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What is closing to you?

I found a great quote to describe what closing is: "Closing is the process of helping people make a decision that will benefit them."

Thoughts, opinions? - by bridger480
I found a great quote to describe what closing is: "Closing is the process of helping people make a decision that will benefit them."

Thoughts, opinions?
Neither. Instead, a question for you. Why do you think that's a great quote? - by Gary Boye
Why do you think that's a great quote?
I think it is a great quote because it is very clear and to the point. Do you like it too? - by bridger480
I think it is a great quote because it is very clear and to the point. Do you like it too?
I think it's very clear and to the point and nondescriptive to the point of inaccuracy. But on the plus side--it sounds nice.

Before you read that quote, what did you think closing is? You must have had some belief--having entered sales. Do you think, for instance, that the words "natural" and "culmination" could be used in a sentence that describes closing?

I'll bet that whatever you say about what you thought "closing is" is better than what I thought it was when I was a greenhorn. - by Gary Boye
Before you read that quote, what did you think closing is?
Before the quote I thought closing was asking for the sale. - by bridger480
Before the quote I thought closing was asking for the sale.
"I think it's very clear and to the point and nondescriptive to the point of inaccuracy. But on the plus side--it sounds nice." -- Gary

Sounding nice is on the plus side, huh! YOU are too funny Gary! But that's a good point maybe. If more things sounded nice wouldn't it be a nicer world?

Or would it? Or how to put not nice but important things in nice ways, is that the question?

What is closing is something that has puzzled my mind a lot. After grappling with it over and over to the point of frustration and serious identity problems - wanting to cut yourself when you shave out of exasperation is an example - one day this gal said: I want some of that stuff! and she meant it and stuck with it.

That along with what a few people had been telling me began to clear the air. - by MitchM
I think it's very clear and to the point and nondescriptive to the point of inaccuracy. But on the plus side--it sounds nice.
What do you think closing is? - by bridger480
Before the quote I thought closing was asking for the sale.
I think that is a very good definition and I believe you should stay with it. I would not at this point let anyone, including me, give you a better definition.

Sales Trainer Dan Kennedy has said that if you need to close, you've opened poorly.

If you concentrate on learning the sales process, you'll find that sales will come naturally as a culmination of the things you've done right. Closing will not even occupy your thoughts. - by Gary Boye
I found a great quote to describe what closing is: "Closing is the process of helping people make a decision that will benefit them."

Thoughts, opinions?
Put your two ideas together and you will be well on your way my friend. Asking for the sale and/or helping people make a decision isn't always required but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. ;) - by SalesGuy
Put your two ideas together and you will be well on your way my friend. Asking for the sale and/or helping people make a decision isn't always required but it doesn't hurt to be prepared. ;)
Thank you for your input Salesguy. :) - by bridger480
Sales Trainer Dan Kennedy has said that if you need to close, you've opened poorly.

If you concentrate on learning the sales process, you'll find that sales will come naturally as a culmination of the things you've done right. Closing will not even occupy your thoughts.
Closing is a lot of things, but in its most simplest form, it is still 'asking for the sale' in my book. Yes, it gets easier. No, it needn't occupy your thoughts. But YES, in my humble opinion, it will always be necessary. I think many prospects who have already decided to buy, will still wait for you to ask for their business. - by RainMaker
I think many prospects who have already decided to buy, will still wait for you to ask for their business.
Good point, RM. It puts closing in a simple perspective. - by Gary Boye
Closing is making people believe they need what they most likely dont.;sm

If they needed it so bad they would have it already! - by adammead26
Q: What is... The time in a sales call when the salesperson implies, invites or confirms a commitment?

A: Closing.

cl2; - by Marcus
I found a great quote to describe what closing is: "Closing is the process of helping people make a decision that will benefit them."

Thoughts, opinions?
Technically speaking I disagree with this definition.

I've always understood closing to mean simply having the prospect explicitly make an agreement to buy which occurs at the end of a presentation. The definition you're giving can describe the entire sales presentation (I've already stated that "You gotta open 'em up before you can close 'em). - by Wonderboy
Closing is a lot of things, but in its most simplest form, it is still 'asking for the sale' in my book.
I agree. I am astounded at the number of salespeople I see who think they are asking for the sale, but they really aren't. For instance, "So, what do you think?" is not asking for the sale and it's not "closing."

I do want to add that "closing" can also be other things than just completing a sales transation. You can also close by getting the prospect to agree to a second appointment, or a scheduled phone call, or whatever. That's closing, too.

The best to you! - by Skip Anderson
Skip & Marcus seem closest to a definition of closing because their commentary includes more than simply "asking for the order".

I must admit that I feel pain for the rookies when I hear things like the following: "Sales Trainer Dan Kennedy has said that if you need to close, you've opened poorly." Dan seems to think that the relative time in the cyle is the key ("open" = "first" & "close" = "ending"). Sorry ... that was too easy.

Those who are truly proficient at closing are progressing steadily through the sales cycle by consistently asking for commitment (next meeting, appropriate & appealing features/benefits, terms, etc.) as well as asking for the order.

A few years ago, I was negotiating a fairly complicated deal with a HUGE multi-national. It involved them having acquired the rights to a company in the U.S. and assuming those rights extended to the software licenses listed as assets (anyone in the technology business knows that software licenses are NOT assets). They were not pleased and were borderline confrontational in almost every meeting. The revenue opportunity inherent with the software's capabilities implied a fast ROI and a strong revenue stream (video on-demand before any of us knew what it meant). It was like "pulling hen's teeth" to keep them focused on the upside. The ultimate P.O. was for about $125K because I'd negotiated a massive discount with our supplier. The P.O. had to go across to their H.O. in the Netherlands. After months of "to and fro", I got a call from their purchasing group in Ottawa seeking further discount ("I've got a P.O. for $90K if you'll authorize me to proceed") but I dug in my heels because we'd already provided a truly meaningful discount (I really went to the wall with our supplier). We got the P.O. for $125K in the fall.

My point: I couldn't tell you how many closes pushed this one along but, until the P.O. was finally in-hand, the customer was not ecstatic (the user group was definitely pleased and my contacts were thrilled)!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
My point: I couldn't tell you how many closes pushed this one along but, until the P.O. was finally in-hand, the customer was not ecstatic (the user group was definitely pleased and my contacts were thrilled)!

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat
Pat, can you give a brief description of at least one of the closes you referred to in this transaction? - by Joe Closer
Joe, you asked for "a brief description of at least one of the closes you referred to in this transaction".

To make any sense of this thread, I'll need to put some of the politics into perspective:
1. our supplier was managed by an overly agressive, boor of the worst sort ... during forecasting calls, his favorite line about lost deals was, "...someone's going under the bus for this one..." (during a time where their revenues & margins were off); and,
2. our company had the rights in Canada to their software (testing, performance/capacity mgmt tools); and,
3. the user group within the customer did application development and the specific need, in this instance, was capacity planning (ie. they had a massive percentage of their revenue forecast predicated on video on-demand ... the capacity planning tool offered them an accurate way to "predict" what was required);
4. legal counsel within our client had seriously dropped the ball when they did not point out the (not so) subtlety regarding software licenses NOT being "transferrable" when a company is acquired ... our supplier's legal counsel could NOT relent on what appeared to be a iron-fisted stance (appropriately so);

Closing samples:
1. I hit a brick wall with the supplier's legal counsel because they did NOT want to set a precendent by ignoring what is considered "cast-in-stone" (licenses) BUT I pushed them to consider the entire situation by doing a rendition of the Ben Franklin close ... UNsuccessfully;
2. during numerous teleconferences, the VP sales at our supplier was an arrogant jerk who would not listen to our justificiation for providing massive incentives to get this done quickly as the list price for the required configuratoin was approx. $250K US (remember that, given the erroneous assumption wrt software licenses, this was entirely UNbudgetted) ... we had proposed a number of alternatives (eg. give them 'X' seats free + pay list for balance; propose discounted professional services: waive the license fiasco; etc.) but he needed the margin for his bonus and was concerned that his forecasting bonus would be lost (I found these points out quite by accident) ... I positioned the situation, "...the competition is at his desk weekly with their tools attractively priced. If pressed, they might drop back 10 and punt this whole thing into next fiscal year. Remember, 100% of zero will NOT get you to your targets this year, so, it comes down to it you either:
a) accept the heavily discounted existing software and make it up with additional seats at list with implied PS revenue; or,
b) table something else immediately which illustrates that we are genuinely interested in assisting them with their business"
Without breathing I finished with, "... which works better for you, (a) or (b)?"
3. during a training session at our supplier's H.O. (in the summer), the president walked in to participate one of the luncheons with channel partners. He sat next to me, talked small stuff for a few minutes, then, blurted out, "when will this be coming off the forecast?" His body language was brutal as he was leaning almost on my shoulder as he sat in his seat: talk about anxious! I briefly told him that we had everything in front of the user group and, given the fact that it was an unbudgetted initiative over $100K US, it MUST go to CFO at the the customer's global H.O. in the Netherlands. He asked if I would be upset if his SR for Canada made a direct call to my contact. I said, "... if you are expressing frustration, I acknowledge it and I understand. BUT if you are expressing some sort of lack-of-confidence, then I can only assume that you're getting a jaded report on what's transpired to date." Without waiting, I added, "However, where I acknowledge the fact that you guys have a lot riding on this opportunity, you're putting your fiscal/forecasting issues in front of someone within the user group (ie. my contact) who has absolutely no interest in YOUR problems. Which would you rather do:
a) without injuring the process, ask me ANYTHING you want today about what's in-process; OR,
b) have someone who the client doesn't know, phone out of the blue and put the entire relationship into jeopardy?"

Joe Closer, I think you get the idea that I can't do this without getting the situation into perspective. So, for the sake of brevity, I'll wrap this diatribe here ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
Joe Closer, I think you get the idea that I can't do this without getting the situation into perspective. So, for the sake of brevity, I'll wrap this diatribe here ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat
I do undertand, Pat.

Your example(s) above, more than anything else, serve as a demonstration of very clear thinking on your part. I admire your professionalism. I admire your ability to decipher and confront the purest issues.

Thank you so much for sharing. - by Joe Closer
Q: What is... The time in a sales call when the salesperson implies, invites or confirms a commitment?

A: Closing.

cl2;
Nice.

Thanks, Marcus. - by Joe Closer
Joe, you asked for "a brief description of at least one of the closes you referred to in this transaction".

To make any sense of this thread, I'll need to put some of the politics into perspective:
1. our supplier was managed by an overly agressive, boor of the worst sort ... during forecasting calls, his favorite line about lost deals was, "...someone's going under the bus for this one..." (during a time where their revenues & margins were off); and,
2. our company had the rights in Canada to their software (testing, performance/capacity mgmt tools); and,
3. the user group within the customer did application development and the specific need, in this instance, was capacity planning (ie. they had a massive percentage of their revenue forecast predicated on video on-demand ... the capacity planning tool offered them an accurate way to "predict" what was required);
4. legal counsel within our client had seriously dropped the ball when they did not point out the (not so) subtlety regarding software licenses NOT being "transferrable" when a company is acquired ... our supplier's legal counsel could NOT relent on what appeared to be a iron-fisted stance (appropriately so);

Closing samples:
1. I hit a brick wall with the supplier's legal counsel because they did NOT want to set a precendent by ignoring what is considered "cast-in-stone" (licenses) BUT I pushed them to consider the entire situation by doing a rendition of the Ben Franklin close ... UNsuccessfully;
2. during numerous teleconferences, the VP sales at our supplier was an arrogant jerk who would not listen to our justificiation for providing massive incentives to get this done quickly as the list price for the required configuratoin was approx. $250K US (remember that, given the erroneous assumption wrt software licenses, this was entirely UNbudgetted) ... we had proposed a number of alternatives (eg. give them 'X' seats free + pay list for balance; propose discounted professional services: waive the license fiasco; etc.) but he needed the margin for his bonus and was concerned that his forecasting bonus would be lost (I found these points out quite by accident) ... I positioned the situation, "...the competition is at his desk weekly with their tools attractively priced. If pressed, they might drop back 10 and punt this whole thing into next fiscal year. Remember, 100% of zero will NOT get you to your targets this year, so, it comes down to it you either:
a) accept the heavily discounted existing software and make it up with additional seats at list with implied PS revenue; or,
b) table something else immediately which illustrates that we are genuinely interested in assisting them with their business"
Without breathing I finished with, "... which works better for you, (a) or (b)?"
3. during a training session at our supplier's H.O. (in the summer), the president walked in to participate one of the luncheons with channel partners. He sat next to me, talked small stuff for a few minutes, then, blurted out, "when will this be coming off the forecast?" His body language was brutal as he was leaning almost on my shoulder as he sat in his seat: talk about anxious! I briefly told him that we had everything in front of the user group and, given the fact that it was an unbudgetted initiative over $100K US, it MUST go to CFO at the the customer's global H.O. in the Netherlands. He asked if I would be upset if his SR for Canada made a direct call to my contact. I said, "... if you are expressing frustration, I acknowledge it and I understand. BUT if you are expressing some sort of lack-of-confidence, then I can only assume that you're getting a jaded report on what's transpired to date." Without waiting, I added, "However, where I acknowledge the fact that you guys have a lot riding on this opportunity, you're putting your fiscal/forecasting issues in front of someone within the user group (ie. my contact) who has absolutely no interest in YOUR problems. Which would you rather do:
a) without injuring the process, ask me ANYTHING you want today about what's in-process; OR,
b) have someone who the client doesn't know, phone out of the blue and put the entire relationship into jeopardy?"

Joe Closer, I think you get the idea that I can't do this without getting the situation into perspective. So, for the sake of brevity, I'll wrap this diatribe here ...

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat
Great story, Pat.

Skip Anderson - by Skip Anderson
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