Closing is the hardest

Peter Sellars just lost an important deal. It was a MWD, a Must Win Deal. His customer Maria said no to his proposal. Very disappointed, he went to see his coach, Hugo Boss, for some advice on how to close a deal. Listen in to their conversation.
Peter: Maria didn’t buy, Boss.
Boss: Why do think that is, Peter?
Peter: I think she just used me for free consulting, Boss. She never really wanted to buy.
Boss: Two days ago you gave this deal a 90 % probability, Peter. ‘Nothing can go wrong now. I got her.’ Your words.
Peter: ‘Well, you know, she led me on.’
Boss: ‘Closing is the hardest part of the job, Peter. Let me tell you a few things about sales psychology.’
Peter: I am all ears, Boss.
Boss: In the pre-sales phase, before you close a deal, how do you feel about the outcome?’
Peter: I am uncertain, I don’t know if I am going to win the deal.’
Boss: ‘Exactly. Now, how do you think the customer feels?’
Peter: ‘Maria is quite sure of herself. She is in control, she makes all the possible suppliers believe they have a chance. Yeah, she is quite certain.’
Boss: Exactly, Peter. Very good. How do you feel when your customer has decided in your favor.
Peter. ‘I am delighted. That gives me a tremendous kick. That’s what we do it for, isn’t it?’
Boss: ‘Sure, Peter. How do you think Maria feels when she has made her decision.’
Peter: I can imagine that she will start worrying about the implementation, about the quality. She must feel quite insecure and uncertain.
Boss: ‘This is what we call the imbalance of certainty. For the seller, the moment of closing is the culmination of all their efforts; for the buyer, the moment of closing is the beginning of lots of worries and headaches. The seller walks away delighted to cash in their commission, the buyer is on the point of no return where he loses control.You understand, Peter. A purchase is always more important for the buyer than it is for the seller!’
Peter: ‘That is all very interesting, Boss. This mumbo jumbo psychology stuff. But how is this going to help me to close a sale?’
Boss: ‘Listen very carefully, Peter.The best way to close a deal is to act as if it already has been closed.’
Peter: ‘Eh?’
Boss: ‘The best way to close a deal is to act as if it already has been closed.’
Peter: ‘Sounds interesting, but how do you do that?’
Boss: You don’t talk about the possibility of buying but you talk about the benefits when using the product, or service.
Peter: Be more specific, Boss.
Boss: Do you know the difference between If and When in English, Peter.
Peter: I did go to school, Boss. If is a conditional, and when refers to a moment in time.
Boss: Exactly, Peter. You are a good pupil. Do you understand the difference between these two sentences: “Maria, if you buy this solution from us, that would be a good win-win deal for the both of us.” or “Maria, when your people are improving their productivity, they can always count on our service people to support them.” In the when-sentence, you focus on the post sales, on the implementation, on the actual benefits your customer will have.’
Peter: Sounds neat. Let me give it a try.’
Boss: ‘Do you know how sales trainers close their deals. By getting the agreement on the delivery dates as soon as possible. Their silver bullet questions is: When do you want te training to take place?’
Peter requested new meeting with Maria.
Peter: Maria, what kind of training do you think we should give your people to make sure they make optimal use of this solution?
Maria: It is a big change. It differs a lot from what they know today. They will be needing intense classroom training and personal coaching on the job.
Peter: Maria, have you made an estimate of the real cost saving you will obtain in the first year of usage?
Maria: I am counting on 7 % in my Total Cost of Ownership.
Peter: Well, Maria, similar customers I have achieved 10 percent with this new technology. We are here to help you achieve that. Now, when do you want to have the solution up and running?’

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This document contains a number of tools, templates and checklists that will help the manager to implement the learnings, endorse action points and do focused coaching in the field. For every tool, there is a manual and guidelines on how to use it proficiently.

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