Sales & Sales Management Expertise

Closing DNA: The 3rd Must-Have for High Performance Sales Teams

I started this series of blog posts on the 3 Must Haves For High Performance Sales Teams with #1 Prospecting DNA.  To me, this is an obvious skill set and is the priority over any other UNLESS you outsource this to a 3rd party OR you have a sales environment where your sales team essentially plays "Catch" - people either calling in or walking in.

#2 is Qualifying DNA - If you don't have to worry about prospecting, then this by far is the most important skill set to possess.  Possessing the DNA of qualifying means your sales people ask questions and those questions will be the right questions, asked the right way at the right time. They will uncover the appropriate information about money, the decision making process and they will certainly uncover the prospect's ability AND willingness to undo any current relationships that might be providing a similar product or service as yours.  When your high performance sales people are using this skill set, "the close" becomes a process of reconfirming what has already been discussed and agreed to during the qualifying step of your sales process. This, however, does not minimize the Closing DNA.

The Closer DNA Skill Set:

  • Gets prospects to agree to make a decision - The key is that they get a decision.  Yes or no is a decision.  They would like to get a yes but the important thing is to get a decision.  When they hear a "no", then the selling really starts.
  • Makes appropriate quotes/presentations - Their prospects are qualified and closable.  They've covered the necessary steps to make sure that they are in a position to answer all questions and ask for a decision.
  • Will meet with decision makers - They will meet with decision makers prior to presenting. If they can't, they work with their inside champion to prepare for the decision maker's position, objections and questions.
  • Will find a way to close - Someone with this skill set will explore several options to create a opportunity to get a decision.
  • Will have a sense of urgency - without being pushy the high performer will help the prospect discover that a delay in a decision is costly and continues to foster problems that exist.  They are committed to eliminating problems, finding solutions getting decisions and getting paid.
  • Will avoid put offs - Won't get derailed at time of closing presentation by stalls and put offs.
  • Will most likely eliminate "Think it Overs" - The closer anticipates objections, stalls and questions at time of presentation and handles these during the qualifying stage.
  • Isn't looking to be liked - There is level of confidence that overrides any need for approval. They focus on trust and confidence to earn the business.
  • Will stay in the moment when closing - Too many sales people excited when they start to see or hear "buying signs".  The professional with this skill set sticks to the script and executes each step in the process thus eliminating getting off track.
  • Will ask for the business - Finishes the presentation and asks: Do you believe I understand your business?  Do you believe I am capable of helping you with your problems?  Do you want my help?
  • Gets clear next steps - Possessing this great strand of DNA does not eliminate the buying process used by the prospect.  Companies do have committees and decision makers that you don't have access to.  A closer does two things:  1) They ask what the influencer's recommendation is going to be, and 2) They get a clear next step. They avoid "winking in the dark".
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The by products or obvious symptoms of a closer are:  closing more business, more quickly and at higher margins.  They get a decision, sometimes a "no" but they get a decision.  They get appointments with the right people.  They are efficient with your support team because there is little waisted time working on "tire kicking" opportunities.  Rarely do you hear a high performing closer discuss how many times they've presented to this client in the past and even more rare is to hear them say they want to present to demonstrate capabilities with the hope of someday getting the business.
If you are currently hiring new sales people, here are two things to consider:
1.  Use a pre-hire evaluation (sample findings) that provides the finding of "will close" instead of "likely to close".
2.  Use an initial phone interview (sample questions) with all candidates.  Leave the end of your conversation open-ended and brief. Don't give them anything other than "We'll be making our decision on Monday as to who we invite in for a face to face interview. If you don't hear from us, then you weren't selected. Thanks for your time today".  IF the candidate does not try and close you on the phone for that next step, then they won't close a prospect for an appointment of a decision to buy.

Tags: sales skills, Sales DNA, Closing skills, recruiting