“Hi, are you the mom of the house?”
“Yeah, wait what’s this about?”
“Ok, great. My name is _____ and I am the student who is in the area helping parents plan their student’s educational success.”
…15 Minutes Later…
“OK. If you just sign here, I’ll get your order in process and be back to deliver your books in a few weeks.”
“Wait, what about______?”
“I totally understand how you feel, ________ down the street felt the same way, but after she realized that these books are __________, she was able to make a decision to purchase that same day. I am trying to meet with all the families in the area, so I do not have the time to keep coming back. So, if you will just sign here…”
I hand her the pen. She signs. It’s a good day.
Every year, thousands of students in multiple industries pour onto the streets of the United States throughout the summer, and perform a variety of this script. We are brought from our various homes, colleges and universities to a training center, given a script with several variations, and sent into the world to make some money.
I have a confession to make.
I SUCKED. I mean, I could use the script to get a close and was doing well in the business, but I faced a fundamental disagreement between the way I think and see the world, and the way legacy sales works.
I went door-to-door for 80 hours a week, for 10 weeks, selling educational books. And then I burned out. I have sold health and financial products in network marketing. I have sold business advertisement as a business door-to-door salesman. In every job and every approach I have made, I feel like the close is my worst part.
The Art of The Long Close
In the past five years, I have discovered the art of inbound marketing and selling (check out this blog on Hubspot and subscribe to their newsletter for more info). Inbound sales is different from legacy sales in what I am going to call the long close.
Does your customer not have the means to work with you at this time? That’s OK. With an understanding of the customer and service focused attitude of inbound, we can take all the time in the world.
Besides which, I don’t have time to close everyone I talk to. I have to serve the customers I have now, while continuing to build relationships with my leads and establish myself as an authority. Some of these leads may never turn into customers, but why should I pressure them?
Why Close, When You Can Convert?
In closing, a salesperson’s job is truly finished when the paperwork is signed, payment set up, and delivery of goods and services agreed on. I do not operate this way. If I am going to sell you something, I want the responsibility of follow-up, and a hand in the final service/product.
Because you are my customer.
Inbound marketing uses the best of modern technology, social-networking, and data-driven marketing to consistently build relationships with our customers. Rather than creating an approach, presentation, close cycle, inbound marketing creates the attract, convert, delight cycle. In this marketing system, the presentation and close is neither the most important thing nor the end of a salesperson’s interactions with their customers.
And I love it! Providing high quality service and products to my customers is more important than any other goal in business. Rather than “always be closing,” my motto is always build converting delight.
Stop Closing, Start Delighting
If you are running any type of business, you have to make sales. And it is going to be difficult. It is going to make you feel awkward, and you are going to get turned down. This is all true. But, if you can take the time to stop reading someone’s manipulative script or agenda to get customers into your business (even if it is your own) and start thinking about how you can truly listen to and help your customers, then every rejection will just be another opportunity to make someone smile.
For me, this means that I take time to send people ideas of blogs I think they should write. Free of charge. With pleasure. Because I delight in creative, educational content. And because of that, I am building a better list of customers and students every day.
As I have changed focus from Always Be Closing to Always Build Converting Delight, almost all my approaches lead to presentations. Almost all my presentations lead to relationships. Almost all my relationships move closer to an opportunity to serve them and get paid substantially by them for that service.
Stop trying to get the close. Listen, serve, repeat. Present your business as a part of the service. Then listen, serve, and repeat for pay. This is the sales cycle anyone can use to turn leads into customers and customers into your biggest fans!
Stop closing the sale today.