You have probably been told that the key to sales is closing. I beg to differ. In this article,
a new perspective is shared on how sales really happens.
Recently, I was asked to provide my thoughts on sales people and the requirement that they "ask for the business" as
a closing technique. I've always taken issue with this approach. Maybe in the 1960s or 1970s, people were different and enjoyed
being asked what it would take to get their business. I doubt it, but I wasn't old enough at the time to have experienced
To me, sales has never been about closing. It is about formulating a mutually beneficial relationship between two
entities, a consumer and a supplier. The old school of thought is that the consumer evaluates the product and decides if they
want to buy it. The sales person tries to persuade the consumer to buy their product, applies pressure techniques, and keeps
their fingers crossed.
The new school of thought is different. Yes, the consumer is evaluating the product, but the best sales people
are evaluating the consumer to see if this is someone with whom they desire to do business. Look, not every consumer has business
you desire. The check may clear the bank, but what if the consumer's needs don't fit the supplier's business model? Pain for
all involved. The short-sighted "close the business" philosophy becomes excruciating as the consumer tortures the supplier
to perform at levels it cannot.
Thus, the role of the sales person really is to facilitate the buying process such
that it helps both sides determine if it makes sense to do business together. It doesn't matter if you are a company-employed
sales person or an independent agent. The role remains the same. Very simply, the sales person's job is to compare the wants,
needs, and desires of the consumer with the capabilities of the supplier. Hopefully, there is a synergy and a business relationship
Not sure about you, but I don't appreciate being asked the old closing questions. Years ago, Seinfeld mocked those
questions in a car dealership episode involving David Putty and Elaine. "What do I need to do to get the two of you in a relationship
today?" How many of you would be married if your spouse asked you that question?
The bottom line is no one likes to
be sold so let's not create an environment where closing is part of it. If you have done your job correctly, the relationship
comes together naturally.
Lee B. Salz is
a sales management guru who helps companies hire the right sales people, on-board them, and focus their sales activity using
his sales architecture® methodology. He is the President
of Sales Architects, the C.E.O. of Business Expert Webinars and author of “Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager.” Lee is an online columnist for Sales and Marketing Management Magazine, a print columnist for SalesforceXP Magazine, and
the host of the Internet radio show, “Secrets of Business Gurus.” Look for Lee's new book in February 2009
titled, "The Sales Marriage” where he shares the secrets to hiring the right sales people. He is a passionate, dynamic
speaker and a business consultant. Lee can be reached at lsalz@SalesArchitecture.com or 763.416.4321.