Have you ever been in a company sales meeting and come out of it not knowing what to do? Perhaps you thought it was your fault. Sure, you were wistfully thinking of fish tacos and a cold Painkiller at a Caribbean Beach Bar and missed some essential elements, but more likely it was the business leader’s fault for assuming the sales team could make sense of all the charts and graphs without a close for action.
I remember a lengthy business development meeting on a complex defense sale that had been in progress for years. The opportunity was finally ripening. We knew the customer. We knew the competition. We had a great solution. We had a great team. What we didn’t have was a great action plan. A lot of people were doing a lot of things, but none of our efforts were synchronized. The operation was so big and it covered so many internal organizations that no one was truly in charge and able to say, “You go here now and you go there then.” Without closing for action, we lost.
You’ve gotten a lead and are in discussion with a potential client group. It’s going well. You deliver a presentation and your last slide is the typical question mark. You ask, “Do you have any questions?” They say, “No.” You thank them for their time. Your meeting report says, “Presentation was well-received. No questions.” That’s good, right? Wrong! The customer wasn’t fully engaged and you didn’t have a way back in to see them. If they don’t ask you for more information, task yourself and provide something extra in the nearest future. Be a golden retriever. Keep bringing the ball back until they love you.
Strong presentations have strong closings. Every Hollywood producer and director knows you need to have a hot opening and a hot closing. The middle is important, but not always that memorable. You’re with a customer. You’re comfortable with each other. They have a need and you have a solution. You’ve presented your program and all the great reasons why they should pick you. At this point, my friends at Corporate Visions recommend asking, “What do you think?” and waiting quietly until they respond. If you’ve done everything well and they’re comfortable with you, they’ll say something positive about your presentation. Then you follow up with a second question, “Where do we go from here?” and wait again for their answer. That’s your close for action. Of course, if you don’t get a positive answer to the first question, be polite and be gone.
Closing for action can’t be addressed without mentioning the term – closing the sale. You’ve seen Alec Baldwin’s classic rant “Always Be Closing” in the film Glengarry Glen Ross, right? Don’t be that guy. Yet the main idea that in sales you are, really, closing all the time is a good one, as long as you define it to be closing to the next step. At Asher Strategies Close Deals Faster workshops, salespeople are encouraged to always close to the next step – to get a commitment for action from each customer at each meeting. Like moving the chains in a football game. You do that often enough and you score.
Close for action in your sales meetings, customer meetings, presentations, and all through your customer engagements and you will increase your sales. Case closed.