Without contradicting my post on why a service mindset is much more important than closing the sale, I want to delve into more about what it takes to do the close. In technical terms, the close is the moment at which you have legally and practically entered into a business agreement with a customer. For some businesses, this is when you have signed the contract, for retail, it is after a product has been scanned and charged to the customer.
Asking for the close is that gut wrenching moment where you are asking a customer to commit. There are many resources to help a salesperson get over their fear and help a customer decide to purchase, but I want to show that this fear is a good thing, and why an inbound methodology embraces the pain of closing to make a better situation for everyone.
- You Are Committing – Fear of commitment is not just for single 30-year-old sitcom characters. Commitment means that you and your client are going to be in a new relationship after coming to an agreement. While this is no big deal for many transactions (There is not that much impact on my relationship to a teller when I buy Reeses), for others, it can mean a long-term business relationship that can entail hundreds, thousands, or even millions of dollars.
- You Are Asking Someone To Be Vulnerable – When I offer a solution to someone, they have to admit that they need help in that area before they commit to working with me. Asking for a decision should, therefore, be done with the tenderness towards others vulnerability, and even, to a certain degree, pain.
- You Are Being Vulnerable – Closing a sale means that you, as a salesperson or freelancer, are exposing your reputation and honor to the success of this relationship. If the product/service does not work for your customers, at best you will lose a referral, at worse your name will be mud.
- Spending Money Hurts – A good salesperson understands and empathizes with their customer. Yes, if you successfully ask for the close you will receive money, but you need to understand the pain that they will be feeling with the decision to spend money. If you understand their pain, you can serve them better.
- You Are Exposing Your Entire Marketing/Sales Process – Guess what, no customer has to purchase! This truth can be extraordinarily painful when your cash reserves are low and new account is the difference between another month late on rent and positive cash flow. As you ask for a commitment to purchase, a customer may say yes, not now, or no. And your job is to serve them regardless of their statement. Ouch.
- There Are Others Relying On This Moment – See the picture above. This is from a rather trying time with my daughter; shortly after the photo was taken she received a feeding tube. She is one of three people relying on my ability to get new customers and serve the customers that I have. No matter how much I want to serve my customers, I have to think about the people who I provide for every time I ask a customer to commit. The fear of failure is its own pain.
- It’s Nothing Personal, It’s Business – This statement is so patently false, it makes me groan. Whether a customer says yes or no, I am going to feel it, personally. People say this statement to try and keep the pain of “failure” away when someone says yes, but it has a tremendous negative side effect. If you look at people as “business” and not persons, you are losing the capability to bring joy to your business relationships.
Yes, asking someone to commit should have a certain level of fear and pain; you are human after all. The secret to dealing with that pain is not to learn new techniques to convince more people to buy from you or to learn how to brush it off. The secret to dealing with the pain of asking for a sale is to realize that win or lose, the people you are serving are individuals worthy of all the respect and love that you give to your closest friends and family members.
You may not be able to work with this customer or even be friends with them, but that does not limit their worth, or yours. Remember Og Mandino’s famous scroll “I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart.”
The bigger the ask, the more fear, nervousness, and pain involved in asking for a commitment. But, it is worth it.