Most everyone I have met in my professional life has said, at one point or another, that I should be in sales.
Well, I was in sales. The keyword here is was. I HATED sales. I still hate the word Salesperson because no matter how many good ones I work with, the word always conjures up an image of a slick, fast-talking used-car-salesman and I have the urge to scrub my hands clean of his schtick.
Or, the other side which is “Fine, I’ll take the undercoating already just STOP telling me about it!”
Well, I read a blog the other day that made me stop and think, “Wow. I wish someone had given me this advice back THEN! Maybe I would like sales today….”. Unfortunately the blog is unavailable on the originators’ site, so I will include the text of it here with a link to his site* in order to properly direct credit, as I did not write this:
In the selling profession, closing is the winning score, the bottom line, the name of the game, the point of it all. If you can’t close, you’re like a football team that can’t sustain a drive long enough to score. It does you no good to play your whole game in your own territory and never get across the other team’s goal line.
Many salespeople are afraid to close. They’re afraid of asking for the order. They’re so fearful you would think they had to personally reach into someone’s pocket for their money. To have any kind of success in sales, you have to get over that fear because asking is where the money is.
True professionals are closing most of the time. They are constantly trying test closes, and they can kick into their final closing sequence anytime they smell success. Test closes are questions you ask to determine if they’re ready to close. One test close you can use is this, “John, how are you feeling about all of this so far?” If John likes it “so far,” move on to your close. If he expresses concern (also known as an objection), you’ll have to address it before attempting another close.
With the test close you haven’t lost anything by trying to close too soon. If you do try to close too soon, they’ll often reject you and getting back on track toward the sale can be awkward.
Besides not asking for the sale, too many salespeople get so wrapped up in their selling sequence that if the potential client decides to invest before they’re through, they won’t let them have it. Some people get sold quickly, if you keep talking instead of getting the final agreement, you might un-sell them just as fast. When the client is ready, you must stop talking and start filling out your paperwork.
The eight most important words in the art of closing are these: Whenever you ask a closing question, shut up!
The important words are shut up. Ask your closing question then – keep quiet! It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Believe me, it isn’t. Letting that pause between the asking and answering can seem like an eternity.
The first time I asked a closing question and then kept quiet, I was prepared for the prospect’s reaction. I expected them to keep silent. What I hadn’t prepared for was the intensity of my own reaction: The silence felt like wet sand being piled on my chest. My insides were churning. I had to bite the inside of my lip, and I was acutely aware of every nerve ending in my body. Finally, the prospects did decide that they would invest and I never again dreaded that awful silence. Learn from my example and don’t utter a peep after you ask for the sale.
The average salesperson can’t wait more than ten seconds after asking a closing question. If Mrs. Jones hasn’t answered by then, they’ll say something like, “Well, we can talk about that later,” and start talking away, unaware that they have just destroyed the closing situation. If you’re true Champion material, you can sit there quietly all afternoon, if you have to. It takes concentration, but the silence rarely lasts longer than 30-40 seconds in reality.
Having the skill, courage, and concentration to sit still and be silent for at least, half a minute is the single, most vital, skill there is in selling. Practice this until you get a feel for how long 30 seconds is, and then it won’t be so nerve-wracking when big money is riding on how calm and quiet you remain in a real closing situation.
*This was sent to me in a private email from http://www.tomhopkins.com/blog/
The points that hit home with me were:
1. “Letting that pause between the asking and answering can seem like an eternity.” ~ It certainly DOES! As the salesperson, I felt as if they are waiting for me to add something, and if I don’t, I appear unsure of myself/them/the product/etc. I lost sight of the fact that some people actually contemplate what has been said to them in that silence!
2. “The silence felt like wet sand being piled on my chest. My insides were churning. I had to bite the inside of my lip, and I was acutely aware of every nerve ending in my body.” ~I’ve never read something where someone describes the EXACT feelings I have during awkward silences. Learning to sit still without being distracted is a true art form. I am not an artist. =)
3. “Having the skill, courage, and concentration to sit still and be silent for at least, half a minute is the single, most vital, skill there is in selling. Practice this until you get a feel for how long 30 seconds is, and then it won’t be so nerve-wracking…” ~I tried this experiment myself and it’s true. 30 seconds feels like an eternity when you are anticipating something; even if that something is a negative or a positive response. It’s very difficult for me to stay quiet while sitting with someone for 30 seconds without drifting off. Losing the focus while waiting can be just as devastating as talking too much.
I am pleased to say that I am compelled to share this with you because it has given me this new outlook on life transactions. Not just sales, but life in general.
Quiet + Patience = Success!!
I look forward to being more Successful by using Patience and being Quiet when the “YES” is on the line.
Thank you for letting me share with you. I hope you get something out of this too 🙂
Continued success and happiness