If you were to ask what scares people about being a salesperson, they would say the fear of closing a sale. How we close and the techniques we use is often what many buyers say they dislike about salespeople. The strategies once used need to be reviewed and new ones implemented.
- Assemble a group of business people. Bring up the subject of closing sales and I can guarantee it will generate a wide array of opinions. There will be some sales professionals who will bring up the strategies they learned in training classes a decade ago. Those just entering a sales career will flag the close as the part of the job that they fear the most. Then some from other professions will state that closing techniques are what most negatively impact the credibility and lack of trust for salespeople. If that's all true, then we need to reexamine closing strategies from how we've done it in the past.
We also need to work on overcoming a real perception issue that plagues salespeople. What is the cause of this misinterpretation of the job, and also specifically, closing sales? It probably starts first with stereotypes. Unfortunately, we're all guilty of labeling certain professions incorrectly. Think of how we may view lawyers, accountants, or specific age groups, from Millennials to Baby Boomers. With salespeople, the deceptive and really aggressive closer is one that often comes to mind for many people.
Second, I believe it's how salespeople have been depicted in movies, and that has a major impact on perception. Alec Baldwin's intense line, "Always be closing," or the technique shown in a variety of Wall Street movies have unfortunately left a really negative image of what salespeople are told to focus on. There's the famous line, "Sell me this pen," which makes for a great movie scene but illustrates how some salespeople immediately try to sell and close without assessing the need, asking questions, and then enabling the buyer to make the decision.
Let's face it, the third issue comes from questionable techniques used for decades and then passed on as training methods for the next generation of salespeople. When I started in sales, I worked with some really seasoned colleagues who did tell me manipulative ways to get to the close quickly and then not take no for an answer. Lastly, the perception of the close being stressful does carry a lot of truth. We've worked hard to cultivate a lead, develop an opportunity, and overcome objections.
We want the business, and at the same time, we're also well aware that that our livelihood depends on bringing in sales for the companies that we work for. It's natural to fear rejection when attempting to close a sale. This is way proper training and building confidence is important. Ask others about the sales profession and those issues I've just mentioned are unfortunately quite common. This means that the strategies from years past about closing sales, or the ones you're currently using, need to be regularly reviewed and improved.
The close can be stressful, but it is essential that the credibility you attain and the trust you earn from your buyer never be compromised in order to get a sale.