This month’s topic, for our blog and for our newsletter, is control. As noted in our last blog, sales training—today and pretty much since the beginning of time—focuses almost exclusively on closing. Yet this constant focus has not resulted in higher closing ratios. They have remained the same over time: 80 percent of sales are made by 20 percent of salespeople.
Unfortunately, this overemphasis causes people to focus on closing from the time they meet the prospect. In our research, we found this to be the number one reason for low closing rates. As you can see by looking over the steps of the sales process, closing is at the end of the sales process:
3. Contact and Interview
(To learn this sales process in full, visit SELLability.com and sign up for the 80/20 Sales Course)
The only way that a higher percentage of closing will happen is if the salesperson exerts positive control throughout the sales process—especially in the earliest steps. The ability to use positive control in the early stages of the sales process is vital to your success at the end.
From the very beginning of the sale, your prospect—thanks to earlier bad experiences with sales—is resisting your approach. By focusing on closing at the wrong time, you’re not overcoming this resistance. Sales resistance must be dealt with earlier in the sales process, long before the close.
You could view the potential sale as an onion, and the sales process as carefully peeling off the layers of the onion, one by one, in as comfortable a manner as possible. At the core of the onion is the prospect’s goal, and the prospect is trying to get there but doesn’t know how, so comes to you to help guide them. During the sale, the prospect may demand that you address the 4th layer when you’re still on the 1st. Or you, in a rush to get to the close, try to force peeling a later layer yourself. In either case, you can’t, because you’ve got to carefully peel off those first 3 layers to get there. Note down what the prospect says and let them know you’ve done so and will take it up in due course. But stay with the sales process, making sure to get every layer of that onion completely dealt with before moving onto the next.
Learn and practice positive control, so that you can use it consistently from the earliest stages of the sales process right up until the close. And watch your closing percentages rise!
For more information and precise training on control and the sales process, please visit SELLability.com.