Coffee. It's Not Just For Closers Anymore

Let’s talk about this word “Closing”. And then let’s forget it. 

What picture comes to mind when you think of the word “closing”? Perhaps you think of someone closing the window on his opportunities, closing a door on his finger, or closing down a failing business.  Personally, I think of a malevolent Alec Baldwin in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross.  “Put that coffee down!”  “Coffee is for closers!” 

Not very pretty is it?  And yet this same word is the Holy Grail of most sales systems, most sales managers, and yes, most salespeople.  We’re all about “Closing the deal”, and “Closing that prospect!”  Sales managers are happy to tell you that if you can’t close, you’re dead in this business.

So how do you think your prospects feel about “being closed?” Let me be as clear as I possibly can; they HATE it.  They hate it when you ask stupid questions that are designed to have only one answer (e.g. “You don’t want your wife and kids to die of starvation, do you?”  “Good, then put your name on the dotted line!”) 

They hate it when you tell them that, “This price is only good through Noon today!”  They hate it when you tell them that they will look foolish for not buying your product or service, they hate it when you try to box them in through trickery and lies, and they hate it when you try to bribe them with flattery. 

Got it?  They hate it!

So let me propose an alternative to the entire process of “closing.”  You need to keep in mind that the successful conclusion of a deal is an inseparable part of the entire process of the sale—not a separate and discreet moment of “closing.”  Coming to agreement with your prospect is like eating the terrific meal that you’ve prepared together.  It’s like starting a fantastic ski run after the chair lift drops you off.  It’s like sitting by a roaring fire after you’ve chopped the wood.  In short, it’s something that is both pleasurable and represents the logical conclusion of all the activities you’ve performed together.

So let’s think of another word for “Close” once and for all.  How about “Partner?”   Doesn’t it sound better to say, “I want to partner with six new clients this month?” 

Our minds create both our words and our actions.  If we can begin to think and speak in ways that appeal to our customers and clients, just maybe they will begin to treat us with the same respect.