Sales Excellence: How to Close Anything and Everything in Any Vertical

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

CLOSING-OVERRATED.jpg

I was listening to CNN on Satellite Radio and in between rants about the immigration ban, protests, the federal judge who issued a stay, and Trump's first week's worth of executive orders, an advertisement came on promoting How to Close Anything and Everything, no matter what you sell and who you sell it to.  And to make their offer even more enticing - it's being offered for free!  Did you hear it?  It wasn't a promotion for my company...

Closing is awfully important. Nothing happens until the business gets closed.  But most people don't know the real truth about closing.

I am going to share the real truth about closing and it's quite different from what you've read, what you've listened to, what you've watched, and probably from what you've practiced.  Countless books, tapes, videos and podcasts have been devoted to closing techniques.  Thousands of companies deliver seminars and training programs to help salespeople develop their closing skills.  They're all wrong and they have all wasted your time.

I have written 1,600 articles and not once have I shared the closing secret that I am about to share in this article.

Objective Management Group (OMG) has evaluated and assessed over one million salespeople.  If we review the 21 Sales Core Competencies, zoom in on the 10 Tactical Selling Competencies, and then filter the results to show average scores for elite salespeople - only the top 7% - you will see this:

Elite-Selling-Competecy-Scores.jpg
Top 7% of All Salespeople

Notice that the best salespeople in the world possess fewer than half of the attributes of the Closer competency - it's their second worst score next to Social Selling (isn't that ironic?).

If closing is so important, then how come the world's best salespeople don't have very good closing skills?

The top 7% have closing skills that are twice as good as the general sales population who average only 23% of the attributes of the Closer competency. 

All-Salespeople-Tactical-Selling-Competencies.jpg
All Salespeople

But this isn't about contrast. I told you that I want to share the truth about closing.

The average scores for elite salespeople are very good for Hunting, Consultative Selling, Qualifying, Presenting and Sales Process.  

If you start with an effective sales process and follow it, keep your pipeline filled through consistent hunting, use an effective consultative approach, and thoroughly qualify, the business will simply close and most of the time, you will be the one who wins it.

However, if you don't have an effective, predictive sales process, don't take a consultative approach and don't thoroughly qualify, then the pressure will be on you to be a great closer.  And even if you are a great closer, most of the time, it still won't be enough to get the business.

Some of the companies that have asked me to help were winning an incredibly small percentage of business.  Most of them believed they needed training to improve their salespeople's closing skills when the reality was that they were not executing the milestones and competencies that precede closing.

Winning business is not brain surgery, but developing the skills to execute an effective process, be a consultative seller and qualify effectively takes time and a lot of practice.

Great salespeople do this.  Great sales trainers know how to teach this.  Great sales managers know how to coach to this.  Nike said it best.  Just do it.  

It's not a secret anymore.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, Closing Skills, Closing Sales, closing excellence

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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