Scratch everything you’ve been told. Here are 6 closing sale skills you should NOT do in B2B sales…
This is Jerry……don’t be like Jerry.
I recently came across this list of 6 ways to close a sale. It made me think how glad I am to not be in a space that ever relied on these tactics.
Below are what each means and why they do not work for a business-to-business operator who intends on having a long-term, highly reputable career.
- Now or Never Close
This technique works because it creates a sense of urgency and can help overcome inertia when a prospect wants to buy — but for some reason isn’t pulling the trigger.
I’ve been on the receiving end of countless calls like this and it always grinds my gears. It’s an outdated relationship killer. I’ll tell you what beats creating urgency, and creating a reputation for being trustworthy and transparent. In this way, when there is a legitimate opportunity with time constraints, the tight network the effective B2B agent has built will ensure that they close the deal in the given time frame. In this way, you may not close every deal, but you set the groundwork for years of high-trust, low hassle, transactions without creating artificial stressors for your network.
- Summary Close:
Salespeople who use this closing technique reiterate the items the customer is hopefully purchasing (stressing the value and benefits) in an effort to get the prospect to sign.
The importance of knowing what you are selling and accurately explaining this to your client is obvious. Using it to close a deal is superficial and not highly valued over a longer time horizon. There are plenty of people who can competently explain a product or a service and sell on that basis, but if you want to be effective long-term, you need to move well beyond this preschool stage of selling. You should aim to get yourself into such a trustworthy position; by being an area expert and legitimately good human. In this way you never have to close based on regurgitating data, but on people having faith in your recommendations.
- Sharp Angle Close:
Prospects often ask for price reductions or ad-on because they know they have the upper hand — and they also know you expect it. If you have approval from your sales manager to do so, try the sharp angle close technique to catch these prospects by surprise. Eg. “Sure. But if I do that for you, will you sign the contract today?“
This goes hand in hand with point one. This may work for Jerry at Harvey Norman, when negotiating an additional warranty period on a Dyson Airblade, but if you are trying to cultivate an enduring business partner, never do this. You may achieve the sale with your cunning, but the other party will walk away feeling used and abused. Are they likely to return for another highly charged encounter with your closing prowess? Probably not.
- Questions Close:
It’s imperative that reps ask prospects probing questions. Effective salespeople focus on closing a sale as soon as a conversation with a prospect begins. Through a series of questions, they develop desire in the client and eliminate every objection to purchase.
This close relies on the assumption that most people are not very bright. If you enter an interaction with only the close in mind the insincerity will be easily detected by even those with a low-level bullshit radar. The antidote to this type of thinking is genuine curiosity. Even if you are typically a self-centered human (guilty as charged), you can cultivate this powerful and highly transferable skill.
Guards will drop if your client/business partner senses you actually care. Once a person is relaxed you can understand what interests and motivates them. By fulfilling these needs, as opposed to shoving a product/service down someone’s throat from the outset, you will have an exponentially greater chance of a long-term association.
- Assumptive Close:
This closing technique draws on the power of positive thinking. If you believe, from the first piece of email outreach, you will close this deal, it can have an incredible effect on the rest of the sales process.
I don’t know about you, but the assumptive close is one of the more irritating. If you never want to sell me something or work with me again then treat me like you have already closed the deal. There is a big difference between being confident in yourself and your product or service and making assumptions about if the other party in on board. Instead, I suggest striving to be the best in your field, being patient, and waiting for those who are attracted to that energy come to you.
- Take Away Close:
If you have kids, you’ve likely noticed if you take a toy away from them — they’ll want it more than ever. Use this similar psychological practice on your prospects. If they’re balking on price, remove a feature or service and present the discounted offer to them. It’s likely, they’ll be thinking about the part you removed rather than the discounted price.
I sometimes use this. Not as a closing tactic but to demonstrate the value proposition of spending a small amount more for a much better outcome. Using your industry knowledge to assist your partners to secure a superior deal is not a sales tactic, but good business. If the other party walks away from the transaction with a win, and you have sold them a superior product; then both parties will be happier and will likely work together again.
So don’t be like Jerry. He might close a lot of deals if given unlimited access to clients or business partners. But he has to wake up and try equally hard every day. Jerry has missed the point.
If he spent less time employing sales tactics and more time on developing area expertise and cultivating a stellar reputation, then he would find he can drop the bulls*!# and focus on good business in high-trust environments.
Ryan Chapman is one of the Partners at ARG. We are a property partner to many finance and investment strategists throughout the country.