Sales Training Article: Premature Closes
By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company
In creating and evolving CustomerCentric Selling®, a cornerstone of our methodology has been trying to provide superior buying experiences. We recognize that most people prefer to buy vs. “being sold.” In attempting to take a buyer’s perspective, many times we consider how we would like to be treated while making buying decisions.
Sellers are known to be most obnoxious at the start of buying cycles in bus dev efforts and at the end of buying cycles when closing. Our feeling is that once a buyer feels pressure, they’re being sold rather than being empowered to buy. In the same way sellers should beware when they issue proposals prematurely, so it is when closing before buyers are ready to buy.
My hope is that most months a seller’s pipeline is good enough so that closing prematurely doesn’t happen as a matter of course. Frantic quarter closes have a way of becoming the norm when the pipeline is emptied at the end of each quarter. Realistically, however, there will be times when either sellers, their managers or their companies need orders in a given month or quarter. In such cases, sellers must ask for the business early, but it’s risky and the following outcomes are likely:
- You get the business, but often have to discount to incent the buyer
- You don’t get the business and weeks later the buyer expects the same pricing
- You pressure the buyer to the point where they decide not to do business with you
In considering the buyer’s perspective, many things should be in place before being asked to move ahead with a recommendation. When being closed a buyer should know:
1. The price of whatever is being considered
2. The business outcomes and value in achieving them
3. The specific capabilities that are needed
4. Proof that the capabilities will work in their environment
5. Potentially, how the vendor asking for the business stacks up against the competition
If any of these points have not been determined, closing will put the buyer under greater pressure when making a decision. Instead of completing the buying cycle and have the decision be a logical conclusion, the seller takes a more traditional one of getting the buyer to buy before they are fully ready.
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