I recently got a call from a Sales Director who said he said he wanted a 1-day closing course for his sales team because they just couldn’t close. As I tried to drill down into the detail, he got quite exasperated, and said “Look my figures back it up – the conversion rate is low, therefore they can’t close.” We agreed that I would do a small pilot which would also act as a sanity check with regard to actually what was happening (although he thought this was a waste of time).
So as experienced sales people, what do you think I found? Here are some of the highlights:
• The sales people used ABC – always be closing – they closed morning, noon and night
• They had moved from selling transactional products that could be closed in one call to more complex products and services that could take 10 calls to close
• Their behaviour hadn’t changed and they tried to close every call
• Their customers got annoyed and frustrated at their attempts to close (I will write a post regarding customer buying cycles in the next few days)
• The actual issue was that they had failed to fully understand the customer’s requirements early in the discussions (too busy closing) and hence could not link their own value proposition to the customer’s actual needs
So, we finally agreed that the training required was around understanding the customer’s needs, questioning and listening, and developing a proposal that linked the value of their solution directly to the customer’s business issues. I also developed one more idea to channel the great closing energy they had into a more appropriate customer focused sales technique that I will discuss in my next post The Commitment Staircase.