment to learn as much about their craft as they can. They immediately get by the "There's got to be a way.." thinking--and they engage at becoming the way. - by Gary A Boye
Gary,

What you say is very valuable however, words such as "strategic," "tactical," and concepts such as "progression of consent" pertaining to sales, are not that clear to many.
They should be, John. Particularly for those people who chose to make their living in sales.

I would want my accountant to be familiar with "balance sheet", my surgeon familiar with "scalpel", my favorite Chinese restaurant familiar with "NO MSG." - by Gary A Boye
I really like my sales calls to run smooth and things happen just because they should. The information time, discovery time, solution time, presenting the solution, customer decides everything is in order and it is automatic. What is really cool about this is it does not have to be perfect in order to get the sale. The not so cool time is when everything is completed perfectly and no sale. It happens.

This is when the close does become a single event. In my trade with me this may happen less than 5% where the close is a single event and I have to convince the customer what I have is best for him or her. If you want to have a successful sale in instances like this you must know how to answer those objections, questions and concerns at the end in order to receive the sale and ask for that sale. Sometimes the lack of concentration, communication, by the buyer or seller causes the sale to move south and the signs were not caught by the sales person and it must be addressed at the end.

Is it the best way to have a sale, absolutely not? It is a tough sale however it is one that you can recover and still give the customer what they need

 

 
- by rich34232
...The not so cool time is when everything is completed perfectly and no sale. It happens.

This is when the close does become a single event.

Rich, can you describe such an event as differentiated from a progression?

Strategy in selling reveals that we can't guarantee a sale even if the salesperson is errorless, and executes the sales process with exactitude. (Such as you described above.)

Your post would imply that a single maneuver, tactic, reframing, etc. (a "close") would now complete a sale. Yet tactics are baseless without foundation. Can you show where your close stands independent of what came before (the foundation)?

If you can, it would lay new ground in sales education. If you can't, you may consider that what you describe as a single event was merely part of the chain of progression of consent.

Interesting topic, and one that has prompted members to take advantage of my accessibility by phone. - by Gary A Boye
Absolutely Gary

I sell plumbing. Included is repairing or replacing. Pretend I have a customer that has 20 year old fixtures in their home. This customer has put off replacing a fixture that should be replaced. They opt for a repair and I know in my heart it should be replaced. I will start asking questions to get him or her to question their decision.

I may throw out examples such as isnít it better to spend more than you thought then less than you should. I will then tell a story of a customer that did the very same thing only to discover within a few days weeks months the need to replace the product.

I have been known to ask customers what kind of suits they purchase then ask why. I know the customer at this time and I pretty much know what to expect if they purchase suits from pennyís or warehouse or custom. When I am informed of the higher price suits due to maintaining color over years and use I now can take the faucet at a cost to them instead of price. Cost is based over the life of the product where price is a onetime issue.

If "I cannot afford the item" enters the equation which we know to be a stall is thrown into I must be able to explain why they cannot afford not to move in the right direction today. Sometimes I must be able to beat back the reasons a customer will not choose the best price. I dislike the term beat back however it does not mean that we do not have to once in a blue moon to ensure the customer will make the best decision for him or her.

Keep in mind a sale can be made however not guaranteed. Not every sales call moves smoothly where the customer knows in their heart and mind it is the right decision and the only decision with no question with what is right. I do not recommend every sale be this tough however there are times they are and you must know how guide the client to the best decision for him or her.

When the customer shows resistance and reluctance that is not a natural progression of consent in my mind and I do not present that as a natural progression of consent. It could be a difference of how we interpret natural progression of consent.

Typically when this situation is present with any of my sales calls it is due to missing something that was stated by the customer or by me not communicating better with the customer so they could make the best decision.
- by rich34232
Rich, can you describe such an event as differentiated from a progression?

Strategy in selling reveals that we can't guarantee a sale even if the salesperson is errorless, and executes the sales process with exactitude. (Such as you described above.)

Your post would imply that a single maneuver, tactic, reframing, etc. (a "close") would now complete a sale. Yet tactics are baseless without foundation. Can you show where your close stands independent of what came before (the foundation)?

If you can, it would lay new ground in sales education. If you can't, you may consider that what you describe as a single event was merely part of the chain of progression of consent.

Interesting topic, and one that has prompted members to take advantage of my accessibility by phone.
Is that 5% a result of buying resistance due to fear. Fear that the product won't do what you say it will. When we have a stall at the end and we know our prospect is a true prospect then, then isn't the stall driven by fear? Failure to isolate objections properly can build mistrust. There may be many reasons a prospect stalls at the end. - by triadtraining
The not so cool time is when everything is completed perfectly and no sale. It happens.
Typically when this situation is present with any of my sales calls it is due to missing something that was stated by the customer or by me not communicating better with the customer so they could make the best decision.
Those are contradictory statements. Which is it?

In any event, what you described is definitely a progression rather than freestanding event. Watch:
I will start asking questions to get him or her to question their decision.

I may throw out examples such as isn’t it better to spend more than you thought then less than you should.

That's a question asking for agreement, i.e., consent. If you don't get consent, you're not moving forward.

I will then tell a story of a customer that did the very same thing only to discover within a few days weeks months the need to replace the product.


I have been known to ask customers what kind of suits they purchase then ask why. I know the customer at this time and I pretty much know what to expect if they purchase suits from penny’s or warehouse or custom. When I am informed of the higher price suits due to maintaining color over years and use I now can take the faucet at a cost to them instead of price. Cost is based over the life of the product where price is a onetime issue.

That's a viewpoint via analogy asking agreement, i.e., consent. If you don't get consent, you're not moving forward.


If "I cannot afford the item" enters the equation which we know to be a stall is thrown into I must be able to explain why they cannot afford not to move in the right direction today. Sometimes I must be able to beat back the reasons a customer will not choose the best price.

Again, needs consent by the prospect to your point of view. If you don't get consent, you're not moving forward.
On the first page of SalesPractice.com you will find the following:

Closing the sale: The Close is the moment in a sales call when the salesperson implies, invites or confirms a commitment to act whereas "Closing the Sale" is bringing a prospect to the conclusion to buy. In that context closing is not an event but a progression of consent.

That's the position of the developers of SalesPractice. The word "natural" was not used and the use of that word would not change context or the Developers' position.

The mission and intention here, as developed by Jeff Blackwell, the site's founder, is to remain the definitive source of sales education on the Internet. That education contains the premise for all discussion that CLOSING IS A PROGRESSION OF CONSENT. - by Gary A Boye
Is that 5% a result of buying resistance due to fear. Fear that the product won't do what you say it will. When we have a stall at the end and we know our prospect is a true prospect then, then isn't the stall driven by fear? Failure to isolate objections properly can build mistrust. There may be many reasons a prospect stalls at the end.
I agree that fear is often a factor. - by Gary A Boye
Progression of consent; Defined by gaining agreement I would think your explanation is fair. If the definition that is in your post had been posted with the question the only answer available is yes.

Where my definition changes and it is my problem to get over,accept or keep my definition as is: I do not believe I have a progression of consent when I receive reluctance or resistance to my proposal and I must talk,convince, and guide, persuade the customer to change their mind on the initial agreement. I do not see this as a sequence of events. Maybe I should lose the interpretation of gradual in my mind. That is why I am here to be convinced to change.

I have a problem with the definition as it would include manipulation,using fear( creating a picture of impending disaster) to force the customer into a decision and receive consent.

The not so cool time is when everything is completed perfectly and no sale. It happens.
Typically when this situation is present with any of my sales calls it is due to missing something that was stated by the customer or by me not communicating better with the customer so they could make the best decision

I do not see it as a contradiction. If the first statement is false then every time I have a perfect presentation a sale would happen. We know that is false as a condition can occur to stop the perfect presentation.Jeff pointed out to me as an example one time youíre talking to a buyer and he or she dies. A more realistic one would be speaking to a buyer and he or she has an accident and enters the hospital and prevents the sale from moving forward.

Typically means usually it does not imply all the time. It would have the same power as preponderance of times, majority, greater part. I am sure we can find exceptions to any statement.

I may miss something the customer states or I may not communicate effectively to the customer where he or she has understood my solution and the sale is lost.

I can fail miserably with my presentation but it made perfect sense to my customer and a decision to buy is made. I can make a perfect presentation and the customer decides to buy happens too.

There are 2 different perceptions of my performance when I am involved in the sale

1.Me the seller
2.The buyer

The buyerís perception of performance is the one that counts.

I am writing from the sellerís perception. - by rich34232
Gary this is what I was talking about in Facebook. Discussing stuff and looking at it from a different point of view. I am enjoying this conversation and trying to see a different point of view. - by rich34232
Gary this is what I was talking about in Facebook. Discussing stuff and looking at it from a different point of view. I am enjoying this conversation and trying to see a different point of view.
You have to decide what your core beliefs are. Our core belief is that closing in sales is a progression of consent. We also believe that definition is the most accurate definition ever stated in the history of examination of the sales process. As a result, the developers of SalesPractice would endorse only those viewpoints that are 100% consistent with that definition regardless of contexts or members' attempts to provide examples of exceptions.

Obviously the site does not have a secondary purpose of being a platform for opposing points of view that would undermine our commitment to sales education founded on the developers' core beliefs.

There are many newcomers to sales that visit this site. We believe that the understanding of closing that we put forth will further their careers and futures, as well as enhance their income dramatically. - by Gary A Boye
I understand Gary. I will bow out of the discussion as I am not sure I can change my core beliefs . I look forward to reading more comments that may entice me to change the way I am thinking at this time.
- by rich34232
Perhaps this thread is appropriate for what I'm about to say.

For the sake of fluent conversation, I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to referring to "principles of selling." But in reality there are NO "principles" that govern effectiveness in selling. In strategy, golf, seamanship, chess, tennis, and countless other pursuits, principles are isolated and ascribed to by those who excel.

Let's get our context straight on this. By principles, I'm not referring to the usage of the word that pertains to ethics, morality, or character. Instead, I'm referring to hardwired tenets or what some sales or motivational teachers have referred to as "laws".

In sales, there are Understandings. A person could spend an entire lifetime selling for a living (a job), and never possess clear understandings of the nature, or even the objectives, of his/her work. Many in search of improvement grope for a magic formula, a guru's secret sauce recipe, a set of rules, or an epiphany to change the course of their ploddings from mediocrity to mastery. Others, and these are the majority, rely on what they think they know, and are hobbled by the condition that they do not know what they do not know, when in fact the realization of what they do not know would be a life-changing event.

Understandings never come from being bombarded with "principles", laws, bulleted lists, or jargon of the day. Understandings come from comparatives. The philosopher Ayn Rand might have said it best when she said that in order to grasp any concept, you have to realize both the genus and the differentia from previously acquired information. What's different and what's the same? For instance, when I look up the great sales trainer Tom Hopkins' "definition" of closing ("Closing is the process of helping people make decisions that are good for them"), I see it as an arbitrary definition that works for some very important points he wants to make. But Hopkins immediately identifies that statement as an "understanding." When I compare it to the definition on SalesPractice, I find that our definition zeros into the very essence of moving to a desired outcome. That progression of consent exists in ALL completed sales transactions. It is not arbitrary--it is simply there.

This thread began with the title, "Closing is generally regarded as the most difficult part of the selling process."

That statement is probably true. One of the objectives of SalesPractice is to provide an UNDERSTANDING of closing that will completely nullify those difficulties. At that point closing will become so easy that it becomes almost invisible. - by Gary A Boye
Perhaps this thread is appropriate for what I'm about to say.

For the sake of fluent conversation, I'm as guilty as anyone when it comes to referring to "principles of selling." But in reality there are NO "principles" that govern effectiveness in selling.

Understandings never come from being bombarded with "principles", laws, bulleted lists, or jargon of the day.

Understandings come from comparatives. The philosopher Ayn Rand might have said it best when she said that in order to grasp any concept, you have to realize both the genus and the differentia from previously acquired information. What's different and what's the same?

That statement is probably true. One of the objectives of SalesPractice is to provide an UNDERSTANDING of closing that will completely nullify those difficulties. At that point closing will become so easy that it becomes almost invisible.
Gary--excellent post!

As Slavoj Zizek once said, " I'm not where I think."

Selling is as you have said, a people business where the best rendition of the sales engagement consists of multiple "understandings."

Real communication occurs in the unsaid verbal descriptions as the effect of who we are, with the silent mind of understanding as the cause.

Understanding can be verbally referred to but it is not a "thinking" matter involving language.

I believe that sales laws, rules, and principals act as placebos. They are non-existent but get the credit for the accumulating internal developing understandings of the new agent.

On the other hand, how else can you teach sales without such ideologies that offer the possibility of consistent results? - by John Voris
Gary--excellent post!

As Slavoj Zizek once said, " I'm not where I think."

Selling is as you have said, a people business where the best rendition of the sales engagement consists of multiple "understandings."

Real communication occurs in the unsaid verbal descriptions as the effect of who we are, with the silent mind of understanding as the cause.

Understanding can be verbally referred to but it is not a "thinking" matter involving language.

I believe that sales laws, rules, and principals act as placebos. They are non-existent but get the credit for the accumulating internal developing understandings of the new agent.

On the other hand, how else can you teach sales without such ideologies that offer the possibility of consistent results?
Gary, Very well said, closing should be a seamless conclusion to a progression through getting attention, arousing interest, creating desire, handling concerns and finally and seamlessly closing! - by triadtraining
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