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Sales Quiz: Can You Spot the Lousy Closing Technique?

SCENARIO: You're a novice sales rep assigned to work relatively simple B2B solution sales involving a single decision-maker. Your mentor -- a very successful rep -- gave you a list of three ways to close a deal. However, before you got the list, your sales manager -- a real jackass -- added a fourth way, scrambling it in with the four ways that really work. Here's the list. Which closing method came from the jackass?

  • Technique #1: "You want to get this done by a certain time; let's look at our calendars and figure out what we need to do today.
  • Technique #2: "We have a special offer â€" a 15 percent discount â€" but only if you decide to buy now."
  • Technique #3: "Help me understand your process and how your company will purchase this product."
  • Technique #4: "It looks like we've answered all the questions. Shall we move forward with this?"
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The lousy closing technique is #2: "We have a special offer..."

Yeah, I know that kind of thing used to work in B2B sales, and maybe it still works in B2C with unsophisticated buyers, but any B2B buyer with purchasing authority will see it for what it is -- totally manipulative BS. You'll be lucky if you don't get thrown out of the buyer's office.

The other three closes are what Nancy Martini of the sales testing and training firm PI Worldwide calls "customer-focused" closes, because they're respectful of the customer's ability to make a reasonable decision, without being rushed or manipulated. Here's how she lists them:

  • Time driven: "You want to get this done by a certain time; let's look at our calendars and figure out what we need to do today.
  • Process driven: "Help me understand your process and how your company will purchase this product."
  • Direct question: "It looks like we've answered all the questions. Shall we move forward with this?"
Nancy also adds a fourth variation of the direct question:
  • Direct statement: "Let's move forward on this."
Needless to say, you only close after you've done plenty of testing to be sure that the prospect is ready to close. If you need help on this, I recommend the following post:
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am currently working with Nancy Martini on a book project.
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