One guy says, "You're good, but you can't close." I say, "Don't listen to that guy-he's living in the 1960s."

Today if you want to win and keep a customer and turn him (or her) into a client, one of things you cannot do--is try and close him.

That's right. Don't try to close the deal. Closing used to work in the 1960s. It doesn't work any more. And if you are being told by your manager or anyone else to close the deal, that person is wrong. Absolutely, unequivocally, irrevocably wrong.
Closing the deal. When you think close the deal,
think instead: allow the customer (client)
to buy. One is about you. The other is
about the customer.


To close is to manipulate. To close is to trick. To close is to pressure. To close is one-sided, an all-about-me approach to working with customers.

I used to say, "Unless you are selling cars." But I changed my mind. Even if you are selling cars, you don't close.

Books to Avoid
You have to be smarter than that. You can no longer be buying books on how to close. Here are some titles for you to avoid:

  • Closing Techniques (as soon as you hear techniques in selling, think manipulation)
  • One Call Closing (What are you selling shoes?)
  • Secrets of Closing the Sale (There are no secrets)
Here's an appropriate title: Car Sharks and Closers. I don't even need to add my comments. This title says it all.

Do you get the picture yet? You are closing if you are trying to force the customer to buy and the customer isn't ready. This is a pitiful way to win business. What's worse is the customer is smart and he (or she) knows you are closing them. And you are going to piss them off.

Here's a Form of Selling to Avoid
Here's an example: "Here. Put this suit on. Do you like the color? It fits perfectly. Brown looks good on you. Don't worry, you'll grow into it."

"The style? It's a style that's coming back."

"Do you want alterations? I can throw that in the deal if you will buy it now."

Pu-leeeez. Are you kidding me? As soon as someone says to me the sale will end tomorrow--so you want to hurry and make your decision before end of day tomorrow, that's when I actually slow down. I think this is God's way of telling me something isn't quite right. And this is when I start asking myself questions: Why do they need a sale in order to sell it? Is it not moving? Are others not buying this for some reason I am not aware of?

To Close or To Allow the Customer to Buy
Here's my answer to closing. Don't close; Allow the customer to decide to buy. Allow the customer to ease on into the transaction. Put all the power into their hands when making the decision.

My Story on Pressure Tactics
I had a boss once--a very smart boss--and he was getting a lot of pressure from his boss--to sell a large mainframe computer system. The pressure was so intense that my boss, a very calm and cool individual said: "When you meet with them (the prospect), you must convey a sense of urgency. But you cannot make them panic." As he said, you must convey a sense of urgency. But you cannot make them panic he started pounding the desk with his fist harder and harder. I remember, easing backwards out of his office, saying, "Sure Bill. I won't convey a sense of panic. I will convey a sense of urgency."

A few hours later I walked back into my boss's office and he was calmer. He said, "Just go down and meet with the customer and see what they want to do."

He didn't emphasize the words "see what they want to do" -- but I will to you. You see, as soon as you convey a sense of urgency, you are conveying a sense of panic. Closing the deal is about you--not the prospect or the customer. When you close or attempt to close, you are widening the gap between you and the prospect. You are not--excuse me for saying this--closing the gap between you and the prospect.

A Smarter, Wiser, More Confident Approach
You are more confident when you know that you have a good product, service or combination. You are basically saying, "You can buy from me, but if you don't someone else will, and that's okay." It's not that you don't care--it's you are not in a panic. Panic doesn't sell. It tells people to get their life jackets on and get into the life raft. Panic tells people the plane is about to crash, bury your head between your knees and kiss certain parts of your body goodbye.
Instead of selling the prospect, educate the prospect. The prospect has
choices. But they really don't always know which choice is best.
If you don't have knowledge, and a competent manner to express that
knowledge you can't win the client's business.
You have to have knowledge, experience, and confidence.
You only have confidence through competence.
Confidence without competence is dangerous.

So instead of closing, be smarter than that. Educate the customer. Explain to the customer he has options: He can do this, add that, and have this by the end of the week. No rush. But let's instead talk through the options and variations. Let me tell you Mr. Customer what some of our other customers experienced when they did this--both the positive and the negative. Then we can make an informed decision.

A Good Laugh with My Boss--Later (after the customer bought)
After my meeting with Bill (the first meeting when he was pounding the desk)--I went back in--and I explained he was pounding the desk and I repeated what he had said. He looked at me in astonishment. He could not believe he had done or said that. It became a running joke between us. He was under pressure. And when you are under pressure you do stupid things--like trying to close the customer who isn't ready to buy.

The Bottom Line
Never close. Be smart enough and do the right things that gets the customer to want to do business with you and ALLOW the customer to buy.

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