We Need A Good Closer.
Actually, you DON’T. Why? Because there is no such thing as a ‘Good Closer’ and I’m afraid to say that sadly, THIS IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS I’ve ever come across in the Sales Profession.
Why closing sales is not important:
On many an occasion you hear this term used by companies with great intentions. “We’re not closing enough sales, we need a great Closer so we can win more deals”
Makes sense doesn’t it?
Again, with good intention, they look for a big hitter to bring on board, pay them too much, funnel the highest value opportunities towards them and then things don’t quite manifest themselves as they were expected to. Your magical ‘Closer’ can’t get them over the finish line either.
Because the assumption that you needed someone with closing skills was completely wrong in the first place.
What if I told you that closing was the one part of your sales process that requires the least amount of skill to be effective at?
I mean, asking a five word question, ‘Can We Go Ahead Now?’, doesn’t exactly require reserves of bravery or buckets of intellect not commonly found in most people.
Let’s look at the situation a little further:
Grab a blank piece of paper and make note of all of the objections you tend to come across when you ask for the order or attempt closing sales. Typically, that list is going to look like this:
Not all stakeholders involved
Timing related – budget renewals/compelling events
Please note that ‘Technical Reasons’ always fall under the category of Need. It’s worth noting at this stage that for many Sales People, asking for an order almost inevitably results in a flurry of objections that could have been pre-empted and dealt with far earlier on in the process. By not addressing these key factors, Sales People create a huge amount of unnecessary pressure on themselves when closing sales and subsequently this can lead to them avoiding asking for the business.
Where do you think BANT came from?
The fact that universally, objections at the point of closing sales, tend to fall into these categories, is the very reason that BANT qualification is so widely and effectively used.
Flipping the sale on its head
What BANT qualification essentially does is flip the sales process on it’s head and address the factors that tend to give you headaches when you ask for business, far earlier on in your Sales Process.
This enables you to to clear, or handle, any resistance that may lie in the path to closing your deal or, more importantly lose the un-closable deals from your forecast much earlier.
In truth, there are a lot of Sales People out there routinely trying to close the un-closable. What’s even more worrying is that they are usually totally oblivious to it.
For reference, the qualification criteria I use is Need, Money (not Budget), Timing, Authority and perhaps most importantly of all, have I got a Champion? It’s a slightly more modern way of thinking and working.
It’s great to become ruthless at qualification but the very best Sales People I know balance ruthless qualification against the paramount importance of being able to create and build relationships with the individuals they engage with.
That’s why it makes sense to incorporate the Champion status of an account (wether you have one or not) into your qualification criteria.
Let’s face it, if you haven’t got a Champion, you could qualify the deal to the Nth degree but if there’s no relationship there, I wouldn’t hedge your bets it’s going to come in just yet. Especially if this is a competitive situation. After all, if the person you’re speaking to doesn’t like you or your service, how likely are they to buy from you?
The fact remains that handling enquiries and qualifying sales effectively will always require infinitely more skill and shall always be more important to your success than focussing on ‘closing sales’ ever will.
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