Today is the Friday that marks the last workweek day of Q1’2019 which is generally the last selling day of the quarter (although all of us have from time to time closed deals during the weekend or got the final paperwork signature on a Sunday night). A lot of sales reps will be “closing” their deals today.
And thinking about “Closing” reminds me that there are some out there in sales that may still think that “closing” is actually defined by some selling tactics like the ones found in a classic book “The Secrets of Closing the Sale“. The problem is that these tactics are too old-school and most of these tactics will not work in the modern SaaS selling context. More importantly, the modern definition of “Closing” means something different today than it did decades ago because selling has changed (and has advanced a great deal, especially in the SaaS world). Just watch this video from Anthony Iannarino on this point:
“Closing matters even if it means something different than it did in 1978.” – Anthony Iannarino (video link)
Closing is not these:
- Closing is not a single one-time event that happens only once at the very end
- Closing is not some pushy or manipulative tactic or some disingenuous technique
- Closing is not “ABC” – i.e. “Always Be Closing” – or any other hardball tactics
I’ve heard some VPs of Sales telling their reps “ABC” – this is bad advice and an outmoded idea in selling. Don’t let the 1992 Hollywood classic “Glengarry Glen Ross” lead you astray. Don’t confuse 1990’s Hollywood with modern SaaS.
So what is Closing? Closing is not a singular event that just happens at the end of your sales cycle (or buyer’s journey). It is a continuous process that evolves over all the interactions you have with your prospective buyer. Closing happens naturally as a result of a set of macro- and micro-commitments that lead them to discover this is the best solution for them (“Micro-commitments” as referred to by Jeb Blount).
And the final closing (the last step in a closing process) can be your “final ask” and the final commitment you need to gain to put the deal in motion. Anthony Iannarino says that it is a “criminal negligence if you don’t ask for the business”. So that final ask is the final closing in the entire cycle.
Trish Bertuzzi posted this as a suggestion for such a “final ask” in a closing process and said, “Have no fear…just ask the question: What do I have to do to earn your business TODAY? You might not like the answer but you will have the truth.”
Basically, the final stage of closing is when the salesperson gets the agreement from the Prospect to pursue the solution to the Prospect’s challenges/problems that was discovered in the first or second stage of your Sales Process and specifically during the Needs Analysis.
Here is a key point to note – the fact is if you are managing your selling and prospect relationship effectively, then your prospects should be, in a way, just closing themselves as a natural conversation. They should have a challenge/problem that they need solved and should discover on their own what is the right solution for them (including price) and if it is yours then that means they will be closing themselves.
If you want to learn more, read Anthony Iannarino’s book “The Lost Art of Closing” or his article “10 Commitments You Must Gain to Win Deals”. Another really great book that I highly recommend is: “The Perfect Close” by James Muir. They are both recent and are full of profound insights.
What else? What are some other thoughts on Closing?