Do you want to be more effective at closing deals? If so, you might need to change your way of thinking, because closing is actually “an act of service.”
So says sales consultant James Muir in his report, The 7 Deadly Sins of Closing and the Statistical Truth that will Improve Your Sales.
“Your customers expect you to help them make the positive changes that will bring about their desired results,” says Muir, who is also author of the best-selling book, The Perfect Close. “They expect you to encourage them to become better than they are…Be their coach and guide them through each little commitment it takes to achieve their goals.”
To that end, Muir gives us his seven deadly closing myths – the counterproductive beliefs that too many sales professionals harbor – and the facts that correct those myths. Hopefully, most of the disproven myths below will not only improve your selling abilities but also liberate you from negative feelings and attitudes.
Myth 1 – Sales gambits work
Muir uses the word, “gambits” to describe cheesy and manipulative closing techniques designed to force a commitment. As it turns out, closing gambits hurt more than they help. Muir cites data indicating that sales success actually drops 15 percent when you use little tricks or act like the quintessential used car salesman.
Myth 2 – Always Be Closing (ABC)
Speaking of pushy, old-style salesmen, the long-accepted advice of ABC – Always Be Closing – actually does more harm than good. According to ABC philosophy, sales reps should be coiled like hungry lions ready to pounce at any opportune time. Buyers, especially sophisticated ones, hate ABC salespeople. Muir says that beyond the first attempt, there’s a negative correlation between sales success and multiple close attempts.
Myth 3 – Closing gambits work on both large and small sales
If you do insist on using closing gambits, you better be a person who sells very low-priced or consumable items. Muir says low-frequency close strategy is more important as the price of the thing being sold increases.
Myth 4 – Closing gambits show you want the business
Perhaps so, but do you think it’s good to look desperate? Muir shows us that the use of closing gambits damages trust rather than positively proving that you want and appreciate the business.
Myth 5 – Customers are happier after making a decision, so using sales gambits is actually helping them
Some sales reps use this myth to justify unbecoming aggressive behavior. Such salespeople convince themselves that the prospects will be better off once they have the product or service, so the end justifies whatever means are necessary. You won’t be surprised to hear that Muir refutes this myth too as customers are less satisfied with decisions made under pressure.
Myth 6 – The sale will close itself
The first five myths are liberating, because they show salespeople they do not have to be the stereotypical people everyone else hates. The sixth myth is different; it reminds you that you still need to make some level of effort to close the deal. Many salespeople feel if they do a good job discovering prospect value, building trust and portraying product benefits, prospective clients will just volunteer to give them money. You still need to ask. Customers see the salesperson as a leader. That means they tend to wait for the salesperson to call the question even when they are convinced they want to buy the product.
Myth 7 – Sales people that fear asking for commitment cannot be helped
This is the defeatist myth, which essentially says if you’re not born a salesperson, you’ll never succeed as a salesperson. Muir squashes this myth too saying that those who fear making calls or asking for the close should first address their inadequacies. Are you shy? Do you hate being rejected? Are you secretly embarrassed of your company or feel your products are inferior? Once you get past these personal barriers, you can practice good selling habits.
Ultimately, closing sales is not the big, bad intimidating process that some people build it up to be. If you’re a consultative seller who does your homework and puts clients’ interests first, the close is easy. When the time is right, all you have to do is ask.
By the way, if you want to learn more about James Muir as well as his sales training and coaching services, go to PureMuir.com.